Historic Renovation and Restoration Planned for Iconic 30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY
The original 1930’s Art Deco era Grand Stair and spectacular mezzanine rotunda will be recreated, reconnecting the legendary broadcast facility to its Golden Age. The company also announced enhancements of storied broadcast studios and visitor spaces.
NBCUniversal today unveiled a comprehensive plan for extensive upgrades and enhancements to its operations at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, designed to celebrate the storied past of one of the most iconic buildings in entertainment history. The renovation and restoration calls for the re-creation of the original art deco era design of the NBC portion of the lobby, while at the same time embedding technological elements to reinforce 30 Rock as a state-of-the art entertainment destination – and a center for the creative industries for many decades to come.
The plans include recreation of the sweeping 16-foot-wide, marble Grand Stair that originally led from the lobby to the mezzanine level; the recreation of the Mezzanine Rotunda, which will be a grand circular reception lobby in the style of the original 1930s era lobby design; the creation of the ‘Peacock Lounge,’ which will serve as a vibrant entertainment waiting area for audiences who come to see programs at the legendary studios, including "Saturday Night Live," "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," "Late Night With Seth Meyers" and "The Meredith Vieira Show." Upgrades were recently completed to the original Tonight Show Studio, which was re-imagined to honor the past and accommodate the broadcast of the "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon."
"The re-development of the Grand Stair and Mezzanine Rotunda, coupled with the modernization of our studios, is an homage to the original designers of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, and an affirmation of our belief that the true golden age of this legendary broadcast facility lies not only in the past, but in the present and the future," commented John Wallace, President, NBCUniversal Operations and Technical Services. "The entire redesign has been crafted to bring NBCUniversal’s talent for showmanship and spectacle to our global headquarters, and to further deepen our company’s longstanding commitment to New York."
The plans also include extensive enhancements to spaces accessible to the NBC tours that are designed to provide visitors with a true insider’s view of the company’s extensive and storied broadcast operations. The company is reintroducing architectural elements and revising floor plans throughout 30 Rockefeller Plaza to make the NBCUniversal spaces within the building more aesthetically pleasing and functionally enhanced.
Elements included in the Lobby renovation project will be led by the renowned architectural and interior design firm, Gabellini Sheppard Associates. The accomplished architecture firm, Design Republic, is the lead designer for the studios, 7th Floor Lobby, and production gallery.
"30 Rockefeller Plaza, conceived at the dawn of modern design and urban planning was an epicenter of emerging technology," stated Michael Gabellini, FAIA, Design Partner, Sheppard Associates. "This landmark facility served as a prolific beacon for NBC's ever expanding broadcasting and entertainment network. Our vision in re-creating the Grand Stair and Mezzanine Rotunda, lies not in replicating the past, but in burnishing the history and shaping the future of this legendary complex."
Elements of the extensive renovations of NBCUniversal’s New York operations include:
The Grand Stair
At the heart of the project, the Grand Stair will be re-created to elevate the vision of the original art deco stair. The sweeping 16-foot wide theatrical Grand Stair will lead audiences attending NBCUniversal programs to a mezzanine and the spectacular, rebuilt Rotunda which will also reflect 30 Rockefeller Plaza’s iconic past.
The Mezzanine Rotunda is a highlight of the project that will be re-created to help guests experience the glory of 30 Rockefeller Plaza’s golden age. Located on the east end of the mezzanine, the expansive Rotunda will serve as a grand reception lobby conceived to be over 200 feet in circumference, and designed to evoke the original lobby design from the 1930s. The walls of the rotunda will be constructed of honed Italian marble and an embellished bronze "silk glass" – a special etched glass covered with a wafer-thin bronze film – that has been designed to evoke the original design from the 1930s. The Rotunda also includes a new technological twist: embedded in the bronze silk glass will be two, 60-foot long by five-foot high curved LED screens providing a dynamic experience relating to the show audiences are waiting to see. At the center of the Rotunda, above the Grand Stair, there will be a spectacular, 12-foot in diameter custom bronze ringed chandelier, uplighting its circular plaster domed area, and reminiscent of the long lost fixture from the original mezzanine.
Once on the mezzanine level, audiences for NBCUniversal shows taped at 30 Rock will enter the Peacock Lounge, a gracious waiting area that will feature four, nearly 13-foot high columns paneled with LCD screens from floor to ceiling. The room will also feature smaller LCD screens arranged as picture frames on shelves around the room, all showing content tailored for the show that audiences are about to attend. The Lounge will be located on the west end of the mezzanine.
7th Floor Lobby
After audiences leave the mezzanine level, those planning to attend either the "Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" (Studio 6B) or "The Meredith Vieira Show" (Studio 6A) will take an elevator to the 7th Floor Lobby, which has been designed to echo architectural elements, textures and patterns found elsewhere in the building. Special green tinted marble was chosen for panels that line the walls, with an eye toward matching marble already existing on other parts of 30 Rock. As audiences step out of the elevator area, the marble panels give way to wall coverings made of specially milled African Sapele Pommele wood and brass, which is designed to pay homage to the art deco features that grace many parts of the building. Ensconced in the wood and brass wall are two 5-by-16 foot concave, ultra high-definition 4K screens. While audiences are entering, these screens will feature programming about the show they are about to see. And when the NBC Tour is underway the screens will feature an ever-shifting montage of historic images relating to the history of each of the historic studios. Finally, a specially created lighting fixture that references the original art deco styling of the building – and its sister lighting fixture in the Mezzanine Rotunda – hangs from the ceiling of the 7th floor lobby.
Glass Walled Production Center
Through this multi-year project the company is creating three new production control rooms for "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," "Late Night With Seth Meyers," and "The Meredith Vieira Show." When completed, these new control rooms will play a starring role in the NBC Tour. Visitors taking the NBC Tour will enter a long, glass lined corridor with massive television production rooms on either side, including two engineering rooms, three control rooms, and a music mix room which will provide broadcast support for the programs mentioned above. The glass walls will provide visitors with an unparalleled, insider’s view of the technologies – and technicians – required to created broadcast television, and provide a visceral sense of the behind-the-scenes artistry that makes on-screen magic possible.
The Greeters’ Stand
The Greeters’ Stand, located in the center of the building’s main lobby, will also be reinstated. The design envisioned recalls to the original art deco design of the Stand, but with a modern twist. The Stand will serve as home base for NBC Pages who have been assigned to welcome visitors to the facility, and answer questions from the general public.
The NBCUniversal Store
The NBCUniversal Store will be moved to just inside the west end of the building, closer to the Avenue of the Americas, and will serve as home base for the NBC Tour.