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.
550 Madison: The Latest Architecture and News
The New York City Planning Commission approved unanimously the design for 550 Madison Garden created by Snøhetta. The project that re-imagines the privately-owned public space will move forward, after also having received, earlier on, the approval from Manhattan Community Board.
In a recent film published by Metropolis Magazine, New York-based architect Robert A M Stern explains why we should care about Philip Johnson’s controversial AT&T building. As landmark designation hearings to protect the buildings external facade continue, demolition of the lobby of this iconic Postmodern New York City skyscraper has already completed.
The designs by Snøhetta for the renovation of the building at 550 Madison Avenue have launched the building to the forefront of the debate about the preservation of Postmodern heritage. The plans include replacing the stone facade with undulating glass in order to transform the building's street presence. Should plans progress, the once prominent arched entry will sit behind fritted glass and stone covered columns will be unwrapped to create a hovering datum.
Citing the fact that the lobby had already been altered in the 1990s – including the removal of the “Golden Boy” statue – when the building switched tenants from AT&T to the Sony Corporation, the Landmarks Preservation Commission decided last month that the interiors were not deserving of landmark status.
Facing plans for a major renovation that would significantly alter the street presence of the building, Philip Johnson’s Postmodern icon, 550 Madison (formerly AT&T Building) has now cleared the first stage in the process of becoming a designated New York City landmark.
Today, an application to schedule a hearing to landmark the building was approved unanimously by the city’s Landmarks and Preservation Commission (LPC). In a few months time, the LPC will hold a public forum for the building, followed by a deliberation on whether or not the tower deserves official landmark status.
One of New York’s most iconic Postmodern skyscrapers, the Philip Johnson-designed 550 Madison (formerly AT&T Building) is set to receive a major renovation that will completely transform how the building base interacts with the street.
Designed by Snøhetta, the project centers on improving the transparency of its street presence. To do this, the stone facade at the building base will be replaced with a undulating glass curtain wall intended to be more inviting and attractive toward pedestrians, while the existing mid-block public passageway will be opened into a much larger outdoor landscape.