Case Study

Frosch International Travel Headquarters Finding Balance

New York, NY, USA

The Challenge

The scope of this project is to convert a former Singaporean consulate into a high-end Boutique Travel Agency. This renovation consists of both interior and exterior improvements; complete demolition down to the studs of seven levels including a cellar and rooftop as well as the main (South) façade. In doing this, HKS was challenged to change the attitude of the building’s presence on the street. Transforming an inward facing building to having an outward street engaging presence.

The Design Solution

From the onset, HKS was working with a novice client with a desire to invest in their business, a true “labor of love” by the client and a family investment for generations to come.

The design goals focused around creating a luxurious experience that captured the “magic” of travel while also representing a family-first mentality. Known for its exceptional service in global travel and luxury vacation planning, FROSCH has been ranked one of the top 15 travel management companies in the world. With a focus on the latest technology and resources to provide a highly personalized service, the HKS design team was tasked to embody this concept in the renovation; to create a “Park Avenue meets Silicon Valley” feeling upon entering the space.

The design team decided that the way to achieve this sense of curiosity and wonder centered around transforming the way in which the building engaged with the street and the city at large. As a result, the design team worked creatively with the technical aspects of the project to achieve this. One aspect that required special focus was merging the open and welcoming face of the company with the complex social concerns around antisemitism and potential threats to the building and employees. This led the design team to find the right balance between crafting an exciting and welcoming entry while also providing the necessary protective measures that the client needed.

The Design Impact

The impact of the design is experienced immediately by the new relationship the building has to the public realm. Upgrading the façade technology with a rainscreen system to utilize sustainable materials (UHPC/porcelain tile) to be durable, and high performing with larger windows creates expansive views and establishes its presence on the street.

The use of soft whites, bronze accents, and texture on the exterior evoke a sense of curiosity and welcomes clients and employees. Upon entry, the sense of wonder is continued with similar finishes and an acoustical baffle ceiling that undulates through the space defining the entry lobby and circulation corridor. This simple gesture defines the program while suggesting a more important high-end experience beyond. The finishes and design for the remaining aspects of the first-floor focus on a communal space intended for presentations, staff engagements and larger scale meetings. The selection of the materials and custom millwork, seamlessly tie the technology into the form, luxury, and function of the space. These finishes continue up the building and culminate in an amenity roof-deck. While the main program of the space is to provide an outdoor space for employees, it was designed for flexibility and to be able to entertain larger gatherings. Thus, encouraging employees to “leave” the building and engage in its surroundings and 360-degree views of Manhattan.

Project Features

  • 14,442 sf (1,341 sm) conditioned area
  • 3,600 sf (334 sm) unconditioned area (amenity roof deck)
  • 5 levels of office space with a basement
  • 360-degree rooftop views