It’s a sign of the times: New York City’s Javits Center, home to some of todays hottest design conferences, shows and events, including the Interior Design Hall of Fame awards is being converted into New York’s first alternate care hospital in response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic. The Army Corps of Engineers transformed the main showroom floor of the convention hall, designed in 1985 by I.M. Pei and James Freed into a 1,000-bed treatment center now dubbed The Javits Federal Medical Station.

I.M. Pei - designed Javits center in New York
I.M. Pei, heavily influenced by the International Style favored steel and glass facades. For the Jacob K. Javits Center, he leaned heavily on steel and glass in angular form. Photo by Getty Images.

I.M. Pei, born in Hong Kong in 1917, studied at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Architecture and later received his Masters from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Pei was heavily influenced by Le Courbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright and the International Style and later became friends with Bauhaus icons Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer.

Among I.M. Pei’s most famous modernist works are the Mesa Labratory in Boulder, Colorado built in 1961 and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum designed in 1964 and completed in 1979.

The interior of the Javits Center in New York City
Photography © Chris Cooper, courtesy of FXCollaborative. Via interiordesign.net.

The Javits center was converted to be an overflow location for area hospitals over-burdened by the more than 14,000 patients currently hospitalized due to COVID-19. But late last week, alterations were made in order for the Javits to begin receiving COVID-19 positive patients.

Read the full story here and here.

For more on iconic New York modernist landmarks, check out this post on the history of the Guggenheim Museum.

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