Lord Norman Foster graced the Municipal Art Society's Summit for New York City with his presence this morning to explain the inspiration and theory behind 425 Park Avenue. Foster won the project over three other starchitect contenders, in large part because he actually stopped to think about the building's use as an office, instead of just having fun imagining sky gardens. So what inspired the noble Foster? The city streetscape, "the way in which the buildings set back and give richness to the skyline," and the renderings of rather forgotten architect Hugh Ferriss.
Foster's design is intended to create "a living room but at the same time [capture] the street edge," he told the MAS crowd, and those living rooms-slash-common spaces are meant to serve as display sites for contemporary art that will rotate out every six months or so. An artist will probably also play a role in the design of the top of the building, where 425 Park's core stretches into the skyline.
One more look at how the building meets the sky: