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  6. AD Classics: Chase Manhattan Plaza / SOM

AD Classics: Chase Manhattan Plaza / SOM

AD Classics: Chase Manhattan Plaza / SOM
AD Classics: Chase Manhattan Plaza / SOM, © SOM
© SOM

© SOM © SOM © SOM © SOM +15

  • Architects

  • Location

    Manhattan, New York City, New York
  • Architect

    SOM
  • Team

    J. Walter Severinghaus, Gordon Bunshaft, Alan Labie, Roy Allen, Jacques Guiton
  • References

    SOM
  • Photographs

From the architect. Known for their innovation and economy in design, SOMs Chase Manhattan Plaza in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan displays SOMs architectural language on efficiency and its relationship with the public realm.  

© SOM
© SOM

Completed in 1961, the 60 story skyscraper by Gordon Bunshaft of SOM is a coming of age story for Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill presence as an national leader of corporate architectural design that evokes efficiency and functionality.

© SOM
© SOM

Situated on Liberty Street, the Chase Manhattan building bridges two commercial properties between Nassau Street and Williams Street in Lower Manhattan. 

© SOM
© SOM

Rising 813 feet above the bustling streets of Manhattan, the building is an exemplary project on efficiency where the slender tower only occupies 30% of the 2.5 acre site.  In effect creating one of the largest privately owned public spaces in Manhattan that are intended to create an oasis to relieve the congestion and density within the city.

© SOM
© SOM

Following in the footsteps of many prolific architects that have designed buildings for Manhattan’s dense urban fabric, SOM places the public space as a high priority in the design of the building just as Mies van der Rohe and Raymond Hood had done previously.

© SOM
© SOM

By allocating the majority of the allowable space to the public realm, the building is not solely become restricted to such tight constraints, rather the proportion of built to unbuilt space gives the Chase Manhattan building an iconic presence at the heart of the Financial District that becomes a central focal point for commerce and recreational activities to converge in one location.

© SOM
© SOM

The design of the Chase Manhattan building is relatively straightforward – slender tower with a repeated typical floor plan that optimizes efficiency and functionality on every level that allows for a completely flexible interior.

© SOM
© SOM

Echoing on the Inland Steel Building by Bruce Graham and Walter Netsch from SOMs Chicago office, the Chase Manhattan skyscraper places the columns on the exterior of the building while situating the core offset from the center to designate areas of spatial efficiency and flexibility. 

Plan
Plan

The offset core allows for offices to be placed on the northern part of the building while the south side of the building can be designed for flexible desk use and more collective gathering/work spaces.

Section
Section

The entire project over exaggerates efficiency and flexibility required for modern business in 20th Century corporate America.

In terms of materiality, the Chase Manhattan building employed the most readily available and economic materials that were present at the time of construction.  

The building is clad in anodized aluminum along with a glass and steel facade system.  The building was telling of how the International Style was creeping into American architecture.

The Chase Manhattan building is one of many examples from SOM that began to show the firms presence in modernism in corporate America where economy does not solely relate to a monetary value, but a temporal value where time is the ultimate factor in efficiency, flexibility, and corporate prosperity.

© SOM
© SOM
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: Andrew Kroll. "AD Classics: Chase Manhattan Plaza / SOM" 12 Apr 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/127371/ad-classics-chase-manhattan-plaza-som/>
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21 Comments

Kevin Jones · November 29, 2012

What a great look into a Modernist building of SOM's more early work! I think it is really interesting that they choose more than a few of both Mies and Corbs major themes to emulate but didn't let the typical aesthetics of a Modern design limit what they chose to articulate. The structure was celebrated on the exterior well within the bounds of being appropriate for buildings already existing center structure. Over all great work for its time!

Arquitectura Moderna · August 27, 2011

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Santi Maggio Savasta · August 22, 2011

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Bruno Bellomo · July 11, 2011

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mattsu · April 18, 2011

Team: J. Walter Severinghaus, Gordon Bunshaft, etc completed in 1961 AD Classics: Chase Manhattan Plaza / SOM http://t.co/qeBD4NS

bluevertical · April 14, 2011

Chase Manhattan Plaza by SOM http://bit.ly/htA1Bx #architecture #classic #modern #interiordesign #photography *a classic indeed

Love New York · April 14, 2011

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P?nar ÖZDEM?R · April 13, 2011

Chase Manhattan Plaza / SOM | ArchDaily http://t.co/qAqk4Ee Böyle bir plazay? ?ekerpareme yapar?m böylede ç?lg?n bir ruhum var :)

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Elevator View · April 13, 2011

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r s · April 13, 2011

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ArchitecturePassion · April 13, 2011

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Barry Maguire · April 13, 2011

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Eric W · April 13, 2011

love the photos

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Archibuilt 2010 · April 13, 2011

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