Tag Archives: mies van der rohe

  • A Quick Round of Jenga in Midtown Manhattan

    Speaking about skyscrapers these days has become a race in superlatives. The huge buildings are constantly being ranked & compared in terms of their height, value, age or eco-efficiency. 270 Park Avenue, on first sight, might seem like a modest competitor in this arena. The skyscraper, which was completed in 1964, is by no means an insignificant dwarf. Its 52 floors are spread over a towering 705 ft (205 meters) in a Midcentury architectural style with a steel and glass façade. 270 Park Avenue’s claim to skyscraper superstardom is coming into fruition in an unexpected way. It will be the tallest building ever demolished when it is torn down later this year. It’s a rather strange record to set, but a new record nonetheless.

    The building, which is owned by J.P. Morgan Chase, serves as the bank's headquarters. Over the years, the tower has slowly become cramped, with 6,000 people occupying as space that was originally designed for 3,500. But thanks to a recent change in zoning laws in Midtown, Manhattan, the construction of much higher buildings than was previously permitted is now possible. This, of course has been music to J.P. Morgan Chase’s ears. The bank has chosen to keep its footprint and build a taller skyscraper after demolishing 270 Park Avenue.

    The architectural community and concerned citizens alike are criticizing the project to demolish 270 Park Avenue. Besides seeming like the building was injected into the present day from the Mad Men era, 270 Park Avenue is also the only building of this size that was planned by a woman: Architect Natalie De Blois. De Blois worked for the world-famous architecture firm "SOM" at the time it was built. The firm’s name has become ubiquitous when it comes to top projects throughout the city. Their most famous work is Mies van der Rohe's Lever House.

    The renowned architect Norman Foster has already signed on to build J.P. Morgan Chase’s new headquarters. The 70-storey high building will accommodate 15,000 employees. And just in case you're wondering how a building of this size will be demolished in the busy streets of Midtown, Manhattan, here’s a clue: Imagine taking apart a "Jenga" tower piece by piece from above. But hopefully nothing will topple over...