Stone, Edward Durell

U.S. Embassy in New Delhi

Added by jon buono, last update: November 24, 2015, 6:18 pm

U.S. Embassy in New Delhi
Stone, Edward Durell. US Embassy in New Delhi. 1959. Columbia University, New York
Shantipath Chanakyapuri
New Delhi 110021
28° 35' 56.9112" N, 77° 10' 55.0344" E
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Public Services (PBS)
Secondary classification: Administration (ADM)
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):


History of Building/Site
Original Brief:

lanning of the embassy complex began in the early 1950s, with the allocation of a 28-acre site in the Chanakyapuri area of New Delhi. The complex includes the Chancery, the Roosevelt House, office space, and living accommodations. Construction began on September 1, 1956, when the Chief Justice of the United States, Earl Warren, laid the corner stone and expressed the hope that the structure would become “a temple of peace.” The building was formally opened on January 5, 1959 in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Dates: Commission / Completion:Start of work: 1956 (c) / Completion: 1959 (c)
Architectural and other Designer(s): Architect: Edward Durell Stone
Others associated with Building/Site: Mohan Singh, a patriarchal religious leader, and son, Daljit, Builders
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s): In the early 1980s, a concrete wall was constructed around the embassy complex in response to security threats against American embassies abroad.
Current Use: U.S. Embassy
Current Condition: Although still functioning as the U.S. Embassy, the complex has been allowed to fall into a state of disrepair and now appears somewhat dated. According to an article in the AIA Journal in 1989, “One gets the impression that those responsible for American missions abroad have lost interest in what was once considered an important architectural achievement and is still one of America’s best designed embassies.” The water garden pool needs cleaning, and the plants and shrubs are not manicured as they once were. The formerly golden columns have become dull and tarnished, and the edges of the roof show badly repaired bitumen patches.
General Description:

The two-story U.S. Embassy in New Delhi stands as an example of Indian-American collaboration in design and craftsmanship and is symbolic of the long friendship between India and the United States. In designing the Embassy complex, architect Edward Durell Stone combined elements of South Asian architecture with Western concepts. The overall design is reflective of a Greek or Indian temple. Rectangular in plan, the embassy rests atop a platform, under which is a parking garage and a service area. To its front, is a formal pool not unlike the one at the Taj Mahal. The embassy stands out as a smooth, white form against the water and sky. A ceremonial staircase is located directly in the center of the embassy and leads to an expansive marble colonnade. Slender, decorated steel columns (eight lengthwise and three widthwise) support the flat roof slab, which hangs over the structure to provide additional shade. Stone created a perforated screen with 6” cast blocks of white glazed terra cotta and/or concrete. The screen protects the double-hung glass from the blazing sun. The interior of the two-story building is open to an aquatic internal garden, which also acts as a means to further cool the building.

Living quarters for ambassadors and staff were built to the back of the embassy. The building is less ornate than the embassy, though borrows some of its central elements, such as an interior courtyard with pools, fountains, and perforated screens to protect from the blazing sun.

Construction Period:

The U.S. Embassy was built by hand, and is the result of a combination of Eastern and Western skills. The builders moved to the site with their families where they built straw matting houses; at one time, as many as 1800 Indians lived there, and during the four years of construction, dozens of children were born on the site. Its structural support is a reinforced concrete frame. The roof is supported by the steel columns.

Original Physical Context:

Occupying a prominent 28-acre site, the embassy was the first building of architectural distinction on Shantipath, the broad avenue that forms the central axis of New Delhi’s diplomatic quarter, and remains an important landmark today.

Technical Evaluation:

Much work was done by hand; the grillwork was cast in foot-square molds of concrete and marble aggregate, then finished and polished by hand. U.S. manufacturing techniques were applied locally for other items, such as teak woodwork, aluminum window sash, hardware, lighting fixtures and concrete piping. The result is a merger of the aesthetic styles and construction techniques of the cultures of the two countries.


