Formerly the Knickerbocker Hotel, this landmark building was originally commissioned by John Jacob Astor and has an ornate Beaux-Arts exterior. FPE Architect’s initial intention was to introduce a modern lobby, but investigations into the existing structure revealed a plaster barrel vault. Subsequent design efforts tried to emphasize this discovery. The building’s original entrance on 42nd Street had been relocated to Broadway during a prior renovation, creating an unusually deep L-shaped lobby, with the elevator banks set far into the building. To offset this, FPE created a sequence of spaces from the building’s entrance to the elevator vestibule.