The 200 West Street Project: Teamwork, Diversity, Creativity

Event: A Conversation with the Architects of 200 West Street
Location: Center for Architecture, 10.05.10
Speakers: Stephen Apking, FAIA — Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Jay Berman, AIA — Pei Cobb Freed & Partners; Maddy Burke-Vigeland, AIA — Gensler; Scott Cohen — Preston Scott Cohen; Timur Galen — Global Head of Corporate Services and Real Estate, Goldman Sachs; Monica Ponce de Leon, Intl. Assoc. AIA — Office dA; Chris Sharples, AIA — Founding Principal, SHoP Architects
Moderator: Dino Fusco — Goldman Sachs
Organizer: Center for Architecture
Sponsor: Kramer Levin


200 West Street.

Photo courtesy Goldman Sachs

Six years, $2.5 billion, six architecture firms, two city blocks, and countless hours of collaboration. The result? The Goldman Sachs global headquarters at 200 West Street, an indelible legacy of the financial giant, and a tribute to teamwork, creativity, and diversity.

Completed in 2009, Goldman Sachs’ new home is not meant to publicize the company’s brand, according to Timur Galen, global head of Corporate Services and Real Estate, but to create a positive work environment. Galen saw the project as an opportunity to engender the culture of Goldman Sachs over time, creating a building that was “somehow like us.” Priding itself on a diverse staff which embodies myriad skill sets and backgrounds and strives to find efficient solutions through collaboration, Goldman sought an identical model for the design team that would realize its new home. Honorees at the 2010 Heritage Ball, the project team selected for the building — Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Gensler, Preston Scott Cohen, Office dA, and SHoP Architects — married talent, experience, vision, and unrelenting perseverance.

Under the direction of Pei Cobb Freed, each firm was tasked with a specific aspect of the 740-foot building. Stephen Apking, FAIA, of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, who worked on the design of the office floors, saw the project as a “network of spaces and experiences that are carefully choreographed.” Largely influenced by the culture of Goldman Sachs, Monica Ponce de Leon, Intl. Assoc. AIA, of Office dA, balanced complexity with a perception of effortlessness in the design of 200 West Street’s dining hall and servery. Chris Sharples, AIA, of SHoP Architects, saw the project as a test bed for ideas, pushing creativity within a stable culture, similar to Goldman’s approach to business.

From the many voices that created 200 West Street, Galen’s mantras for the project emerged: “design matters” and “function is paramount.” An exercise in rigor, the building embodies the energy and collaborative spirit of Goldman Sachs.