News  2019

Demolition applications filed and approved for Union Carbide Building

On January 15 JPMorgan Chase filed an application for the full demolition of the former Union Carbide Building located at 270 Park Avenue, currently its headquarters. The application was approved, however the demolition permit has not been issued pending award of a contract for the work. Demolition of the 52-story, 707-ft building—the largest building ever to be intentionally demolished—is scheduled to begin in the early part of 2019.

Snøhetta unveils new design for Philip Johnson’s AT&T Building

After the architecture firm Snøhetta released renderings in late 2017 that showed the AT&T Building stripped of its Stony Creek granite skin at the lower levels a number of stakeholders came forward with concerns about the wholesale removal of the façade and other changes to Philip Johnson’s (1906–2005) icon of Postmodernism at 550 Madison Avenue. Since that time, LPC, the City Planning Commission, preservationists, architects, and community members weighed in generating two results: Official NYC landmarking of the 1984 building in late August and the development team and Snøhetta retooling its proposal.

NY State Pavilion awarded $16.5 million FEMA grant for repairs

New York State senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have announced that FEMA funding will be provided to the New York Office of Management and Budget to replace and repair the New York State Pavilion’s electric units at World’s Fair Park in Queens, which were damaged during Hurricane Sandy.

Frank Lloyd Wright buildings nomination resubmitted to UNESCO

Last November, the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy and participating sites completed a revised nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage List—The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. The submission includes a group of eight major works designed by Wright located across the country.

Lustron House in Closter, NJ reopened to the public

The Harold Hess Lustron House—a prefabricated 1,000-sq-foot house made of maize yellow enamel steel—opened to the public last month, four years after it was saved from the wrecking ball.

On alert: Brooklyn Heights Modern at risk

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle recently announced the news that the four-story, ribbon-windowed bank building at 200 Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights is being proposed for demolition. Designed by prolific architect Philip Birnbaum (1904-1988) in 1959–1960, with an addition in 1967–1968, the structure is a New York City-designated landmark as part of the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District. Any exterior changes, including demolition, must be approved by LPC.

William Conklin (1923–2018)—Butterfield House and much more

Architect William J. Conklin, who made significant contributions to the Modern architecture of New York and elsewhere, died on November 22 at the age of 95. He may not have gotten the recognition he deserved because he designed many projects as a member of the New York firm of Mayer Whittlesey & Glass. One of the earliest of these is the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Headquarters (1959), with its distinctive bronze and glass front on a thoroughly renovated West 14th Street commercial building.

The numerous multifamily residential projects he designed at the firm include Butterfield House (1962), a through-block complex that reconciles Modernist design principles with urban context by presenting subtly different faces to West 12th and West 13th Street, and The Premier (1963) on East 69th Street, where an extensive exposed concrete grid is filled in with a variety of wall treatments and recessed balconies.

Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) launches Center for the Preservation of Modernism

The Center for the Preservation of Modernism will open in Philadelphia this April at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University). The center will be a key facet of the school’s newly-launched master of science program in historic preservation and will be buoyed by the school’s recent purchase of the Hassrick House, a significant design by Richard Neutra (1892–1970) and an exemplar of midcentury modern architecture.