In the late 1950s and early 1960s, relations between India and the United States were at an all-time high, with leaders in both countries (Nehru in India and Kennedy in the U.S.) who had an idealistic vision for the future that included cooperation and mutual interchange. Stone’s embassy complex sought to express the friendly relationship between the two countries, and ultimately stood as a symbol of the growing ties between the world’s largest democracies. At the embassy’s opening ceremony on January 5, 1959, Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker said, “To me, this building is symbolic of what can be achieved through the cooperation of our two countries. From beginning to end, it has been a joint venture.”

Cultural & Aesthetic:
he embassy blends elements of both Indian and Western architecture. The design for the chancery building was inspired by traditional Indian architecture. It was organized around a central courtyard and, like many major Mogul monuments, was designed as a pavilion on a raised podium using design strategies to protect the building from the harsh sun. Overhanging canopies were separated from the second-floor ceiling by an 18” gap that served as a breezeway to reduce air conditioning loads, and pierced screens were used to dissipate penetration of sunlight and reduce glare. At the dedication of the American Embassy on January 5, 1959, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru declared himself “enchanted by the building and impressed by its combination of Indian motifs and modern techniques.”

The American Embassy in New Delhi was the first project to be guided by a directive issued by the newly formed objective board, chosen by the Director of Foreign Building Operations to select architects for government buildings purely on the basis of performance. An excerpt from this directive said, “To the sensitive and imaginative designer it will be an invitation to give serious study to local conditions of climate and site, to understand and sympathize with local customs and people…yet he will not fear using new techniques or new materials should these constitute real advances in architectural thinking.” According to Edward Durell Stone in 1959, this principle of “empowering objective professionals to choose architects for government projects successfully removed architecture from politics for the first time.” Stone, one of the first Americans to “comprehend and practice in the modern movement of architecture,” also had, “the pose to appreciate the past of another culture…” He also had the audacity to break away from the traditional style of U.S. embassies, introducing the United States government, architects, and citizens to “the possibility of a new government style.” The embassy won the AIA’s First Honor Award in 1961.

General Assessment:
While Stone had faced criticism in the United States for his use of opulent materials and reintroducing ornamentation into modern architecture, the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi was embraced in India. However, this design captured the imagination of some of the most important cultural figures at the time, including Frank Lloyd Wright and Jacqueline Kennedy, the latter of which was so enamored with the building, that she selected him to design the Kennedy Center of Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Text references:

Embassy of the United States – New Delhi, India. U.S. Department of State, Web. Mar. 2004.
Gwertzman ,Bernard. “Diplomats on a War Footing to Guard Against Terrorism.” New York
Times 3 Dec. 1984.

Lewis, Michael J. “The World: About Face; Glass Walls to Bunkers: The New Look of U.S.
Embassies.” New York Times 27 July 2003.

“New public architecture; Edward Stone’s U.S. embassy in New Delhi.” Architectural Forum 110
(January 1959): 84-9.

Sabikhi, Ranjit. “Evaluation of a 50’s Landmark.” AIA Journal (January 1989).

Stone, Edward Durell. The Evolution of an Architect. New York: Horizon Press, 1962.

“U.S. Embassy for New Delhi.” Architectural Forum 102 (June 1955): 115-119.

“Work of Edward D. Stone: U.S. embassy group in New Delhi.” Architectural Record 125
(March 1959): 157-61.

Recorder/Date: Ashley Albahary / March 2010.
Audio and Video Web References

Depicted item: "New US Embassy in New Delhi, India 1959/1/8", source: United States Department of State, retrieved from YouTube. January 1959, accessed August 2010.

Edward Durell Stone Townhouse

Added by BBaccash, last update: March 14, 2012, 5:42 pm

Edward Durell Stone Townhouse
Exterior view, source: Benjamin Baccash, date: February 27th, 2009
130 East 64th St.
New York City, NY 10065-7307
United States
40° 45' 55.3896" N, 73° 57' 59.6196" W
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Residential (RES)
Secondary classification:
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):
History of Building/Site
Original Brief:

