RCA Building (now GE Building)
30 Rockefeller Plaza (Fifth Avenue at 49th Street)
New York City

Raymond Hood and others 1950

The RCA building is the first, and the centerpiece, of 21 buildings that make up the Rockefeller Center between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, 48th and 51st Streets in midtown Manhattan.

70 stories high, the RCA building looks dramatically different whether seen end-on as an elegant, narrow shaft (east facade) as you approach down Rockefeller Plaza from Fifth Avenue, or side-on as a vast slab (south facade) as you look from neighboring skyscrapers further down on Sixth Avenue.

'As the first building erected, the RCA Building also set the architectural style to be followed by the others in the Center. Its imposing Indiana limestone walls are broken only by the windows and low-toned aluminum spandrels recessed from the slab, which create long vertical lines that extend unchecked from the flat roof, a design inspired by Hood's Daily News Building, which had also influenced the fenestration of the Empire State Building...

Three setbacks on the north and south walls step the building back from the east facade, reflecting the reduction of the number of elevator shafts within... The three setbacks on the east facade are functionally unnecessary, but they continue the setback lines of the north and south walls around the front of the tower slab, presenting a unified surface and a visually coherent exterior.'

Donald Martin Reynolds in The Architecture of New York City 1994


Simon Glynn 2001


How to visit

Approach from Fifth Avenue at 49th Street. The building is open during office hours. Comprehensive visitor information is at www.rockefellercenter.com. (On that web site the building has its current name, the GE Building.)

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