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News January 2019

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Snøhetta unveils new design for Philip Johnson’s AT&T Building

January 18, 2019

After the architecture firm Snøhetta released renderings in late 2017 that showed the AT&T Building stripped of its Stony Creek granite skin at the lower levels, a number of stakeholders came forward with concerns about the wholesale removal of the façade and other changes to Philip Johnson’s (1906–2005) icon of Postmodernism at 550 Madison Avenue. Since that time, LPC, the City Planning Commission, preservationists, architects, and community members weighed in generating two results: Official NYC landmarking of the 1984 building in late August and the development team and Snøhetta retooling its proposal.

The new design forgoes the  undulating glass curtain wall of the original proposal, retains the stone at the building’s base and 60-foot tall windows along Madison—all in an effort to better reflect character defining aspects of the Postmodern façade. However, along with concerns about the façade, preservationists and community members have continuing concerns over proposals to change usage of the privately-owned public space (POPS) at the ground level after the building’s lobby was razed earlier this year. The new design will now go under LPC and City Planning Commission review before the project can move forward.  

Just in: Snøhetta Unveils new Design Proposal for Philip Johnson’s AT&T Building,” Metropolis, December 4, 2018.

Snøhetta unveils new, ‘preservation-first’ design for 550 Madison revamp,”, December 4, 2018.

On February 12 LPC unanimously voted to approve Snøhetta’s revamped proposal for changes to 550 Madison Avenue with minor modifications. The Commission’s requests include assurances that the building’s materials remain uniform and alterations keep in line with the structure’s overall character. The most significant proposed change is to the privately-owned public space (POPS) at the ground level, which will be completely reworked and enclosed with a glass canopy. Plans call for the office tower to reopen in 2020.

LPC approves Snøhetta’s new design for 550 Madison Avenue,”, February 12, 2019.

Courtesy of LMNB & Snøhetta
Courtesy of LMNB & Snøhetta