Dezeen Magazine

Facade of PAU and HOK's moynihan train hall

HOK and PAU unveil latest designs for Penn Station renovation

American architecture studios HOK and Practice for Architecture and Urbanism have released images of renewed plans to renovate Manhattan's historic Penn Station after years of delays.

The revitalisation of the transit hub, which the studios are working on for developer ASTM North America, includes a new entrance on Eighth Avenue and a renovation of existing structures.

Train hall with stone clad madison square garden
HOK and PAU have released plans to renovate Penn Station in Manhattan

HOK and the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) have released their designs for the project, which would renovate existing structures without the destruction of or addition to the surrounding infrastructure.

"ASTM's plan will solve the litany of issues that have long plagued Penn Station and is the full realization of [New York] Governor Hochul's own vision," said ASTM North America CEO Pat Foye.

Glass addition to Penn Station
The designs show a stone-clad Madison Square Garden and an additional glass entryway mid-block

Whereas past iterations of the long-stalled project saw the addition of towers and the removal of the Madison Square Garden arena, HOK and PAU have taken a more toned-down approach.

Penn Station is located directly underneath Madison Square Garden, and HOK and PAU's plans see the facade of the arena wrapped in a stone facade that mirrors that of Moynihan Train Hall across the street.

The 1913 post office designed by Penn Station architects McKim, Mead & White was converted into an extension of the station by SOM in 2021.

View of Moynihan Train Hall and new Penn Station
Penn Station is located underneath Madison Square Garden

In order to solve the dark, labyrinthine exit routes of the current configuration, HOK and PAU have opted to install a glass box adjacent to Madison Square Garden that would serve as the exit for 70 per cent of passengers leaving the station.

The plan will see the number of stairways, elevators and escalators increasing from 91 to 120, with access to the 21 tracks at the station.

Train concourse with glass dome
The glass addition will increase access and light to the concourse

"Our proposal envisions two main train halls – a soaring Eighth Avenue entrance and a light-filled mid-block hall – that together will restore the civic gravitas that has been absent since the 1963 demolition of McKim, Mead & White's original edifice," said PAU founder Vishaan Chakrabarti.

"Our new stone facade mirrors and reinterprets McKim's masonry colonnade across Eighth Avenue at Moynihan Station, creating a great public outdoor room that brings the historical in conversation with the contemporary, all while prioritizing light and air, an improved public realm, a great mix of civic uses, and compatibility with planned rail and neighborhood growth."

The station will have glass ceilings and skylights to bring light into the lower aspects of the hub, which is mostly underground.

Costs for the proposal are currently estimated to be around $6 billion (£4.7 billion) and, if approved, would take six years to execute.

New Penn Station interior
It is the newest iteration of a decades-old plan to improve the site

The new plan follows decades of delays. Earlier this week, the New York Times reported that New York State governor Kathy Hochul had dismissed long-time development partner Vornado Realty Trust from the project, nixing the plans for an office tower development in the process.

ASTM said it engaged in a "months-long process with local elected officials" to settle on a proposal and believes that the current one will build "upon the State's existing plans for a new light-filled and airy midblock train hall between 31st and 33rd streets and improve subway passenger connectivity from Seventh Avenue".

Political and environmental reviews have long stalled the process for the nation's busiest rail transit hub, as a variety of interests including rail company Amtrak as well as city and state governments in New York and New Jersey have stakes in the future of the project.

ASTM has committed to contributing upfront capital to "jump start" the project and said that it would bear cost-overruns and take responsibility for the upkeep of the station to reduce "financial risk to taxpayers".

High glass ceiling in train hall
The new halls will have soaring ceilings

HOK has been involved with past plans to renovate the station, and PAU has received other recent high-profile civic projects including a contract to redesign many of the nations ageing air traffic control towers.

Recently, SOM and landscape architecture studio James Corner Field Operations completed the Moynihan Connector, which connects the High Line elevated walkway to the Moynihan Train Hall.

The renderings are by DBOX for ASTM.

More images and plans

HOK PAU Penn Station
HOK PAU Penn Station
HOK PAU Penn Station
HOK PAU Penn Station
HOK PAU Penn Station
HOK PAU Penn Station