130 East 64th St. was built as a speculative rowhouse by Richard Hennessy in 1878.

Dates: Commission / Completion:Built in 1878, designed by James Edward Ware (1846 – 1918). Modern façade alteration done by Edward Durell Stone, architect and owner, 1956.
Architectural and other Designer(s): James Edward Ware (1846 – 1918) / Edward Durell Stone (1902 – 1978)
Others associated with Building/Site:
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s): In 1956, Edward Durell Stone completely changed the façade from its original neo-Grec style to its current modern style.
Current Use: Private residence of Andrew B. Cogan et al.
Current Condition: Having recently undergone an exterior restoration, 130 East 64th St. is in very good condition.
General Description:

130 East 64th St. is a hybrid. It has the bones of a nineteenth century row house with a mid-twentieth century skin. This townhouse, located on a mid-block lot, only shows its front façade to the street. It sits on a lot measuring 15’0” x 100’0”. The building is four stories tall and is built to the width of the lot. It is 65’0” deep. As it is set forward from its neighbors, the brick party walls of 130 East 64th St. jut out and are painted white. The façade of the building is dominated by a masonry screen which exhibits a pattern of circles and squares. The modern façade contrasts many of the other more traditionally styled buildings on the block.

Construction Period:

As a modified townhouse of the late-nineteenth century, 130 East 64th St. is constructed of brick party walls with wooden cross members at each floor. With Stone’s alteration, the original brownstone façade was removed and the building, which was originally set back from the front of the lot, was extended forward and refaced with plate glass. This glass, however, is not totally visible as a concrete block grille sits 12” in front of it.

Original Physical Context:

130 East 64th St. is located between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue in the Upper East Side of Manhattan in the City of New York in the State of New York in the United States of America. The Upper East Side of Manhattan is approximately bounded by 59th Street to the South, 100th Street to the North, 5th Avenue to the West and the East River to the East. The area is definable by its large stock of late nineteenth and early twentieth century row houses built in the name of speculation and apartment houses of the early and mid twentieth century. As the majority of the area was built as speculative developments, various styles are present according to their respective times of construction. The styles include, but are not limited to, the Italianate, neo-Grec, and Queen Anne. In the early twentieth century, many of these townhouses were subject to alterations, transforming them from their original style to the newly established neo-Renaissance and Beaux-Arts styles, like the neo-French Renaissance, neo-French Classic, and neo-Italian Renaissance styles popularized by the World Columbia Exposition in Chicago of 1893. Until the early twentieth century, the Upper East Side was characterized by the townhouse of various styles. With the advent of the taller luxury apartment building, the character began to change. These taller apartment buildings are often designed in similar style to the townhouses of the area. In the second half of the twentieth century, the construction of apartment buildings continued. However, these were built in a very different style and are visibly modern. This mixture of style and scale in addition to the Upper East Side’s history of alteration contribute to its fabric today. This mixture is present on East 64th Street between Lexington Avenue and Park Avenue, the block on which 130 East 64th St. is located.

Technical Evaluation:

Stone’s alteration to 130 East 64th St. relied on the extensive use of glass and the concrete block grille, two materials which were growing in popularity as part of the Modern Movement. In the late nineteenth century, steel frame construction enabled the increased use of glass as the load of a building was transferred to its structural members. As modernism developed in the twentieth century, daring architects began to incorporate glass extensively into their designs. For instance, the façade of Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion (1928) is almost completely glass. As a material, glass is desirable as a transparent barrier between the outdoors and the indoors. In this way, one gets the benefit, in part, of a solid wall while also experiencing the effect of no wall at all. Edward Durell Stone’s use of glass on the façade of 130 East 64th St. acknowledges these desirable qualities. At the same time, the use of the concrete screen provides a balance to the extreme visibility which glass creates. Concrete is a building material which was used as early as the Ancient Romans. For the Romans, concrete was desirable as a plastic material able to span considerable distances, thus able to create large public areas. As time progressed, concrete took on a partially aesthetic role. Load-bearing concrete masonry units were sometimes faced with different patterns to mimic stone. Edward Durell Stone’s use of the concrete grille, an element of the façade which is only self supporting, goes even further and uses concrete in an aesthetic fashion which does not mimic stone. Rather, it is formed into custom shapes and creates an elegant pattern of interlaced squares and circles. The concrete grille provides a sense of both solidity and void. Stone’s concrete grille in conjunction with his glass façade acts as a membrane between the private townhouse and the public street.


