Summit One Vanderbilt in New York

Summit One Vanderbilt in New York – An Architectural Wonder

What is Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City? Where is the Summit One Vanderbilt located? How tall is the Summit One Vanderbilt? How many floors does Summit One Vanderbilt have? These are only a handful of the questions that we will explore today over the course of this article. We will examine this fascinating new addition to the Big Apple in order to learn as much as we can about it. So, keep reading and you may just learn a little more about one of the most innovative new tourist attractions in a city already well-known for its many attractions!



A Look at Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City

ArchitectKohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Date Constructed2017 – 2020
FunctionOffice building
Materials UsedSteel and glass
Height427 meters (or 1,401 ft)
LocationOne Vanderbilt Avenue, New York City, United States

How Many Floors Does the Summit One Vanderbilt Have The Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City; Percival Kestreltail, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City is a new attraction located in the Big Apple. This new attraction is an observation deck, named Summit, atop the One Vanderbilt skyscraper. Both the Summit attraction and the skyscraper are new additions to the city, and they will each be discussed in some level of detail below. Together, they have become fantastic new additions to the city’s skyline and an absolute jewel of the modern day. So, let’s have a look at Summit One Vanderbilt’s architecture, attractions, and everything else in between.



The Rise of One Vanderbilt

One Vanderbilt is a relatively new skyscraper located in New York City, and it is already one of the top five tallest in a city already known for some of the tallest structures in the world. The structure started its life as part of a larger rezoning plan in the Midtown East region that sought to modernize the general area around Grand Central Terminal. Modernization efforts of these varieties appear frequently, and in this particular case, the design of the structure was handed over to one of the most prominent contemporary architectural firms, Kohn Pederson Fox.

Construction of One Vanderbilt started in 2017 and completed in 2020, and this makes it one of the most recent skyscrapers in New York City at the time of writing. 

Upon its completion, it was hailed as the fourth tallest in the city as well as being ranked the thirtieth-tallest in the world. So, while it does not necessarily compete with some of the other tallest structures in the world that are currently under construction, it is still an impressively tall building at a height of 427 m (or 1,401 ft). The idea behind the skyscraper as a whole is that it is meant to harmonize with the famous Grand Central Terminal that is situated right beside it.

Why Is the Summit One Vanderbilt so Tall One Vanderbilt in October 2019 with Central Park Tower and 111 West 57th Street in background to the left; NicoARicoA, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Part of this effort includes the public transit hall that is directly connected to the famed train station beside it. This direct connection to Grand Central Terminal as well as its prime location in Midtown Manhattan means that One Vanderbilt is located in the center of the city’s business district as well as one of the most important tourist destinations in the entire city. The decision to situate the building beside Grand Central Terminal also aids in the accessibility of the structure as a whole.

This immensely famous train station is one of the busiest in the world and accommodates more than 750,000 people a day. 

It’s easy for anyone to access the region around One Vanderbilt through this busy station, and so the new skyscraper can form part of the other attractions found in the general region, such as the Empire State Building, the New York Public Library, and Bryant Park. However, this has only been a brief look at One Vanderbilt and why it is so perfectly situated, but not a look at Summit One Vanderbilt.

Who Build the Summit One Vanderbilt The construction of One Vanderbilt on August 2018; Jim.henderson, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This location is an observation deck at the top of the One Vanderbilt skyscraper. It is made up of four floors and is a new tourist destination complete with a variety of fascinating, immersive installations that are meant to be a blend of art, technology, and architectural achievement. There are a number of different activities that are available at this particular location, and they include a story-driven immersive art experience called AIR, a skybox that is extended beyond the limits of the building known as Leviathan, which allows visitors to stand high above the city, and a bar and lounge area called Aprés that provides panoramic views of the city from far above most of the hubbub below.

Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City is a fascinating new attraction the likes of which have never really been seen before. 

It is a stunning example of an artistic approach to the use of a structure that would have otherwise been little more than an ordinary skyscraper and instead allows anyone who enters to experience something quite unlike any other experience in the world.



Architectural Brilliance: Design and Concept

The idea behind Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City came from Kenzo Digital, an artist who had the desire to create an immersive space that could allow someone to enjoy the city in a way that it had never been enjoyed before. According to him, he wanted to create a space that would be a celebration of the city’s energy, history, future, and diversity. While the skyscraper itself was handled separately, the top three floors of the building were instead designed in collaboration between this artist and Snøhetta and Arup. The first of which is an architectural firm while the latter is an engineering and consulting firm.

