05
Jan
10

Seagram Building

In 1958, Mies van der Rohe designed what is often regarded as the pinnacle of the modernist high-rise architecture, the Seagram Building in New York City. Mies was chosen by the daughter of the client, Phyllis Bronfman Lambert, who has become a noted architectural figure and patron in her own right. The Seagram Building has become an icon of the growing power of that defining institution of the 20th century, the corporation. In a bold and innovative move, the architect chose to set the tower back from the property line to create a forecourt plaza and fountain on Park Avenue. Although now acclaimed and widely influential as an urban design feature, Mies had to convince Bronfman’s bankers that a taller tower with significant “unused” open space at ground level would enhance the presence and prestige of the building. Mies’ design included a bronze curtain wall with external H-shaped mullions that were exaggerated in depth beyond what is structurally necessary, touching off criticism by his detractors that Mies had committed Adolf Loos’s “crime of ornamentation”. Philip Johnson had a role in interior materials selections and he designed the sumptuous Four Seasons Restaurant which has endured un-remodeled to today. The Seagram Building is said to be an early example of the innovative “fast-track” construction process, where design documentation and construction are done concurrently.

Using the Seagram as a prototype, Mies’ office designed a number of modern high-rise office towers, notably the Chicago Federal Center, which includes the Dirksen and Kluczynski Federal Buildings and Post Office (1959) and the IBM Plaza in Chicago, the Westmount Square in Montreal and the Toronto-Dominion Centre in 1967. Each project applies the prototype rectangular form on stilts and ever-more refined enclosure wall systems, but each creates a unique set of exterior spaces that are an essential aspect of his creative efforts.

TD Centre towers frame CN Tower in Toronto.During 1951-1952, Mies’ designed the steel, glass and brick McCormick House, located in Elmhurst, Illinois (15 miles west of the Chicago Loop), for real-estate developer Robert Hall McCormick, Jr. A one story adaptation of the exterior curtain wall of his famous 860-880 Lake Shore Drive towers, it served as a prototype for an unbuilt series of speculative houses to be constructed in Melrose Park, Illinois. The house has been moved and reconfigured as a part of the public Elmhurst Art Museum.

referenced from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Mies_van_der_Rohe

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