The innovative work achieved by Gannett Fleming’s rising architectural practice continues to turn heads within the AEC industry. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently recognized the retrofit of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Transit Fan Plant 7204, in Long Island City, with two separate awards.
The retrofit won a Citation in the Industrial/Commercial Small Projects category of the AIA New York State 2021 Design Awards program. It was one of 24 projects honored out of 222 submissions. The project also received a Commendation in the AIA Long Island Chapter’s 57th Annual Archi Awards program.
Fan Plant 7204 features perforated metal exterior cladding specifically chosen to express a light, airy structure. Keen attention to the cladding details, allowing views through the corners, lends an ethereal quality to the building. The granite base demarcates the floodproof wall that surrounds the base.
Gannett Fleming Engineers and Architects provided architectural, structural, and electrical design for the project, as a subconsultant to ARUP on the 14 Fan Plant Upgrades contract.
“The awards recognize that critical pieces of infrastructure can and should be considered as opportunities to make great architecture while also providing an important public service,” said Huzefa Irfani, AIA, Northeast Buildings Line Manager.
Fan plants are critical components of the New York City subway system, providing passive ventilation by enabling the piston action of moving trains to pull fresh air down into the tunnels below. In addition, in the event of a fire in the tunnels, the plants’ massive fans serve to draw smoke out, giving people time to escape.
The retrofit of Fan Plant 7204 provided resiliency of an essential infrastructure facility so it could withstand a major storm. The design aimed to unify structural floodproofing with architectural expression that is seamlessly integrated into the surrounding community.