They collaborated on this fascinating blended observation deck that could allow for something entirely new from what had been designed before. 

The primary difference that separates this tourist destination apart from the rest of the city and the structure as a whole is because it includes a number of separate locations that all cater to different needs and each of those spaces is also perfect for many photo opportunities. There are spaces for relaxation, spaces for enjoying the artistry on display, some for reaching the very height of the structure, and so on. This immersive experience was designed to be a tourist destination for the city that set it apart from practically every other space in the world. A glass gem atop an already tall skyscraper.

Where Is the Summit One Vanderbilt Located The mind-bending Summit One Vanderbilt observation deck;  Bobak Ha’Eri, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The height of One Vanderbilt, the skyscraper, significantly contributes to the structure set atop the already impressively tall structure. The design of the skyscraper, as has already been mentioned, was meant to serve as a complementary structure alongside the already existing Midtown Manhattan environment. At present, the Summit of this structure has already managed to become one of the most enjoyable new experiences in the region and a successful attempt at rejuvenation of the region.

The Summit One architecture and height have already been noted as fantastic additions. 



Elevating the Skyline: Height and Scale

In terms of the height of Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City, it is one of the tallest structures in the city. It stands at a height of 427 m (or 1,401 ft), as has already been mentioned, but this puts it on par with some of the tallest structures in the city. There are only a handful of buildings that are actually taller. The One World Trade Center, Central Park Tower, and 111 West 57th Street skyscrapers are the only buildings that are presently taller than this massive skyscraper.

One Vanderbilt is therefore the fourth-tallest building in the city.

This puts it high above most of the skyline of the already impressive New York City skyline, and as the other, taller structures are few and far between, the Summit One Vanderbilt attraction has unparalleled views in comparison to practically everything else. There may be taller buildings in the city and the world, but none of them have been specifically designed with a height-oriented tourist attraction atop them.

How Tall Is the Summit One Vanderbilt One Vanderbilt from the Empire State Building; HRVdriveblue4449, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

However, thanks to the immense height of this structure, there were certain issues inherent in the design of the One Vanderbilt skyscraper as well as the observation deck attraction atop it. The building itself is one of the tallest in the world, and so needed to be designed in such a way that it would not topple over from sheer wind force or structural instability. And the addition of the Summit One Vanderbilt attraction only contributed to the difficulty in that. The top of this building is, after all, an observation deck.

Many of the tallest structures in the world cannot easily allow open windows or anyone to exit the structure because it could threaten the general stability of the building, and this was a problem with this observation deck too. 

For instance, it needed to include a tuned mass damper to reduce swaying and vibrations at the top of the structure. In addition to more structural elements such as this, the design and construction of this new tourist destination made use of a proprietary system called OneDesign, which allowed collaboration and coordination between all the elements of the construction. This allowed the designers, owners, and construction managers to more easily communicate with one another and aid in the resolution of conflicts, ease of decision-making, a reduction in costs, and so on.

Summit One Architecture Type Views of the One Vanderbilt concourse connection to Grand Central Terminal; MTAPhotos, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

However, upon completion, Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City became an instant success. It has already added to the already significant skyline with its slender design and terracotta spandrels along the skyscraper that has aided in its association with Grand Central Terminal. The top of the structure, the eponymous Summit, has also attracted the attention of many visitors who wish to see gorgeous sights from its height while also experiencing the other elements that have been designed throughout it.

Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City has become one of the greatest new attractions in the city and an experience that is worth spending some time within. So, let’s have a look at some of what can be done atop One Vanderbilt in Midtown Manhattan. 



Sky-High Amenities: The Summit Experience

Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City includes a number of fantastic attractions within its observation deck walls. Firstly, there is no other place in the city in which one can take a relaxing day to climb to the height of the city’s tallest buildings and gaze down upon one of the most famous cities in the world. Furthermore, there is no place quite like this particular observation deck. Some of it has already been discussed in minor detail, but let’s examine it in more detail now.

There is a large art space that is, quite simply, an immersive and fascinating experience to enjoy, but this has already been mentioned. 

In addition to this, there is a restaurant and café in Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City that is operated by the world-renowned chef Daniel Boulud, a cocktail lounge, a sky box that allows one to terrifyingly stand in a glass box suspended high above the streets far below, and the world’s largest glass-bottomed outdoor elevator that can take visitors to the very top of the structure to see the city in all its majesty.

