The latest news on New York architecture.

  • The Union Carbide Building at 270 Park Ave NYC to Be Demolished

    The Union Carbide Building at 270 Park Ave NYC to Be Demolished

    In recent years growth has been slowing down and businesses are leaving Midtown East. Many of the buildings there are considered inefficient, out of date and, until very recently, limited in how they could be updated or modified to contain more commercial office space. After several years of work by city planners, development experts, preservation professionals, and other stakeholders, new zoning has been approved for Midtown Manhattan, allowing for big changes.

    The Midtown East area is home to many large office buildings designed in the International Style, a type of modernist commercial architecture that was intended to support a socially progressive agenda of "better, cleaner, and more egalitarian" cities. The style is known for its lack of ornamentation and structural glass. One well-known building, the Union Carbide building owned by JP Morgan Chase Bank, is now scheduled to be demolished and rebuilt anew.

    In 2012 the Union Carbide building underwent a sustainability upgrade that gave it the highest LEED rating of any building to date. Despite the fact that this was the largest renovation ever to receive a platinum rating, JP Morgan Chase Bank is looking to increase the commercial office space available inside. The building currently has space for 6,000 employees, while the newly proposed building is said to include space for 15,000.

    There is debate among architects and preservationists whether this building, of the several in the International Style in the local area, is significant in the history of modernist architecture. It is the opinion of the stakeholders is that there are other buildings of modern architecture in this district that are more significant, and this building can be demolished so a taller building can be built in its place. Many argue that the demolition of this building is irresponsible, as it will be the largest voluntary building demolition in the world.

    The decision to demolish has been made, so the debate now for those involved will center around the unique challenges of demolition in a crowded urban space that is still an active commercial zone. There are issues of solid waste disposal and the potential for reuse of many of the structural building materials. New processes will need to be developed to safely bring down large areas of structural glass and steel. Hazardous materials that were standard for buildings in 1960 will need to be safely sequestered.

    This demolition will provide the construction industry a great deal of information on how to safely bring down the old skyscrapers, and how to manage the materials and solid waste that results.

    Part of the new zoning includes needed upgrades to transportation infrastructure and public spaces in the area. These upgrades will be included in the work JP Morgan Chase contracts when they design the new building.

    Can we work with you to develop plans for a historic preservation project? Please contact us for an appointment.

  • The Iconic Chrysler Building is Up for Sale

    The Iconic Chrysler Building is Up for Sale

    An Art Deco masterpiece that has defined the Manhattan skyline for nearly 90 years is going up for sale in 2019. Currently co-owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council and New York property developer, Tishman Speyer, the Chrysler Building is expected to sell for as much as one billion dollars.

    The Chrysler Building is the eighth tallest building in New York City standing at 77 floors. At the date of its completion in 1930, this structure was the tallest building in the world with a height of 1,046- feet, including the 197-foot spire. This claim to fame was short lived, however, when the Empire State Building topped out at 1,250-feet 11 months later.

    Here are a few facts you might not know about the Chrysler Building:

    • The iconic Chrysler Building is constructed of nearly four million hand-laid bricks
    • 3,862 windows offer city views from the historic structure
    • Nearly 30 tons of steel were used to erect the famous skyscraper
    • The lobby of the Chrysler Building features Moroccan marble walls and floors
    • The eagle gargoyles on the building are replicas of a real Chrysler hood ornament
    • An observation deck on the 71st floor was closed to the public in 1945
    • Renowned LIFE magazine photographer Margaret Bourke-White once lived on the 61st floor
    • The spire was installed one day before the infamous 1929 stock market crash
    • The ceiling mural in the lobby is called "Transport and Human Endeavor"
    • The mural was painted by notable New York artist, Edward Trumbull

    The last time the Chrysler Building sold it was for more than 800 million dollars. This time around, the Art Deco icon may sell for much more if the right investor can be found. NYC Realty Advisors president, Thomas Birnbaum, calls the building "an absolute trophy" even though it can't compete with amenities offered by more modern buildings in New York.

    At Scott Henson Architect we’re delighted to discuss the preservation and restoration of famous landmarks such as this and other amazing Manhattan properties. To know more, contact us.

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