New York Architecture Images- notes
30 under 30 The Watch List of Future Landmarks
The 30 most significant buildings under 30 years old (the age needed for landmark status in New York).
Isamu Noguchi Garden
Isamu Noguchi and
Shoji Sadao
32-37 Vernon Boulevard
New York Public Library
South Court
Davis Brody Bond LLP
Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street
© Peter Aaron/ESTO
IBM Building
Edward Larrabee Barnes
590 Madison Avenue
Tracey Towers
Paul Rudolph with
Jerald L. Karlan
20, 40 West Mosholu
LVMH Tower
Christian de Portzamparc
& Hillier Architecture
19 East 57th Street
Trump Tower
Der Scutt with Swanke
Hayden Connell Architects
725 Fifth Avenue

Storefront for Art and
Steven Holl
97 Kenmare Street
Sea Park East Apartments
Hoberman & Wasserman
Surf Avenue at
West 27th Street

Scholastic Building
Aldo Rossi with Gensler
557 Broadway
AT&T/Sony Building
Philip Johnson/John Burgee
550 Madison Avenue

The New 42nd Street
Platt Byard Dovell
229 West 42nd Street
Citicorp Center
Hugh Stubbins &
Associates/Emery Roth &
153 East 53rd Street

Woodhull Medical and
Mental Health Center
Kallmann McKinnell & Wood
Architects, Inc.
760 Broadway at
Flushing Avenue
Roosevelt Island
Tram Station
Prentice & Chan, Ohlhausen
Second Avenue at
59th Street

173/176 Perry Street
Condominium Towers
Richard Meier
173/176 Perry Street
Taino Towers
Silverman & Cika
221 East 122nd Street

Alfred Lerner Hall
Bernard Tschumi/
Gruzen Samton
2920 Broadway
Korean Presbyterian
Church of New York
Greg Lynn FORM,
Garofalo Architects and
Michael McInturf Architects
43-05 37th Avenue
Sert, Jackson & Associates
510-580 Main Street
Roosevelt Island
Paul Rudolph Penthouse
Paul Rudolph
23 Beekman Place

AMNH Rose Center for
Earth and Space
Polshek Partnership
Central Park West at
81st Street
Austrian Cultural Forum
Raimund Abraham
11 East 52nd Street

Grace Building
and 9 West 57th Street
Skidmore, Owings &
Merrill LLP
1114 Sixth Avenue
John Burgee Architects
693 Fifth Avenue

American Folk Art Museum
Tod Williams Billie Tsien
Architects LLP
45 West 53rd Street
Firehouse for Engine Co.
233 & Ladder Co. 176
Eisenman Robertson
25 Rockaway Avenue

U.S. Armed Forces
Recruiting Station
Architecture Research
Office LLP (ARO)
Times Square
New York Times Printing
Polshek Partnership
26-50 Whitestone

New York Marriott Marquis
John C. Portman, Jr.
1531-1549 Broadway
9 West 57th Street
and Grace Building
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
9 West 57th Street

Waterside Plaza
Davis Brody & Associates
FDR Drive at 25th Street
30 Under 30: The Watch List of Future Landmarks

When, many years from now, we look back at the close of the 20th century, which buildings will we select to tell our story?

An independent jury appointed by the Municipal Art Society of New York has just released a list of 30 contemporary buildings that it believes to be potential future landmarks. 30 Under 30: The Watch List of Future Landmarks includes residential, cultural, religious and industrial buildings constructed between 1974 and 2004 (photos). The list begins chronologically with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's Grace Building and its sibling 9 West 57th Street, completed in 1974; and ends with Richard Meier's 173/176 Perry Street Condominium Towers, completed in 2002. Spearheaded by the Society's Kress Fellow for Historic Preservation, Vicki Weiner, work on the Watch List of Future Landmarks began shortly after Mr. Meier's 1977 Bronx Developmental Center disappeared under a radical alteration in 2002. Despite an international reputation as a late Modern masterpiece, the building was not yet 30 years old and therefore ineligible for landmark status and protection. The loss of the building served as a wake-up call for the Society to monitor -- watch -- these buildings today so they will survive long enough to help tell the story of the late 20th century.

Over 150 buildings were nominated to the Watch List by design professionals and the public. The jury used a set of established criteria to judge the buildings based on their artistic, technological, historical and canonic merits, and weighed the influence they had on design and culture in the city and worldwide. Sherida Paulsen, an architect who was chairman of the Landmarks Preservation Commission from 2001 to 2003, chaired the jury, which included: Paola Antonelli, a curator at the Department of Architecture and Design, MoMA; New York magazine architecture critic Joseph Giovannini; interior designer Kitty Hawks; Paul Makovsky, senior editor of Metropolis Magazine; architect Greg Pasquarelli of the firm SHoP; architectural historian Nina Rappaport; David Sokol, managing editor of I.D. Magazine; and Jacob Tilove, architectural historian at Robert A.M. Stern Architects.


In Preservation Wars, a Focus on Midcentury

Published: March 24, 2005

Arguing that significant buildings are not getting their due, advocates of midcentury architecture are stepping up pressure on the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission to hold full public hearings on proposals to raze two movie theaters on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Plans have been announced to convert Cinemas 1, 2 & 3, a 1962 International-style theater on Third Avenue across from Bloomingdale's, into retail space. The Beekman, a 1952 late Streamline Moderne design at Second Avenue and 66th Street, is to be replaced by a breast and diagnostic imaging center run by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The theater is scheduled to be closed down this summer. 

On another front, a lawsuit was filed against the city last week in New York State Supreme Court seeking to prevent reconstruction of 2 Columbus Circle into the Museum of Arts and Design. The marble-clad building with a "lollipop"-motif facade by Edward Durell Stone once housed Huntington Hartford's Gallery of Modern Art. The landmarks commission has never held a public hearing on the future of the building, on which demolition is expected to begin in late May. 

These two different battlefronts represent a larger argument on the part of preservationists that the commission has generally neglected postwar architecture and been unresponsive to their concerns about Modernist sites. 

"The commission ought to hear the arguments and let them be debated in a public forum - that's democracy," the architect Robert A. M. Stern, who is active in preservation issues, said in an interview. 

But Holly Hotchner, director of the museum going into 2 Columbus Circle, said, "There are no landmarks hearings on many buildings."

Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts, a group that is spearheading opposition to the alteration of the movie theaters, said in a statement: "These insensitive and destructive actions highlight the urgent need to protect the Modern architecture on the Upper East Side and across the city. The Landmarks Preservation Commission has designated some important Modern buildings, but most remain at risk."

John Jurayj, co-chairman of the Modern Architecture Working Group, an advocacy organization, said at a commission hearing last week on the Jamaica Savings Bank in Queens, itself an example of mid-20th-century architecture: "Modern preservation is in a major crisis in our city, a crisis that is shortly going to get worse unless the Landmarks Preservation Commission starts to act more aggressively." 

At the same meeting, Kate Wood, the executive director of Landmark West, a community group focused on preservation on the Upper West Side, reproved the commission for not putting the fate of 2 Columbus Circle before the public. "If the Landmarks Commission held a public hearing for 2 Columbus Circle, literally hundreds of people would attend and testify - both for and against designation," she said. "The question is, what more will it take?"

Diane Jackier, a spokeswoman for the commission, said: "All of the preservation advocacy groups say the commission is slow to respond. The commission balances the concerns of advocacy groups across the city with our own interests."

Robert B. Tierney, the commission's chairman, was traveling out of the country this week and unavailable for comment, Ms. Jackier said. 

To be sure, the commission's work has been hampered in part by a low annual budget - $3.5 million - and staff cuts over the past decade. The Modern Architecture Working Group acknowledges these handicaps but has urged the commission to step up designations of sites as landmarks. Last year, the commission designated 12 individual landmarks and 3 historic districts, which Ms. Jackier said amounted to a total of 220 buildings, compared with 25 individual landmarks and 2 districts amounting to 261 buildings in 2000. 

The group has also asked the commission not to give building owners too much advance notice of hearings on their landmarks. Otherwise, the preservationists argue, owners may pre-emptively alter the buildings. 

Preservationists had repeatedly asked for hearings on the 1961 Summit Hotel on Lexington Avenue and the 1949 Paterson Silks Building at Union Square, both designed by the Miami architect Morris Lapidus. Hearings were finally scheduled, but not until demolition had begun on the Silks Building.

