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Photo by David Plakke, davidplakke.com; Courtesy of Austrian Cultural Forum New York

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AD Classics: Austrian Cultural Forum / Raimund Abraham

22:00 - 27 October, 2018
AD Classics: Austrian Cultural Forum / Raimund Abraham, © Photo by David Plakke, davidplakke.com; Courtesy of Austrian Cultural Forum New York
© Photo by David Plakke, davidplakke.com; Courtesy of Austrian Cultural Forum New York

This article was originally published on May 25, 2015. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.

Before the impossibly “super-thin” tower became ubiquitous on the Midtown Manhattan skyline, Raimund Abraham’s Austrian Cultural Forum challenged the limits of what could be built on the slenderest of urban lots. Working with a footprint no bigger than a townhouse (indeed, one occupied the site before the present tower), Abraham erected a daring twenty-four story high-rise only twenty-five feet across. Instantly recognizable by its profile, a symmetrical, blade-like curtain wall cascading violently toward the sidewalk, ACFNY was heralded by Kenneth Frampton as “the most significant modern piece of architecture to be realized in Manhattan since the Seagram Building and the Guggenheim Museum of 1959.” [1]

The massing of the building is dictated solely by zoning laws and the immediacy of its neighbors. Image © Photo by David Plakke, davidplakke.com; Courtesy of Austrian Cultural Forum New York © Photo by David Plakke, davidplakke.com; Courtesy of Austrian Cultural Forum New York The director's office that occupies the box-like protrusion on the southern facade. Image © Photo by David Plakke, davidplakke.com; Courtesy of Austrian Cultural Forum New York East-facing section with the "scissor stairs" on the left-hand side + 7