Summit One Architecture The Summit One Vanderbilt observation deck as seen from that at 30 Rockefeller Center; Philroc, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In addition to all of this, the whole space is meant to be a comfortable space for those who are visiting and working. The skyscraper has both occupants and guests, and both have access to this stunning observation deck attraction. The whole structure, including the skyscraper and the observation deck, is meant to be pleasant and convenient. It has already been mentioned that there is a direct connection between the skyscraper and Grand Central Terminal, but it is worth reiterating as it adds to the convenience of the structure as a whole for those who have decided to spend their time within the glass walls of Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City.

All of this is also aided by the gorgeous and dynamic lighting system that illuminates the structure at night to allow it to be seen from miles in every direction. 

Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City has quickly become one of the best new locations in the city for those who are interested in seeing the city in its full glory. The Summit One architecture, art installations, various amenities, and the general atmosphere of the new landmark all contribute to making this one of the best new tourist destinations. However, the structure is also notable for making use of some impressive ecological designs.



Sustainable and Green Initiatives

The design of Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City was not only impressive from a design perspective but also from an ecological one. The structure has won a number of certificates, such as a LEED Platinum certificate for sustainable construction and a WELL Platinum certificate for health and safety reasons.

The structure attained these accolades through the use of energy-efficient lighting and water usage, a green roof, carbon offsets, a waste system for composting, and high-performance glass for the façade. 

A number of different technologies have been implemented throughout One Vanderbilt to ensure that it is as ecologically designed and managed as possible. This has succeeded in the structure being considered one of the leaders in sustainable design in the city, and this design is likely to influence the design of other structures around the world.

Summit One Architecture Style The southern view from the mind-bending Summit One Vanderbilt observation deck; Bobak Ha’Eri, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons



Transforming the Urban Landscape

Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City has had a significant impact on the general environment around the structure. The rejuvenation project of which the structure was a part has seemingly led to a number of improvements to the transit system, pedestrian walkways, the public plaza beside the structure, and a number of other public benefits. The increase in tourist traffic has also led to a boost in both temporary and permanent jobs, and this has boosted the economy in the region.

The rejuvenation project has also has to more aesthetic improvements in Midtown Manhattan. It has added to the skyline, contributed to the general region around Grand Central Terminal, and improved overall functionality and accessibility. 

This has all added to how the One Vanderbilt skyscraper and the Summit observation deck have aided the region. Furthermore, the design of the skyscraper and observation deck has already led to influences on other developers and designers and have served as inspiration to create more dynamic spaces for the public. Hopefully, the collaborative energy that led to the development of Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City will translate to other locations and lead to even better improvements.



The Corporate Tenants and Retail Spaces

While we have spent much of this article discussing Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City, it is also worth remembering that there is a skyscraper located beneath it. That skyscraper houses many corporate tenants. Some of the most prestigious of them all include TD Bank, the Carlyle Group, and Fidelity National Information Services.

The corporate aspects also extend to the general influence that this structure has had on the region around the skyscraper as it has led to infrastructure improvements, general rejuvenation of the area, and a means of job creation. In addition to the corporate office space, the observation deck itself does also offer some retail space for those who have decided to visit, such as the cocktail lounge and restaurant.



Architectural Accolades and Recognition

The majority of architectural critics who have examined Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City since its construction have been positive about this new architectural feat in the city. In fact, the structure even managed to be nominated for a number of different awards. At the time of writing, it has not received any of these awards because it is still a relatively new structure.

However, it has been nominated for building of the year awards, interior design awards, outdoor project awards, and several others. 

These are only the professional accolades though. The public response has been immensely positive, and based on some of the reviews that the observation deck has received, it has already become a favorite location for many who are interested in the city and some of the most gorgeous views that one could ever attain of said city.



Landmark for the Future: Legacy and Beyond

While Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City is a relatively new structure in the history of a city that is already well known for its architectural delights, it has already become apparent that this new tourist destination is set to become a landmark for the future. There are many different reasons for this. The observation deck is, quite obviously, located atop an already impressively tall skyscraper that inherently allows for the Summit of the building to offer the stunning panoramic views that it exhibits, and those views are another of the major reasons that this structure will likely become one of the most notable new features in the city.

Furthermore, Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City also makes use of an innovative glass-oriented design that allows for various high-rise attractions, art installations, and photo opportunities that leave other, earlier sites that were known for their height and accessibility, such as the Empire State Building, looking like tiny structures in comparison. 