Today, 130 East 64th St. is definable by its concrete block grille façade, a combination of squares which intersect with circles. Stone saw this as a solution to the greater problem of city life. Cities, as densely populated areas, are associated with an inherent level of voyeurism and/or lack of privacy. While some take this as a fact of life, Stone sought to find a remedy. As an attendee of the Exposition des Arts Decoratif Industriels et Modernes in Paris, France in 1925, Stone developed the belief that architectural detail must be necessitated by a specific function. With this in mind, in designing the United States Embassy at New Delhi, India, Stone created a similar concrete screen to the one he would impose on his townhouse on the Upper East Side two years later. In the case of the Embassy, the concrete screen intended to shield the area behind from the strong Indian sun while allowing sufficient circulation of air, a design necessitated by the climate of New Delhi. In the case of his townhouse, the concrete block grille offered privacy to its inhabitants, his family, while also allowing them to see out. Interestingly, the same screen concept was able to rectify the problems of climate and city life, two problems which are inherently tied to the locations of the particular sites. The use of the masonry screen façade of 130 East 64th St. on Manhattan’s Upper East Side conveys Stone’s role as a functionalist modernist.

Cultural & Aesthetic:
130 East 64th St. stands out, literally. When Edward Durell Stone altered the nineteenth century structure, he extended the party walls and the façade forward several feet. It, too, stands out in terms of design. While we know the building is four stories tall, the only story which is clearly demarcated is the ground floor. The entry way is recessed, where a stoop once stood but which was removed before Stone came along. With the upper three floors disguised under a uniform screen and in conjunction with the narrow fifteen foot width of the building, 130 East 64th St. feels noticeably more vertical than its neighboring townhouses. The upper three floors of the townhouse are not discernible from one another. This is a result of the imposition of the concrete block grille. The concrete block grille comprises individual square masonry units which have four quarter-circles set about its four respective corners. The result of this, when used repetitively in a horizontal and vertical fashion, is a design of intersecting squares and circles with an organic feel. But Stone did not create the idea of the masonry screen, acknowledging himself that it was an ancient principle. Stone had traveled extensively through South America and was familiar with the Incan culture. His masonry screen is reminiscent of Incan tapestry. Frank Lloyd Wright, a colleague of Stone’s, was also familiar with ancient Meso-America and incorporated similar motifs in some of his work. Wright used a similar screen when designing La Miniatura in Pasadena, California in 1923. In fact, Stone kept many Incan artifacts he acquired throughout his travels in his townhouse. Stone’s masonry screen, in addition to his choice to set the façade forward, gives 130 East 64th St. an increased sense of geometry. By destroying the nineteenth century detail which was originally there, Stone has increased the planar nature of the generic townhouse form while also providing an interesting modern design. Stone’s design clearly contrasts much of the other buildings along East 64th Street and throughout the Upper East Side. In doing so, Stone’s alteration has contributed to the streetscape by diverging from the norm of revival style but adhering to the scale of the Upper East Side townhouse.

