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News November 2011

Kips Bay Towers OHNY event recap

November 21, 2011

On Sunday October 16, DOCOMOMO New York/Tri-State teamed up with Open House New York (OHNY) and the co-op board of Kips Bay Towers to host a tour event at Kips Bay Towers as part of the 9th Annual OHNY Weekend. This year’s event—DOCOMOMO’s third OHNY at Kips Bay—drew 115 people to the site for tours.

Kips Bay Towers is located between 30th and 33rd Streets and 1st and 2nd Avenues, and was designed by I.M. Pei between 1961 and 1963. The complex’s two 21-story concrete (poured-in-place and precast) towers are sited at the extreme northwest and southeast ends of the site and are separated by a three-acre park-like garden designed by landscape architect Leo Novick.

New York/Tri-State board secretary John Arbuckle organized the event and board members John Dixon, Kyle Johnson, Leslie Monsky and D’juro Villaran-Rokovich along with volunteers Julie Rosen, Phyllis Ross and Michelle Taylor, led tours of the grounds and distributed DOCOMOMO information to visitors. Architect Abby Suckle joined the team to present her renovation of the north tower’s new community room. The docents guided small groups of OHNY visitors through the garden while sharing information regarding the site’s history, planning and development; the key elements of the architectural design; the evolution of the site since its completion; Pei’s early use of an exposed concrete facade system and other unique features of Kips Bay Towers.

—Julie Rosen

Top: Kips Bay Towers, detail of structural concrete; middle: Façade viewed from garden between the towers; bottom: DOCOMOMO docent John Morris Dixon with tour guests, OHNY 2011. All photos © Diane Tepper