, Thu, September 30, 2021
Photos: ©Fred Charles courtesy of Gensler
A massive blue spherical stone now hangs in the lobby of the landmarked office building 550 Madison Avenue, part of a broader project to revitalize Philip Johnson’s postmodern gem. The Olayan Group on Wednesday unveiled the renovated space, a project which included preserving the 110-foot arched entry, adding a multi-story window across from the entrance with views through to the new garden, still under construction, and the centerpiece art commission. Designed by artist Alicja Kwade, who had a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s roof garden in 2019, the art installation includes a 24-ton Azul Macaubas stone sphere hanging from ten polished stainless steel chains only 12 feet above the floor.
Rendering courtesy of Rockwell Group
The Olayan Group released a new batch of renderings giving us a sneak peek inside the amenity floor at 550 Madison Avenue. Designed by Rockwell Group, the seventh floor offers a mix of “hospitality-driven” spaces for tenants, including food and beverage options, lounges, shared workspaces, and fitness and wellness areas. The center of it all will be the iconic Philip Johnson-designed oculus—which greets visitors as soon as they step off the elevator on the club floor—framed by two floor-to-ceiling artworks by Dorothea Rockburne, which were commissioned in 1993 specifically for the building.
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Rendering of architectural lighting: Silman via NYC Parks
After five years of halting progress, NYC Parks officially broke ground last week on a $24 million project that will preserve the Philip Johnson-designed New York State Pavilion Observation Towers in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The current project represents the first major effort to preserve the Pavilion’s structures since their construction for the 1964 World’s Fair.
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All renderings courtesy of Gensler
It’s been two years since developers unveiled their plans for a $300 million renovation of 550 Madison Avenue, helmed by architecture firm Snøhetta. Built in 1984 to the designs of Philip Johnson and John Burgee, the 647-foot building was the world’s first postmodern skyscraper. After several revisions, the renovation plans were approved by the LPC in February, and now, developer the Olayan Group has revealed the first renderings of the lobby. Most notably, the interior designs respect the 110-foot arched entryway and vaulted ceilings and add a window overlooking the proposed new public garden in the rear arcade.
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, Tue, September 10, 2019
Image via Purpleturtle52 on Wiki Commons
Plans to restore the Philip Johnson-designed New York State Pavilion at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park have been inching along slowly over the past five years. Now, the project finally has a construction start date, Untapped Cities reported. Work will begin by the end of the month and is expected to be completed in March 2021. As 6sqft previously reported, the project has acquired just over $24 million in funding from the Mayor’s office, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, City Council, and a FEMA grant for Hurricane Sandy repairs.
Designed by Philip Johnson for the 1964-65 World’s Fair to embody the architectural essence of Space Age futurism, the New York State Pavilion has been battered by the ensuing decades to the point of becoming valued as an “historic ruin.” As 6sqft previously reported, plans to restore the site have been progressing slowly even with new funding from the city. Now, Curbed reports, the iconic site in Flushing, Queens, will be getting a $16.5 million grant from FEMA for Hurricane Sandy-related repairs.
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, Tue, September 11, 2018
The stories behind some of New Canaan, Connecticut’s treasure trove of modernist homes have been less than uplifting. In addition to Philip Johnson’s famous Glass House, the wealthy enclave boasts dozens of homes by Johnson and his colleagues known as the Harvard Five. An ongoing battle simmers between some of the town’s wealthy residents who favor sprawling McMansions and a passionate contingent of modern architecture fans. At least 20 of the homes, built in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s–have been torn down, usually to build larger houses on the property. One embattled example is a lesser-known Johnson house known as the Alice Ball House. The 1,700-square-foot home, built in 1953, has been referred to as a “livable version of the Glass House.” And it’s now for sale for $7.7 million–along with approved plans by the current owner, an architect who has envisioned a companion property on a much grander scale, including an indoor pool and a massive skylit underground garage.
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This morning the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to designate the AT&T building at 550 Madison Avenue as an individual landmark. Designed by Philip Johnson and completed in 1984, the world’s first postmodern skyscraper originally served as the AT&T headquarters. A decade later, Sony moved in and it became known as the Sony Tower. Recently, a growing roster of preservationists and architects have been urging the LPC to landmark the building after plans surfaced showing significant changes to its architecture.
So what happens now?
Image: NYC Design Awards.
Designed by starchitect Philip Johnson for the 1964-65 World’s Fair to embody the architectural essence of Space Age futurism, the New York State Pavilion, has, in the ensuing decades, become what amNY called a “hulking 54-year-old relic of the World’s Fair,” though it has never lost its modernist cachet and has gained value as an historic ruin of sorts. Recently, talk of restoring the pavilion beyond its current inglorious purgatory slowly appears to be moving toward actual plans with funding attached. City officials and preservationists have secured $14 million for specific repairs and improvements to the pavilion.
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During a nearly two-hour public hearing on Tuesday, passionate preservationists, architects, and community groups testified in front of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in support of designating the postmodern skyscraper at 550 Madison Avenue as an individual landmark. Best known as the AT&T Building, the 37-story tower was designed by Philip Johnson, along with his partner John Burgee, and completed in 1984.
As postmodernism’s first skyscraper, 550 Madison has stood out for its pink-gray granite facade, arched entryway and Chippendale-inspired crown. A wide range of people on Tuesday voiced support for giving 550 Madison landmark designation, including architectural critic Paul Goldberger. In his testimony, Goldberger cited his own 1978 New York Times review of the building, before it was built, when he called the AT&T Building “a major monument” of postmodernism and “the most provocative and daring skyscraper to be proposed for New York since the Chrysler Building.”
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