In 1878, 130 East 64th St. was built as one of a row of speculative houses designed by James Edward Ware for Richard Hennessy. This townhouse was of the neo-Greco style. Twenty-four years later, Edward Durell Stone was born. At the age of 23, Stone attended the Exposition des Arts Decoratif Industriels et Modernes in Paris, establishing his role as a modern functionalist. In the years following, Stone worked at various firms in New York City. He was licensed as an architect in 1933. In the years following, Edward Durell Stone would design the Museum of Modern Art with Philip Goodwin in New York City. In 1954, Stone designed the United States Embassy at New Delhi, India. Two years later, Stone bought an “old brownstone house in New York, undistinguishable and drab” (Stone, 141), as he described it, which he would later alter according to his functionalist beliefs. In 1956, this drastic alteration was completed, transforming what was a revival style townhouse into a seemingly modern building. Nine years later, in 1965, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, New York City’s official governmental body regulating the historic resources of the built environment, was created under Mayor Wagner. In 1978, Edward Durell Stone died at the age of 76. Three years later, in 1981, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated a portion of the Upper East Side as a historic district. This historic district included the 130 East 64th St. This is noteworthy; while lawfully the Landmarks Preservation Commission was able to include this structure as a contributor to its historic district on the basis that the structure itself was more than 30 years old, the Upper East Side Historic District designation protected a building which was visibly modern. In other words, had Stone completely demolished the 130 East 64th St. instead of merely altering its façade, it is likely that the building would have been considered a non-contributing member to the historic district, if it was included at all and would thus be unprotected. Six years later, in 1987, much of the façade’s grille work was removed due to its deteriorating condition. This was done with the permission of the Landmarks Preservation Commission on the basis that it would be replaced as soon as possible. After a lengthy delay, the restoration was finally completed in November 1998 by Stone Architecture LLC, an architectural firm founded by Stone's youngest son, Hicks Stone. Initially, Hicks Stone sought to remove the concrete block screen completely in order to allow the greater penetration of light to the interior. The Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected this proposal on the basis that this would be too drastic of a change. This rejection is noteworthy as it demonstrates the acknowledgment of Edward Durell Stone as a modernist architect whose work is worthy of protection and preservation. In 2006, the owner, Andrew B. Cogan donated a façade easement to the National Architectural Trust Inc., thus further protecting the façade from alterations.

General Assessment:
Text references:

Christopher Gray, “Edward Durell Stone and the Gallery of Modern Art, at 2 Columbus Circle; An Architect Who Looked Both Forward and Back “,The New York Times¸ October 27th, 2002.
Christopher Gray, “130 East 64th St.; The Mystery of Stone's Grille“, The New York Times: June 25th, 1989.
Elizabeth Hughes, “Second Generation”, House and Garden, February 2006.
Edward Durell Stone, The Evolution of an Architect, New York, Horizon Press, 1962.
New York City Department of Finance, Record for 130 East 64th St., Office of the City Registrar via ACRIS
New York City Department of Buildings , JOB # 101950284, via Building Information System (BIS)
Landmarks Preservation Commission, Upper East Side Historic District Designation Report, New York City, 1981.

Recorder/Date: Benjamin Baccash / March 2nd, 2009

Museum of Arts & Design

Added by John Fried, last update: August 31, 2012, 2:26 pm

Museum of Arts & Design
2 Columbus Circle
New York, NY
United States
40° 46' 10.3008" N, 73° 59' 5.3232" W
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Education (EDC)
Secondary classification:
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):
History of Building/Site
Original Brief:

Commission Brief: Huntington Hartford, the A&P heir, commissioned Edward Durell Stone & Associates as architects.

Design Brief: Stone planned a ten-story marble showcase for the visual arts. The façade was to be made of soft white or off-white marble to match the Coliseum, which was diagonally west across Columbus Circle. The building was to be supported on a Venetian-style arcade, later dubbed “lollipop columns.” The building was to have cutout porthole shapes in the façade to give museum patrons a view of Central Park. According to Stone, the building would have ample fenestration in its marble sides, so that vistas of Columbus Circle and Central Park could refresh the gallery visitor. Stone's renderings showed the building festooned with long, hanging vines or plants and surrounded by thick trees. None of those additions were in the final plan. The building would rise 150 feet with no setbacks. It would be the first vertical-type building to be used as an art museum. The building would have a system of descending galleries, which would be similar to Frank Lloyd Wright's plan for the Guggenheim Museum, then under construction.

