375 Park Avenue (at 53rd Street)
New York, NY 10152
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe,
with Philip Johnson (interiors) 1958
Much copied but
not matched, the Seagram Building is generally recognized as the finest
example of skyscrapers in the International Style.
Much of the
building's success comes from its elegant proportions, and its relation to
the overall site: the building is set back from the street by ninety feet,
and in from the side by thirty. The forecourt so created uses reflecting
pools and a low boundary wall in green marble to set off the building,
borrowing heavily from Mies' earlier Pavilion
in Barcelona (1929).
external faces are given their character by the quality of the materials
used - the tinted glass and the bronze 'I-beams' applied all the way up
the building. The Seagram Building is the first bronze-colored skyscraper.
Mies had first
used similar applied I-beams (but in steel) at his 1951 apartment towers
at Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, welded to the outside of the structural
aim was the stiffening of the frame of each bay, but more important was
the creation of a surface texture that relieved the potential monotony
of a smooth facade, while emphasizing the verticality of the overall
form. The architect later explained that he had used the device
primarily because, without it, the building simply "did not look
in Shaping a Nation, 1998
In this Mies was,
in the most subtle way, adding ornament to his building, for which he was
criticized by the Modernist purists.
Simon Glynn, 2001
How to visit
The building is
on the east side of Park Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Streets. It is open
to the public, with public spaces inside including the Four Seasons
Restaurant (designed by Philip Johnson) and the Seagram Gallery on the Fourth Floor.
conducted weekly, at 3 p.m. on Tuesdays. For further information and
opening times call +1 212 572 7000.
Subway: 6 to 51st Street; E or F
to Lexington Avenue.
Bus: M1, M2, M3, M4, M5, M101, M102 to 52nd Street.
Parking: On-site lot
The Seagram building is directly
across Park Avenue from Lever
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