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Midtown Manhattan: The Latest Architecture and News

KPF Completes Tallest Office Tower in Midtown Manhattan

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) completed One Vanderbilt, the tallest office tower in Midtown Manhattan. Part of New York City’s East Midtown Rezoning, the highrise explores the future of the central business district, “with public realm benefits, carefully crafted materiality, and a tapered form that establishes a striking skyline presence”.

Courtesy of KPFCourtesy of KPFCourtesy of KPFCourtesy of KPF+ 9

Tallest Office Tower in Midtown Manhattan Tops Out

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) have designed One Vanderbilt the soon to be tallest contemporary office facility in Midtown Manhattan, at 427 meters in height. The tower’s spire was recently raised and upon its completion, the building will offer a new type of experience in the Grand Central District.

© Raimund Koch© Raimund Koch© Liane Curtis© Raimund Koch+ 16

New York City's Hudson Yards Is Finally Open to the Public

New York City’s long-awaited Hudson Yards has finally opened its doors to the public for the first time. Built on Midtown Manhattan’s West Side, the project is New York’s largest development to date and the United States’ largest private real estate development, covering almost 14 acres of land (more than 56,000 sqm) with polished residential towers, offices, plazas, gardens, shopping centers, and restaurants, all designed by some of the world’s most iconic architects.

Aerial View of Hudson Yards. Image Courtesy of Related-OxfordCourtesy of Francis Dzikowski for Related-OxfordCourtesy of Francis Dzikowski for Related-OxfordVessel. Image Courtesy of Francis Dzikowski for Related-Oxford+ 27

AD Classics: Empire State Building / Shreve, Lamb and Harmon

This article was originally published on December 5, 2016. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.

Even in Manhattan—a sea of skyscrapers—the Empire State Building towers over its neighbours. Since its completion in 1931 it has been one of the most iconic architectural landmarks in the United States, standing as the tallest structure in the world until the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were constructed in Downtown Manhattan four decades later. Its construction in the early years of the Great Depression, employing thousands of workers and requiring vast material resources, was driven by more than commercial interest: the Empire State Building was to be a monument to the audacity of the United States of America, “a land which reached for the sky with its feet on the ground.”[1]

Image via Wikimedia (Public Domain). ImageLaying of the tower's foundationsThe pinnacle of the tower. Image © Wikimedia user David Corby (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)Image via Wikimedia (Public Domain). ImageUnder constructionImage via Wikimedia (Public Domain). ImageUnder construction+ 6

Docomomo Pens Letter In Response to the Planned Demolition of New York's Union Carbide Building

Following last week’s announcement of JPMorgan Chase’s plans to demolition the historically significant modernist masterwork 270 Park (formerly known as the Union Carbide Building), the US chapter of international non-profit Modernist architecture advocate Docomomo has penned a letter to New York City Landmarks Preservation Committee chair Meenakshi Srinivasan arguing for the structure’s preservation.

In the letter, Docomomo US President Theodore H.M. Prudon and Docomomo US NY/Tri-State President John Arbuckle highlight the structure’s critical acclaim and essential place within Modernist architectural history, urging the Commission to calendar the building for designation as quickly as possible.

Find the letter reprinted in full, below.

SOM's Iconic 270 Park Avenue At Risk of Becoming the Tallest Building Ever to Be Demolished

© Flickr <a href='http://https://www.flickr.com/photos/16801915@N06/8191438808/'>user Reading Tom</a>. Licensed under CC BY 2.0t
© Flickr user Reading Tom. Licensed under CC BY 2.0t

Just months after plans were announced for a major transformation of Philip Johnson’s AT&T Building at 550 Madison, another iconic midtown Manhattan skyscraper is at risk – and this time, it would mean the demolition of the entire building.

Designed by Natalie de Blois and Gordon Bunshaft of SOM and completed in 1961, 270 Park Avenue (formerly known as the Union Carbide Building) is considered a key example of the International Style in New York City that extended and even improved upon the precedent set by Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building.

But after new zoning legislation for the neighborhood was passed last year, the building’s current owner, JPMorgan Chase, has announced plans to raze the 707-foot-tall building in favor of a new, hi-tech supertall replacement. If plans go through, it would be the world’s largest and tallest building ever to be intentionally demolished.

How the MetLife Building Redefined Midtown Manhattan

Recently the subject of a competition to reimagine its expansive facade, the MetLife building is one of Manhattan's most noticeable - and hated - buildings. In this article originally published on 6sqft as "Great Game Changers: How the MetLife Building Redefined Midtown Architecture," Carter B Horsley tells the tale of how the building came to be.

Perhaps the most detested midtown skyscraper by the public, this huge tower has, nevertheless, always been a popular building with tenants for its prime location over Grand Central Terminal and its many views up and down Park Avenue. It is also one of the world’s finest examples of the Brutalist architecture, commendable for its robust form and excellent public spaces, as well as its excellent integration into the elevated arterial roads around it.

However, it is also immensely bulky and its height monstrous. As shown in the photograph ahead, the building completely dominates and overshadows the former New York Central Building immediately to the north, which had been designed by Warren & Wetmore as part of the “Terminal City” complex. The New York Central Building, now known as the Helmsley Building, straddled the avenue with remarkable grace and its distinguished pyramid. As one of the city’s very rare, “drive-through” buildings, it was the great centerpiece of Park Avenue. But by shrouding such a masterpiece in its shadows, quite literally, the Pan Am Building (today the MetLife building) desecrated a major icon of the city that will unfortunately will never recover from this contemptible slight on such a prominent site.

SHoP Architects' Super Tall Tower Approved, Sets Precedent for NYC

UPDATE: SHoP Architects' ultra-thin, 100-unit apartment tower has now won approval from the New York City Landmarks Commission. Once complete in 2016, the 1,350-foot structure will offer luxury apartments that peer down at the Empire State Building and rise just above the One World Trade Center’s roofline.

When Vishaan Chakrabarti, principal at ShoP Architects, spoke recently of building high-density cities, he meant it.

Renderings from the architecture firm show Manhattan's skyline will soon welcome its newest "super tall" building, a strikingly skinny residential tower rising 411 meters (1,350 feet) on a puny 13 meter (43 feet) wide site just two blocks south of Central Park.

© SHoP Architects© SHoP Architects© SHoP Architects© SHoP Architects+ 5