This morning the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to calendar the postmodern skyscraper at 550 Madison Avenue, designed by Philip Johnson and completed in 1984. The world’s first skyscraper built in a postmodern style was originally known as the AT&T Building, as the tower served as the company headquarters. Sony moved in in the 1990s, giving it the nickname of the Sony Tower.
Last year, the building sold to the Olayan Group and Chelsfield for a whopping $1.4 billion. Their resulting renovation plan, led by Snøhetta, has elicited protest from preservationists who do not want to see changes to the building’s impressive arched entryway. Now that the tower’s calendared, the developers’ $300 million renovation will eventually come up for a landmarks vote by the LPC.
See renderings of Snøhetta’s proposal
Frank Lloyd Wright/TAA drawing of Key Project for Ellis Island. Credit: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)
Ellis Island, well known as the processing center for millions of American immigrants until 1954, has figured heavily in the nation’s history; once the center was closed and neither of its current owners, the states of New York and New Jersey, knew of an alternative for its re-use, the island was offered for sale. Among the bidders for the 27-acre site were a pair of young NBC executives whose idea included breathtaking plans conceived by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright. According to Metropolis, Wright’s idea supported the media execs’ vision for “an entirely new, complete, and independent prototype city of the future.”
So what happened?
Photo of the protest courtesy of Nathan Eddy
After Olayan America and Chelsfield revealed plans last week for a $300 million renovation of the building at 550 Madison Avenue, known as the AT&T Building, criticism quickly followed. Members of the architecture community, including New York architect Robert A.M. Stern, rallied together last Friday at the base of the Philip Johnson-designed skyscraper, to protest Snøhetta’s proposal to replace the building’s base with a scalloped glass front (h/t Dezeen). Protestors held signs that read “Hands off my Johnson,” “Save the Stone,” and “Save AT&T.” Plus, a petition is currently being circulated on Change.org in an attempt to preserve Johnson’s iconic AT&T Building by having the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission officially designate it as a city landmark.
Find out more
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
The iconic New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is set to undergo a $14.25 million renovation funded by the city. As first reported by the Queens Chronicle, repairs of the monument will begin next spring, which will include some structural conservation work and electrical and architectural improvements. The pavilion, which was originally designed for the 1964 World’s Fair by Philip Johnson and Lev Zetlin, has been ignored for the past few decades, largely in part because of the city’s failure to find the money for repairs.
Find out more
As any modern architecture aficionado knows, the Glass House is Philip Johnson‘s best-known residence. However, it’s not his first. That title goes to the Booth House, built in 1946 (three years prior to the New Canaan beauty) in rural Bedford, New York. Like the Glass House, it boasts Johnson’s iconic floor-to-ceiling glazing, location atop a grass podium, and internal organization around a central fireplace. But unlike the Glass House, now a historic house museum, the Booth House is not protected, and moreover, its title is in litigation which means it could very well face the wrecking ball. Therefore, Archpaper tells us that the long-time owners have listed the home for $1 million in hopes that a preservation-minded buyer will step up.
Find out more
Screen cap via NYT
Just down the street from the now-closed modernist treasure trove and icon that was the Four Seasons in Manhattan’s east 50s is a lesser-known architectural treasure. Philip Johnson’s 1950 Rockefeller Guest House is one of a handful of private residences the architect designed for New York City clients. The house is a designated historic and architectural landmark, but a subtle one that’s easily missed on the quiet street–as the New York Times puts it, “the house doesn’t give up its secrets easily.” Once you spot the home’s brick-and-glass facade, though, it’s hard not to be enthralled.
Find out more and take a video tour
Happy New Year! New year, new month, new #Midnightmoment film in Times Square. This month Pipilotti Rist flattens and squishes her face each night across the screens in conjunction with her solo show at the New Museum. SF’s Spoke Art also opens a new show curated at Supersonic at their LES outpost, and Japanese artist Ayakamay examines media perception at The Lodge Gallery. But if you’re looking for a throwback or something more low-key, hear from old school graffiti writers at Eric Firestone Gallery, or treat yourself to new and exciting film at the Museum of the Moving Image. Lastly, head to The City Reliquary to catch a screening about Philip Johnson’s iconic World’s Fair pavilion in Flushing Meadow, bring your ideas to The Center for Architecture, and then visit the Brooklyn Museum for free courtesy of Target.
More on all the best events this way
The 21st century incarnation of the iconic Four Seasons restaurant set to open at 280 Park Avenue will bear no resemblance to the original, beyond the famous name and the sign that fronted the “Mad Men”-era power lunch spot in the Seagram Building, according to the restaurant’s co-owner, Julian Niccolini. The New York Post reports that the team behind the “new” Four Seasons–Niccolini and partner Alex von Bidder, the Bronfman family, landlord Steve Roth of Vornado and representatives of landlord SL Green Realty–approved the new restaurant’s design, by Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld, last Friday.
A new femininity for the three-martini lunch?
, Thu, September 29, 2016
In a city where hundreds of interesting happenings occur each week, it can be hard to pick and choose your way to a fulfilling life. Art Nerd‘s philosophy is a combination of observation, participation, education and of course a party to create the ultimate well-rounded week. Jump ahead for Art Nerd founder Lori Zimmer’s top picks for 6sqft readers!
Starting this weekend, a miniature Redwood forest grows in Brooklyn thanks to the Public Art Fund. Female artists take on the self portrait at the Untitled Space, while Salomon Art Gallery hosts a Beggars Banquet. Countless artists open their doors for Bushwick Open Studios, where you’re also welcome to channel your inner artist at Jacked Fashion Camp. The Queens Museum celebrates a book launch by Rebecca Solnit, and the City Reliquary highlights Philip Johnson’s Queens landmark. Finally, add to your art collection and stop by the Affordable Art Fair in Manhattan all weekend long.
More on all the best events this way
The Wright auction house is gearing up for the July 26 auction of kitchen and dining room items from the iconic Four Seasons restaurant. As 6sqft previously reported, news that the restaurant would decamp from the building surfaced last summer, when Seagram Building owner Aby Rosen did not renew the lease for what has been seen as the quintessential Midtown “power lunch” spot for the last decades of the 20th century since it opened in 1959. The restaurant’s interiors feature custom designs by Pritzker Prize-winner Philip Johnson and furniture, tableware and other modernist treasures by the likes of by Seagram Building designer Mies Van der Rohe, Hans J. Wegner and others and custom-made Knoll furniture.
With an emotional forward by Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, the auction catalog offers a preview of items up for auction with estimates. Included will be banquettes designed for the space by Philip Johnson Associates, Eero Saarinen Tulip stools, chairs and tables from the bar of the Grill Room, pans, flatware and dishes created for the restaurant by Ada Louise and L. Garth Huxtable and more.
Take a look at the items in the Four Seasons auction