Lipstick Building
885 Third Avenue (at 53rd Street)
New York City
NY 10022

Philip Johnson and John Burgee 1986

The Lipstick Building is Johnson's second postmodern contribution to the Manhattan skyline, following his nearby AT&T Building two years earlier. This time the unusual shape, which has given the building its nickname, was a requirement of the developer, to make the building stand out and compensate for the less fashionable location of Third Avenue. The elliptical shape also claims to make all the exterior offices "corner" offices.

Johnson has reportedly claimed that the oval shape and surrounding colonnade is reminiscent of Italian baroque architecture - though this is unlikely to be the first observation of a casual visitor.

The power of the distinctive shape, and indeed the temptation of it, can be seen most clearly from slightly further up Third Avenue, from where the Lipstick Building can be contrasted with its earlier neighbor, the aggressively square, modern and bleak Post Office building.

Simon Glynn 2004


How to visit

The Lipstick Building is on the east side of Third Avenue at 53rd Street. The lobby is open to the public.

Books and other web sites

Click the book title to view and to order direct from

The architecture of Philip Johnson
Philip Johnson, Richard Payne (Photographer), Hilary Lewis, Stephen Fox

The authorized and up-to-date account of Philip Johnson's wide-ranging and long-spanning architectural career

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