The fight over 2 Columbus Circle has intensified since the city agreed to sell the nine-story building to the Museum of Arts and Design in June 2002, for $17 million. The museum, now on West 53rd Street, plans to reconstruct it for about $30 million according to a design by Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture. Construction is expected to begin by the middle of this year and to be completed in mid-2007.

Some call 2 Columbus Circle ugly and say they would just as soon see it go. But many Modernists argue that the 1964 building is an important example of postwar architecture. "It is a building that should be saved; it's still not too late," said Mr. Stern, the architect. "Under any definition of what a landmark is - culturally, physically and geographically - this is a landmark."

The lawsuit filed last week was brought by property owners in the Parc Vendome Condominiums near Columbus Circle and by Landmark West. It aims to block the sale on the grounds that it was conducted without due process in violation of the New York State Constitution, the New York City Charter, the General Municipal Law and New York's public trust doctrine. 

Ms. Hotchner said in an interview yesterday that the lawsuit "in no way affects our interest in going forward" with the museum and called it "an example of abuse of the legal system to subvert the public process."

Preservationists opposed to the building's renovation have already been to court on the project. Supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the plaintiffs challenged the environmental review of the project and the failure by the landmarks commission to hold a public hearing on it. 

In February, a five-judge panel of the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court unanimously upheld an earlier dismissal of that lawsuit.

Landmark West argues that its recent lawsuit would not have been necessary had the landmarks commission held a hearing as requested. "It's because they've refused to deal with this that we've had to resort to the courts," said Ms. Wood of Landmark West. 

The commission's designation committee has said that no public hearing was ever held because it determined in 1996 that landmark status was not warranted for 2 Columbus Circle. 

But several people who work in architecture or preservation have continued to appeal for a hearing, arguing that the commission was wrong to shut off public debate. 

Last October, in testimony before the City Council subcommittee responsible for landmark preservation, Beverly Moss Spatt, a former chairwoman of the commission, described the commission as "totally isolated and in total disregard for public opinions."

Anthony M. Tung, a former member of the commission, told the subcommittee that the public was "being barred in numerous improper ways from a process which the council in its wisdom designed to be open and participatory."

In November, a coalition of civic organizations produced a report, "Problems Experienced by Community Groups Working With the Landmarks Preservation Commission," that detailed their complaints and suggested areas for change.

Friends of the Upper East Side describes Cinemas 1, 2 & 3 as the first "piggyback" duplex movie theater in the United States - "a significant milestone in the development of movie theater design." 

The group cited the glass corner on East 66th Street and the ribbon windows on East 65th Street as examples of the International-style design "enlivened with a tilted glass facade and sloping streamlined lounge ceiling that refers stylistically back to the Moderne style of the 1930's." 

But it also noted that the theater had already undergone extensive alterations of its exterior, including the replacement of Venetian tiles with a white stucco wall. In addition, the Upper East Side group says, important artworks in the interior have been removed, including an abstract oil painting by the Russian-born artist Ilya Bolotowsky, a geometric mural by Sewell Sillman and copper leaf-shaped chandeliers from Denmark. 

Friends of the Upper East Side says the theaters are two of the few remaining art film houses in Manhattan. "We've lost almost all of them," said Seri Worden, the group's executive director.

Mr. Stern, the architect, said the issue was not merely the theaters' architectural value, but their contribution to the neighborhood's character. "They provide a layer of the past in relation to new things," he said.


How the Spirit of Ayn Rand Haunts the City

BY Julia Vitullo-Martin
March 24, 2005 

Ayn Rand's spirit seems to be returning to haunt us all, infusing downright bizarre criteria into today's increasingly heated debate over preserving modernist buildings. The preservationists, naturally enough, want to protect everything designed by the Howard Roark-style, celebrated modernist architects who argued they were erecting pure buildings in a compromising world. Buildings by original Bauhaus architects like Joseph Urban are on everyone's list, as are most buildings by Yale brutalist, Paul Rudolph.

But the preservationists are also lobbying to landmark buildings by the real life equivalents of Roark's protagonist, Peter Keating, whose mediocrity was rewarded by major design contracts while Roark was expelled from New York. Buildings by Philip Johnson, for example, often thought to be the model for Keating, are now showing up on most preservationist lists, even though almost no one would claim these buildings are illustrious. Since landmarking has the effect of rigidifying current use and preventing evolutionary change, New Yorkers need to pay close attention to this debate.

