The Hearst Building Sign Program

Merit Award

Manhattan's Hearst Tower, the first LEED office tower in New York, is a modern reinterpretation of the Hearst Corporation's original six-story, cast stone, Art Deco home. Foster + Partners inserted a 44-story steel-and-glass tower inside the original structure. The landmark façade is now a 70-ft.-high, skylit atrium space.

The challenge of the sign program was to design a system that would integrate into both the historic façade and the minimalist modern tower. C&G Partners developed a solution based on a series of slim glass and stainless steel totems whose verticality relates to the tower's proportions. The totems not only centralize identification and directional information, but also house the lobby's security cameras and elevator call buttons.

Other signs in the system—including internally illuminated bronze entry signs, interior plaques, and mounted letters—use typefaces relating to Hearst's corporate identity. The sign system also extends into the office tower, where it employs the wealth of graphic identity inherent in the family of Hearst media organizations.

Jury Comments: 

"The jury commends this sign program for its exceptional elegance and appropriate restraint. All sign elements mediate beautifully between the simple, bold, elegant interior, the lively Deco base, and Norman Foster's signature zigzag tower. The sleek freestanding directionals cleverly house security cameras and elevator call buttons. The designers wisely applied the elongated proportions of the elevator lobby to the signs. The use of italic old-style letterforms offers a graceful counterpoint to the square rectangular plaques."

Design Firm: 

C&G Partners (begun at Chermayeff and Geismar)


The Hearst Corporation

Location City: 

New York, New York

Project Area: 


Open Date: 


Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

David Sundberg/Esto, Chuck Choi

Design Team: 

Amy Siegel (principal in charge), Keith Helmetag (partner input); Frank Dylla (renderings)


Tishman Speyer Properties (development manager); Foster + Partners (design architect); Adamson Associates (architect of record); Gensler (interior architect)


Design Communications Ltd. (construction detail consultation); Signs & Decals (base building fabrication); MSD Visual (interior fit-out)

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