The various amenities that have already been discussed that allow the observation deck to be a place to simply relax and enjoy oneself add to the overall atmosphere of the spot. And there is also, of course, the fact that this structure was designed as a leader in sustainable architecture. The Summit One architecture, as well as the design of the skyscraper as a whole, makes use of green roofs, water conservation, and various energy-efficient systems.

How Tall Is the Summit One Vanderbilt in New York East facing view One Vanderbilt under construction in midtown Manhattan; Thehornet, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

All of these aspects have together contributed to Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City being one of the most notable structures in the city. And so while the structure does not have all that much fame outside the city as of yet, as it is still quite young and word still needs to travel, it will likely become a symbol of the future for the city. In addition to this, it demonstrates that there is a way to integrate art, technology, and architectural design into something that can be readily enjoyed by many different people.

It serves as a symbol of collaboration between a variety of different groups, such as artists, engineers, and architects, who worked together to produce something new and different. 

This can serve as a beacon for other potential projects that could be built around the world. Hopefully, the integration of all of these separate components as well as the inherent accessibility built into the design of One Vanderbilt and the Summit structure on top of it become influential for others. It would be fantastic to see other artistic and experimental designs used around the world.


And so, we come to the conclusion of our look at Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City. We have examined both the skyscraper itself and the observation deck atop it that has become such a stunning sight in the city. In this article, we have discussed numerous aspects about the design and implementation of this new tourist destination in the city, and hopefully, you have learned a lot about it. If you ever get the chance, visit this stunning new tourist spot in the middle of the Big Apple! 




Frequently Asked Questions


What Is Summit One Vanderbilt?

Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City is an observation deck tourist attraction that has been built on top of the One Vanderbilt skyscraper. This observation deck is not an ordinary observation deck though, and is instead a unique experience that includes a number of amenities. There is a restaurant, cocktail lounge, skybox, art installation, and various other components that allow for panoramic views of the city.


How Many Floors Does the Summit One Vanderbilt Have?

The skyscraper as a whole includes 93 floors. From a technical perspective, the observation deck is instead made up of only a few floors. However, as the glass-bottomed elevator that is part of the structure can take one up to a height that would be equivalent to the 100th floor, this can be a relatively difficult question to answer. The actual observation deck is made up of four floors.


What Is the Height and Total Floor Space of Summit One Vanderbilt?

The total height of the skyscraper is 427 m (or 1,401 ft), but that includes the height of the antenna spire. The actual observation deck of the skyscraper does not reach quite that high. Instead, it is located between the 73rd and 76th floors with a height of between 310.9 m and 365.8 m. The observation deck has a floor space of 65,000 square feet.


How Tall Is the Summit One Vanderbilt?

The skyscraper that is known as One Vanderbilt may be 427 m (or 1,401 ft), but the actual observation deck that is known as Summit is lower. It is instead situated at a height of between 310.9 and 365.8 m. The actual observation deck section, which is the part of the building technically known as Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City, is only four stories tall. However, despite the observation deck being relatively small in comparison to the full height of the skyscraper, this is to be expected.


Where Is the Summit One Vanderbilt Located?

Summit One Vanderbilt is located in New York City. The actual observation deck is located at the top of the One Vanderbilt skyscraper, which is more specifically located in Midtown Manhattan. In even more specific terms, the structure is located beside Grand Central Terminal.


How Does the Observation Deck of Summit One Vanderbilt Compare to Others in NYC?

There are no observation decks in New York City that are anything like Summit One Vanderbilt. Most observation decks tend to be rather simple and offer views and perhaps a place for a few drinks or a meal, but Summit One Vanderbilt instead allows for those same panoramic views while also incorporating art, various attractions, and ample opportunities for some great photos.


Are There Any Eco-Friendly Features Incorporated into Summit One Vanderbilt’s Design?

There are many eco-friendly features in the design of Summit One Vanderbilt in New York City. It makes use of a rainwater harvesting system, a green roof, a waste management system for diverting waste for recycling and composting, and various other sustainability elements.


Cite this Article

Justin, van Huyssteen, “Summit One Vanderbilt in New York – An Architectural Wonder.” Art in Context. August 29, 2023. URL:

van Huyssteen, J. (2023, 29 August). Summit One Vanderbilt in New York – An Architectural Wonder. Art in Context.

van Huyssteen, Justin. “Summit One Vanderbilt in New York – An Architectural Wonder.” Art in Context, August 29, 2023.

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