Developed and owned by Tishman Realty and Construction Company, the 800-room Westin was the first major New York hotel to open in 2002 since the Four Seasons in 1993. It is the first completed New York project by Arquitectonica, the Miami-based firm led by husband and wife team Bernardo Fort-Brescia and Laurinda Spear.
The eclectic Latin influenced hotel, which has drawn polarizing architectural reviews, features a 45-story tower rising behind a 10-story base. In all, there are 8,000 different shapes and sizes of glass on on its exterior, all in the building's blue and rust motif. The corset silhoutetted cube-like base appears to float above the four-story E Walk entertainment complex. The glass skin of the tower is post-modernized Mondrian. A 40-story curved white arc extends the full height of the tower, splitting the southern façade in two, and lights up at night in different computer controlled patterns. A huge spotlight on the roof works in concert with the light patterns. Blue glass predominates on the western half, pink-orange on the east. The skin is accented with stripes of contrasting colors that evoke the movement of traffic on uptown and crosstown streets. The interior is minimalist, with colors fading to quieter pastels, combined with wood and metallic finishes. Two atrium spaces, both of irregular contour, are housed within the base, which also contains a business-class section that can be used for small conventions and private events.