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News November 2017

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Renovation planned for plaza of former McGraw Hill building on Sixth Avenue

November 20, 2017

Another Modernist plaza in Midtown is being reconsidered. The Rockefeller Group, owner of the former McGraw-Hill Building, and their architect, Italy-based Citterio-Viel & Partners, “have announced plans to raise the public clearing to ground level and knit the streetscape back together,” according to The Architect’s Newspaper. The plaza’s current arrangement, comprising a large sunken courtyard flanked by elevated terraces at the street level, is largely original to its 1969 construction, for which Wallace Harrison was the architect. Also original is the 50-foot tall stainless steel sculpture “Sun Triangle,” designed by futurist Athelstan Spilhaus. The building and its plaza not a designated Landmark. Located at 1221 Sixth Avenue among a succession of corporate towers with plazas, the courtyard will be filled in with two levels of retail and topped by open space. As a reference to the original design, the Citterio-Viel design includes a large circular opening at the center of the plaza. Two large banks of stairs—also in circular cut outs—would deliver pedestrians to the retail level below. It is not clear what will come of the sculpture that is there now. Rockefeller Group says it will wait until an anchor tenant has been secured before starting construction, which they estimate to be completed in 2019.

Rockefeller Center plaza is transformed by circular portals and raised streetscape in a new plan,” The Architect’s Newspaper: November 7, 2017

Top: McGraw-Hill plaza rendering courtesy of Citterio-Viel & Partners; Bottom: current image of the plaza with "Sun Triangle” sculpture designed Athelstan Spilhaus