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21.9 acres occupying 5 city blocks, between 34th–39th streets, 11th Avenue and the Hudson River

Index to Projects in New York, New York

New York, NY

Gross Floor Area
1.6 million s/f

New York Convention Center Development Corporation, Subsidiary of New York State Urban Development Corporation, New York, NY

Time Frame
Planning: 5/79–
Construction: 4/80–
Completion: 4/86

Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Plaza

New York, New York
Convention Center completed 1986
Plaza completed 1988


Lead Designer: James Ingo Freed


Convention and exposition center (85,000 capacity) with interior and exterior public spaces

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The Javits Center was undertaken in 1979 to reposition New York in the highly competitive national trade show industry while encouraging development in an underutilized part of midtown Manhattan along the Hudson River.

The1.6 million s/f building (triple the size of the Coliseum, New York's former exposition facility)  was designed to house the world's largest exhibition hall under a single roof. It contains offices, shops, varied dining, storage, service areas, over 100 flexible meeting rooms and advanced communications systems including the simultaneous translation of multiple languages. All of these components are organized around a glazed urban room of great size yet delicate space-framed construction.

With its 1,000-foot long public concourse, 15-story Crystal Palace, Galleria and 1.1-acre outdoor plaza, the Javits Center transformed the traditional notion of a convention center from a large windowless box cut off from everything around into a welcoming public building integrally related to the surrounding city. The project's full significance lies as much in its monumental public spaces as in the exhibition halls they surround. Funded by the taxpayers and executed with their interests firmly in mind, the Javits Center remains the largest and most important public building undertaken in New York City in more than half a century.


Major Components

410,000 s/f Upper Exhibition Hall; 250,000 s/f Lower Exhibition Hall; 100,000 s/f Special Events Hall (seating capacity 3,800) / Meeting Rooms (102); 63,000 s/f Cafeteria / Restaurant / Lounge; 75,000 s/f Concourse (1,000' x 90' x 75' high); 65,000 Crystal Palace (270' x 270' x 180' high); 60,000 s/f Galleria (360' x 90' x 90'); 24,300 s/f River Pavilion (270' x 90' x 135' high); 50 loading docks on two levels; 1.1-acre public plaza with water walls and pedestrian link under 11th Avenue; 60,000 s/f surface parking for 140 cars




Concrete Industry Board:
Merit Award (Complete Building)



American Institute of Architects:
National Honor Award



Concrete Industry Board: Annual Award (Plaza)



New York Association of Consulting Engineers, Engineering Excellence Competition:
First Prize, Structural — Buildings Category



American Institute of Architects, New York Chapter: Distinguished Architecture Award



Concrete Industry Board: Special Mention Award (Concrete Drum Lightwell)



Concrete Industry Board: Special Mention Award (Foundation Construction)


I. M. Pei & Partners services

Urban Design, Complete Architectural Services; Interior Design; Graphic Design; coordination with associate architect on construction documents and construction administration


Associate Architect

Lewis, Turner Partnership, New York, NY



Weidlinger Associates and Salmon Associates, New York, NY 


Mechanical / Electrical

Syska and Hennessy, New York, NY and
Pierre A. Dillard Associates, New York, NY



Photo credits

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