In the 20th Century, New York City became an epicenter of newly constructed buildings that quickly gained an iconic status. While they greatly influenced new ways that we think about aesthetics and space, many of them met their demise less than 60 years after their commissioning. It seems that in the modern age of mass development, and where a wrecking ball symbolizes progress forward, no building is safe. The tenacity to tear down even these structures deemed to be culturally significant speaks to how architects are quick to dismiss ideas about how long we plan for buildings to live and how we decide when its time for them to come down. 270 Park Avenue, once hailed by Ada Louise Huxtable as one of the city’s contributions to a “dramatic revolution in architectural design,” was completed in 1961 by SOM. In an important moment for women in design, it was the first midcentury corporate building to be completed by a woman, Natalie de Bois, who was named as project architect. The former Union Carbide building is also considered a modernist icon that drew inspiration from (and arguably perfected) Mies’ nearby Seagram building.
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