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News April 2013

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For the architectural theorists out there, this excerpt from Phyllis Lambert’s Building Seagram is for you. In this essay, entitled “Seagram: Union of Building and Landscape,” Lambert explores the origins of the great plaza in front of the Seagram Building at 375 Park Avenue, revisiting Mies van der Rohe’s first independently built work in Germany and parsing the theories of the revolutionary 19th-century architect and city planner Karl Friedrich Schinkel, who was a major influence for Mies. ... MORE

Earlier this year the New York City Board of Education issued a “request of expressions of interest” for the redevelopment of two school sites on the Upper West Side, one of which is the renegade Modernist Edward Durell Stone’s P.S. 199 at 270 West 70th Street. The Board is seeking a developer to purchase the site, demolish the existing building and build a mixed-use high-rise tower with a new school facility in its base. ... MORE

P.S. 199, 270 W 70th Street, Edward Durell Stone, 1960-1963. Photo: Ezra Stoller © ESTO

On April 4, the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation held its annual event to recognize outstanding preservation projects and the people behind them. This year’s awards include a wonderful mid-century Modern site, the Gores Pavilion, in New Canaan, CT, designed by Harvard Five architect Landis Gores in 1959. ... MORE

L to R, Bill Earls, project architect; Janet Lindstrom, Executive Director, New Canaan Historical Society; Helen Higgins, Executive Director, CT Trust for Historic Preservation and Tom Nissley, representing Friends of the Gores Pavilion.

Guest Commentary by Hicks Stone:
Since the early 1930s as modernism became ascendant in academic institutions around the United States, historical allusion and ornamental embellishment in architecture were viewed as inimical to the embrace of futurism and universality implicit in the modernist message. In the early 1950s Edward Durell Stone, who was one of the earliest practitioners of International Style modernism in the United States, began fusing classical ordering principles, Wrightian forms and ornamental patterning in his architectural designs....P.S. 199 was designed by Stone in 1960, and is emblematic of Stone’s desire to fuse classical ordering principles with the architectural vocabulary of Frank Lloyd Wright.... MORE

P.S. 199, 270 W 70th Street, Edward Durell Stone, 1960-1963. Photo: Ezra Stoller © ESTO

A late effort to designate the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hoffman Auto Showroom at 430 Park Avenue was quickly stopped when the interior was demolished last week. The showroom was vacated at the end of 2012 by Mercedes Benz Manhattan, the long-time leaseholder, which now occupies a large facility on 11th Avenue. ... MORE

A hearing was held on landmark designation of 140 Broadway, Gordon Bunshaft’s acclaimed minimalist tower in the Financial District, on April 2 at the Landmarks Preservation Commission. ... MORE

140 Broadway (Gordon Bunshaft/SOM, 1967) with Isamu Noguchi sculpture, "Cube." photo: Jan Martin