Images: Lemessurier and 6sqft
The Midtown building formerly known as Citicorp Center has just been designated a city landmark. The building, now known simply as 601 Lexington Avenue, is one of 12 buildings in Midtown East to be given landmark status by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. This newest batch of landmarks brings the number of official historic buildings in the area to 50, Curbed reports. The 59-story office and retail tower, designed by Hugh A. Stubbins & Associates, was completed in 1978. It was considered quite innovative for its time, with distinctive features that included a 45-degree angular roof and a base of four stilt-like columns. The latter allowed it to cantilever over Saint Peter’s Church, also on the site. There is also a privately owned public space that connects the buildings to the Lexington Avenue-53rd Street subway station.
Among the lesser-known architectural facts about the iconic late ’70s skyscraper: A “nearly fatal flaw” was discovered in 1978, when a Princeton University civil engineering student pointed out that the building was unsafe due to an unusual weakness that made it vulnerable to winds hitting its corners. Worse yet, a construction error weakened the entire building. Fortunately an emergency repair was able to make the building safe again.
LPC chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said, “The Citicorp Tower’s distinctive features make it one of the most recognizable skyscrapers in New York City. Today we ensured that future generations will enjoy this irreplaceable part of our skyline.”
The group of East Midtown buildings were high on the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s list to protect in anticipation of the Midtown East rezoning initiative, which promises to create over a dozen new commercial buildings, among them the 1,401-foot supertall One Vanderbilt. Additional area buildings joining the former Citicorp Center in obtaining landmark status are the Hampton Shops Building, Pershing Square and Hotel Lexington among others.
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Neighborhoods : Midtown East