The Municipal Art Society's watch list of 30 Under 30 includes, for example, the egregious Marriott Marquis Hotel designed by John Portman, the immense IBM Building designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, and Philip Johnson's cathedral-size AT&T/Sony Building. Do New Yorkers really want these structures pre-empting all future uses? Are we confident enough of their merit to protect them into perpetuity? Will Walter Gropius's MetLife Building, looming over Grand Central Terminal, be next on the list of buildings to be protected?

The problem is that modernist architects espoused a good number of truly bad ideas, which are far more important than their familiar contempt for color and ornamentation. At its most fundamental, modernist architecture intended to break with the past, defy the streetscape, and rend the urban fabric. In urging that buildings be landmarked, preservationists are not merely advancing the benefits of modernism's clean, uncluttered lines. They argue the benefits of what are often modernism's depredations, such as the super block.

Of course, some of the debate will be settled by deterioration. As a Yale architectural historian, Vincent Scully, pointed out in 1999, modernists embraced an aesthetic of impermanence - with the result that most of their buildings will not survive because they were poorly built. Mies van der Rohe may have defined architecture as the will of an epoch translated into space, but much of that will is crumbling beneath its shoddy materials.

Many of the finest modernist buildings have already been landmarked. Joseph's Urban's sublime New School for Social Research, for example, on West 12th Street, is protected by an individual designation. Mayer, Whittlesley & Glass's Butterfield House, across the street, is protected by the overarching of the Greenwich Village Historic District. The best-known modernist buildings were designated when they became eligible. Gordon Bunshaft's 1952 Lever House on Park Avenue, for example, was designated a landmark in 1983, a year after eligibility.

Here are a few worthy, undesignated buildings for public discussion:

The Edgar J. Kaufmann Conference Rooms in the penthouse of 809 U.N. Plaza make up one of only three projects in the country designed by Alvar Aalto, the Finnish architect. The rooms were commissioned in 1963 by Edgar J. Kaufmann Jr., the first curator of industrial design at the Museum of Modern Art and the son of the couple who had commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. The rooms are a small masterpiece, notes a preservation advocate with the Preservation League of New York, Caroline Rob Zaleski. "Anywhere else in the world, these rooms would be a monument," she says.

The Tracey Towers Apartments at 40 West Mosholu Parkway in the Bedford Park section of the Bronx, designed by Paul Rudolph and Jerold Karlen, were built between 1967 and 1972. In these moderate-income apartment towers that opened in 1974, Rudolph deliberately mimicked the striated surface of the Art and Architecture Building he had designed for Yale. Somehow, though, they are far more pleasing. This is no minor matter since they were financed under the state's Mitchell-Lama program, which severely restricted "extras" in design and architecture in order to keep costs down for moderate-income households. A fellow with the Municipal Art Society, Vicki Weiner, notes that Rudolph successfully worked out the design problems of high-rise living in an urban neighborhood.

Citicorp Center at 153 E. 53rd St. in Midtown, designed by Hugh Stubbins and completed in 1977, was built during the fiscal crisis that nearly bankrupted New York. Though its engineering proved to be seriously flawed, its social mixture worked well: corporate offices above with St. Peter's Church and jazz center, a landscaped courtyard and galleria, and a beautifully constructed subway station below. An architect who also oversees the Web site, Tom Fletcher, calls the church "an anchor of serenity" and the building itself a "bold presence" that helped revitalize a tired commercial area.

The Asphalt Green Aqua Center at 1750 York Ave. was designed by Richard Dattner and completed in 1993. Asphalt Green is so much fun and would be instantly recognized if the landmarks commission had enjoyability as a criterion. The original Municipal Asphalt Plant, with its parabolic arch structure, was designed by Kahn & Jacobs and opened in 1944. In 1968, the city tried to demolish Asphalt Green, which Robert Moses had called "the most hideous waterfront structure ever inflicted on a city." Instead, it was reconfigured by Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum into a sports center that opened in 1982. After much neighborhood agitation, Asphalt Green and the sports center were redesigned into the current complex.

Like Asphalt Green, the city itself needs to adapt, preserving what's best and discarding what's not. Modernist buildings should be kept or rejected on their merits - not because they're symbols of their time, or because eminent architects designed them. Eminent modernists chose to slash New York's urban fabric with many of their buildings, only a few of which are worthy of the city they damaged.