Anyone looking for a dream career in architecture—without having to practice—could do worse than to emulate Timur Galen, who, after receiving his M.Arch. at the University of Pennsylvania, noticed, he says, “a real deficit in the world of clients.” (Who hasn't?) In his current job as global head of corporate services and real estate for Goldman Sachs, Galen has worked to close that deficit, first hiring Pei Cobb Freed grandee Harry Cobb to design the firm's 42-story headquarters in New York, then bringing in architects like Office dA for the building's cafeteria, SHoP for its auditorium, and Architecture Research Office for its fitness center. For years, he presided over weekly meetings with Cobb and the young turks chosen to design stylish amenities for the building. Cobb, who had recommended several of the firms, served as a kind of curator and occasional conciliator.
But Goldman's ambitions didn't stop with its own offices; it was determined to remake its surroundings, a relatively quiet section of Battery Park City, kitty-corner from the World Trade Center site. The first target was a red-brick building, immediately west of Cobb's, containing an Embassy Suites hotel, the Regal multiplex theater, and several restaurants, including an Applebee's, that, Galen notes, could have been anywhere. Goldman asked Preston Scott Cohen, known for his Tel Aviv Museum of Art addition, to design a glass canopy over the alley between the two buildings.