The innovative cable façade of the new 33rd Penn Station Entrance in New York City is realized by seele.


primary steel construction


high portal frame


double curved glass panels


double curved mild steel panels

a special cable façade for the new 33rd penn station entrance in new york

Penn Station is considered one of the most important train stations in New York City. Approximately 650,000 people use the junction at the famous Madison Square Garden every day. A new main entrance on 33rd Street/7th Avenue is planned to accommodate the high passenger frequency.
SOM's design includes a 277sqm and 12m high canopy with an anticlastic cable façade. The primary supporting structure will be a steel structure in the form of a 14.6m high, A-shaped frame inclined at 45 degrees which creates the entrance. Another component is a circumferential, oval edge beam of approximately 30m length and 13m width for the floor connection.

  • Since the steel structure is completely exposed, there are special requirements for its manufacture, especially with regard to the surface quality (AESS 4). In addition, numerous fixtures are integrated, such as for water supply or lighting technology.
    The cable façade is situated between the portal frame and the edge beam and consists of double-curved glass laminates fixed with point clamp fittings. Both the portal frame and its head point are glazed with laminated safety glass panels.
    The design continues in the opening to the concourse: 60 double-curved, linearly arranged mild steel panels, suspended from a substructure, form the cladding for the oval parapet. Its funnel shape creates a flowing transition upwards to the canopy, resulting in a seemingly infinite perspective.

    Header image and reference overview: © AECOM/SOM


High demands on the steel construction

Due to the architecturally desired shape of the façade, the longitudinal cables must be pretensioned in order to achieve sufficient pretensioning in the transverse cables. As a result, the steel frame has to be manufactured with a precamber. During assembly, the cables are first extended with adapter pieces and then tensioned to bring the frame into its final shape. On site, the individual components are connected to each other at joints using solid screws and end plates. Due to the high demands placed on the design of the steel structure (AESS 4), the surfaces and weld seams require high-precision machining. The inlets for the stainless steel cables, which are difficult to access, pose a further challenge: In addition to these, other components such as cable ducts for lighting, which run inside the steel structure, must also be taken into account.

The steel structure for the edge beam being welded at seele pilsen. © seele
The complexity of the steel structure can be seen inside a welded component. © seele


Client Metropolitan Transportation Authority – MTA Construction & Development
Main contractor Skanska
Architect AECOM / SOM
Date of completion 2020
Scope of seele supply
  • 105t primary steel construction, consisting of
    • 15m high portal frame
    • 45 running meters circumferential edge beam
    • with integrated LED spotlights and LED strips
  • cable façade
    • 139 double-curved, chemically toughened glass panels in varying sizes
    • outermost SGP interlayer printed with dot pattern
    • stainless steel cables
    • stainless steel point clamp fittings 
  • glazed portal frame (laminated safety glass for front and top)
  • soffit cladding made of 60 double curved mild steel panels and substructure