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Metropolis’ Ten Buildings that Defined Modernism

May 29, 2019

Metropolis magazine takes a look at modernism across New York City’s five boroughs in this article by Samuel Medina. Iconic structures such as William Lescaze’s townhouse (William Lescaze, 1934), the first modernist house in New York City, and the Socony-Mobil Building (Harrison & Abramovitz, 1956), which was the largest air-conditioned building in the world when it was constructed are a sampling from the list.

John Arbuckle, DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State president noted, “One aspect of New York City’s Landmarks Law [enacted in 1965] that’s unusual is buildings needing to only be 30 years old instead of 50—the standard in the National Register and most municipalities. A lot of good stuff gets torn down in that 20-year gap.” Some of these buildings, although famed for their modern design, are threatened because they lack landmark status, such as the Universal Pictures Building (Kahn & Jacobs, 1947) on Park Avenue and 57th Street. As DOCOMOMO NY/Tri-State member Kyle Johnson, stated, “Universal Pictures is still hanging out there.”

“10 Buildings That Helped Define Modernism in New York City,” Metropolis, May 2, 2019.

Townhouse at 211 E. 48th St by William Lescaze, 1934. Photo by