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At And T Building: The Latest Architecture and News

Will Snøhetta's Redesign Calm the Outcry From Its Original Controversial Proposal?

09:30 - 12 December, 2018
Will Snøhetta's Redesign Calm the Outcry From Its Original Controversial Proposal?, Courtesy of LMNB & Snøhetta
Courtesy of LMNB & Snøhetta

Labeled as "vandalism" and "murder" of an icon of postmodernism, Oslo-based firm Snøhetta's redesign proposal for Phillip Johnson and John Burgee's AT&T Headquarters was received with instantaneous backlash across the architectural community last year. Architect Robert A. M. Stern, marched alongside a protest outside 550 Madison Avenue, and even critic Norman Foster, who never claimed to have any sympathy for the postmodern movement, still vocalized his sentiments that "[the building] is an important part of our heritage and should be respected as such."

A rejection of the bland and cold functionality of Midtown's crystal skyscrapers, the AT&T building was intended to encourage a more playful approach architecture in the corporate world; the crazy socks beneath a three-piece suit. It was not without controversy. Upon its completion, the building was derided for its decorative and outsized pediment and occasionally dark interior spaces. Indeed, the building's arched entry spaces were among the only architectural elements to be met with praise from both critics and the public. 

Courtesy of LMNB & Snøhetta Courtesy of LMNB & Snøhetta Courtesy of LMNB & Snøhetta Courtesy of LMNB & Snøhetta + 6

Controversial Snøhetta Plans for Philip Johnson's AT&T Headquarters Halted by Landmark Designation

12:00 - 2 August, 2018
Controversial Snøhetta Plans for Philip Johnson's AT&T Headquarters Halted by Landmark Designation, Proposed alteration . Image Courtesy of DBOX
Proposed alteration . Image Courtesy of DBOX

Work on the Snøhetta-designed renovation of 550 Madison Avenue, better known as the AT&T Headquarters, has ground to a halt in New York City. The controversial postmodernist icon, designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgree, has become the youngest building in New York to receive "Individual Landmark" status by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), striking a blow to controversial efforts to renovate the building.

Under major renovation plans designed by Snøhetta, the scheme was set to be transformed at street level with a more transparent base, with the existing stone façade removed. Meanwhile, the signature ground floor element, an enormous arched entry, would be rendered a shadowy profile of its former self behind a fritted glass curtain wall. The plans attracted wide criticism, such as an intervention on film by Robert A M Stern, and grassroots campaigns including docomomo and change.org.

A Man, a Suit, and a Window: The Strange World of the Luxury Skyscraper Promotional Video

06:00 - 21 June, 2018
A Man, a Suit, and a Window: The Strange World of the Luxury Skyscraper Promotional Video , Image via screenshot from video
Image via screenshot from video

A new genre of film is emerging: the luxury skyscraper promotional video. Usually released before a new building is even finished, these filmic renderings follow an uncannily standard format: A stirring soundtrack reliably accompanies a time lapse of a city’s skyline; viewers ascend a rendered building until we reach the top floor. There, we see some variation of the most common scene found in these videos: a businessman silently overlooking the expansive city below. The figure tends to be pensive, well-dressed, white, and male. Read on to see three prime examples of this odd trend.

Watch Robert A M Stern Make the Case for Preserving Philip Johnson's AT&T Building

09:30 - 24 February, 2018
Watch Robert A M Stern Make the Case for Preserving Philip Johnson's AT&T Building, Rendering of Snøhetta's renovation plans for the AT&T Building. Image © DBOX
Rendering of Snøhetta's renovation plans for the AT&T Building. Image © DBOX

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.

Demolition Begins on Lobby of Philip Johnson's AT&T Building

08:00 - 16 January, 2018
Demolition Begins on Lobby of Philip Johnson's AT&T Building, Demolition is now underway on the lobby interiors. Image © DBOX
Demolition is now underway on the lobby interiors. Image © DBOX

While the exterior of Philip Johnson’s iconic AT&T awaits its fate in an upcoming New York City landmarks designation hearing, demolition of its granite-clad interior lobby has already begun.

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 Major Renovations, Philip Johnson’s AT&T Building Gets Hearing for Landmark Designation

14:45 - 28 November, 2017
Facing Major Renovations, Philip Johnson’s AT&T Building Gets Hearing for Landmark Designation, Renovation plans would significantly alter the building's street presence. Image © DBOX
Renovation plans would significantly alter the building's street presence. Image © DBOX

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.

Snøhetta to Transform 550 Madison, Philip Johnson's Iconic Postmodern New York Skyscraper

14:30 - 30 October, 2017
Snøhetta to Transform 550 Madison, Philip Johnson's Iconic Postmodern New York Skyscraper, © DBOX
© DBOX

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.

© DBOX © DBOX © DBOX © David Shankbone + 5