If you've ever attended an event at the Javits Center (I've gone to numerous), you know what a poorly planned site it is. Besides the silly interior design, which involves going endlessly up and down stairs trying to get to where you're going, it's badly positioned in the surrounding neighborhood. Now granted, the surrounding area isn't the most appealing of Manhattan's neighborhoods. But the convention center could have helped revitalize nearby blocks, bringing a steady stream of foot traffic to stores and restaurants within walking distance. Instead, the project created no visual appeal or continuous streetscape to draw people into the surrounding community. Even without acres of on-site parking, Manhattan's Javits Center has a suburban sprawl feel.
Now comes word of major plans to overhaul the aging center. "On Monday, Empire State Development Corp. Chairman Charles Gargano unveiled plans drawn up by another British architect, Sir Richard Rogers, teamed up with New York's FxFowle and Chicago's A. Epstein, for an expansion of the convention center that would virtually double its convention exhibiition space, to 1.1 million square feet, and reorient its truck marshalling and security area," according to the Slatin Report. "The plan also calls for a new convention hotel on state-owned land and the sale of a full-block parcel south of the convention center to a private developer. while adding a convention hotel on state-owned land immediately across the street from the center."
One key part of the plan is to create a "more appealing public spaces outside the Convention Center." A worthy goal indeed. It's nuts that a convention center in the heart of one of America's most walkable cities was designed in such a pedestrian-hostile manner.
You can see some images of the proposed revamped Javits here. The blog Bungie Sitings has a photo of the existing center here.
Thanks to Planetizen for the initial link.