Roku amenity roof terrace at 5 Times Square in New York

Roku, 5 Times Square

Location New York, NY

Category Commercial

Focus Area Roofs

Roof Replacement

Located in the heart of New York City’s most vibrant district, 5 Times Square is a 38-story aluminum and glass skyscraper designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and completed in 2002. Roku, a worldwide provider of streaming TV services and digital media players, was working with The Switzer Group to fit out the 34th floor at 5 Times Square for its new office space in Manhattan. As part of the new office fit-out, Roku was looking to convert the existing roof setback into an outdoor terrace for its employees.

Consisting of a 20-year-old inverted roof membrane assembly (IRMA), the roof setback housed window washing equipment, accessible solely by building personnel. Converting rooftop maintenance areas to recreation space presents challenges beyond those for a typical roof replacement, including increased structural capacity, wind uplift resistance, insulation and energy performance, and occupant accessibility and safety. Switzer turned to Hoffmann Architects + Engineers, with over 45 years of experience designing rehabilitative and adaptive reuse solutions, to address the intricacies involved in the rooftop fit-out.

Roku roof before renovation, with a plain unused maintenance space

Before the renovation, the roof setback was used only for maintenance.

Roku roof after renovation with picnic tables, lighting, and attractive pavers

After the renovation, the roof terrace is an inviting amenity space for the Roku team.

View of downtown Manhattan and the renovated Roku roof terrace at 5 Times Square

The renovated terrace offers striking views of Manhattan and capitalizes on previously underutilized space.

To comply with the current New York City Building Code, modification to the existing perimeter guardrail was required, and, with Hoffmann’s input, Switzer developed plans and specifications for a new glass perimeter guardrail. The new guardrail connections would require securement through the existing deck to new supplemental structural support beams installed at the underside of the deck. After considering both the age of the existing roof system and the number of penetrations required to accommodate the new perimeter guardrail, Switzer determined that replacement of the entire existing roof system was the most advantageous option.

Meeting the latest New York City Energy Conservation Code required augmenting the existing insulation. Typically, the boost in long-term thermal resistance would translate to a 3-inch increase in the height of the assembly. However, given the constraints of the existing roof setback, the replacement assembly could not exceed the height of the existing one. Furthermore, available paver options would not meet wind load requirements at the roof perimeter or corners and would require supplemental anchoring to the roof deck.

Hoffmann’s design team engineered a custom perimeter paver restraint system and a new IRMA system with an alternative insulation product. Working closely with Switzer, Hoffmann retrofit new doors and thresholds within the existing metal panel and glass assembly to permit tenant access to the roof terrace. As Architect of Record for the roof replacement project, Hoffmann prepared contract documents and specifications and filed documentation with the New York City Department of Buildings. The firm also oversaw construction. Hoffmann’s solutions allowed the client to meet energy code, wind pressure, and safety requirements without modifying the rooftop’s perimeter curtain wall, flashing, or doors, thus maintaining the inverted configuration and a warrantable system. This challenging retrofit application maintained the desired thin assembly profile and uniform aesthetic across the roof setback and now provides easy access for Roku’s staff to take in expansive aerial views of Broadway and beyond from their own 34th floor outdoor amenity space.

View of downtown Manhattan and the renovated Roku roof terrace at 5 Times Square