Dates: Commission / Completion:1958 / 1964
Architectural and other Designer(s): Edward Durell Stone & Associates. Stone's first major work, designed in the starkly functional International style in collaboration with Philip L. Goodwin, was the Museum of Modern Art, in New York City (1937–39). Stone, whose style became more ornate and embellished in the 1950s, won renown for his design of the American Embassy at New Delhi (1958). In that building he introduced traditional Muslim motifs, including lace grille patterns. Stone subsequently applied grillwork to many of his buildings, including the U.S. Pavilion for the Brussels World's Fair (1958) and the Gallery of Modern Art (1964). Among his later works are the Amarillo Fine Arts Museum (1969), the University of Alabama Law School (1970), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. (1971), and the Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula, Carmel, California. Landscape/Garden Designer: None. Lighting Designer: Abe Feder Structural Engineer: Severud-Elstad-Krueger Associates Mechanical Engineer: Peter Bruder Building Contractor: William L. Crow
Others associated with Building/Site: In 1969, Hartford gave the building to Fairleigh Dickinson University (“FDU”), which operated it until 1975 as the New York Cultural Center. The Center had a short, brilliant life under the directorship of Donald Karshan, and then Mario Amaya. The Center mounted 150 different shows, attracting large crowds, but it also ran up big, unrecoverable costs, which caused the Center to close in 1975 and be put up for sale. A year later, Gulf & Western Industries, Inc., with its headquarters across Columbus Circle, bought the building as a gift to the City of New York, intending that it be a visitors center and headquarters for the Cultural Affairs Department. In 1981, the City Gallery, in its new home in the building, presented its first exhibit. In 2000, the City of New York put the building up for sale. In 2002, the City announced its intention to sell the building to the American Craft Museum, now at 40 West 53rd Street. The price eventually would be $17,050,000. The American Craft Museum plans to spend at least $30 million to renovate the building as its new home, to be called the Museum of Arts and Design. Galleries will be used again for art, the underground auditorium for performances and the penthouse restaurant for dining. Thereafter, leading preservation organizations, including the Municipal Art Society, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, the Historic Districts Council and Landmark West, tried to get the Landmarks Preservation Commission (“LPC”) to hold a hearing for the purpose of designating the building as a protected landmark. These organizations called in supporters, among them the architect and historian Robert A. M. Stern, the Dean of Yale’s Architectural School, who called the building ''arresting and delightful'' and added that ''although it may seem out of fashion, that does not mean that it is trivial.'' The LPC declined to hold such a hearing. In 2003, Portland-based architect Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture was hired by the Museum of Arts and Design to revamp the nine-story building. His $30-million design removes virtually all of Stone's distinctive features, the white marble cladding, the corner porthole windows, the decorative arcade at street level and the upper loggia, and it sheaths the building in white, mesh-like terra-cotta panels and various types of glass. The new glass exterior will be covered with scrim-like, "woven" white terra-cotta panels that appear solid but allow light to pass through; thin vertical slices will give the building a sense of translucency. Glass columns, in which works will be displayed, will run through the 10-story building; in several places, the columns will abut the building's exterior, making the objects appear to be part of the façade. Though the model of the new design reads as a blank white monolith, narrow slit-like windows will open the walls up to views of Central Park and the surrounding neighborhood. Later in 2003, DOCOMOMO/New York Tri-State joined other New York civic groups, the National Trust, architectural historian Barry Bergdoll, author Tom Wolfe, Robert A.M. Stern, and others to support the effort of the Preservation League of New York State to obtain landmark status for the building. These groups objected to the museum's plan to remove Stone’s modernist facade. Hicks Stone, an architect in New York and one of Edward Durell Stone's sons, said that, although his father was never part of the preservation establishment, ''he would have been very grateful for the renewed interest in architectural history.'' In contrast with his father, he said, he is not keen on historic styles. “I love modern work,'' he said. ''I prefer looking forward to looking back.'' In 2004, a state supreme court judge dismissed a challenge by three preservation groups that hoped to block the sale of the vacant city-owned building to the American Craft Museum. The court decided that city and state agencies had not exceeded their power when they decided that the 40-year-old building was ''not worthy of preservation in its present form.'' A state appellate court affirmed that decision in 2005.
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s): According to Mr. Cloepfil, the biggest difference between the old and the new building will be the light. Rooms that were once dim and subdivided will now be wide open and full of sun. Slices into the once-opaque facade will open views of Central Park to the north and the Hudson River to the west. Otherwise, the exterior will be left largely intact, except for the cuts and a new cladding in iridescent white terra cotta that will be installed. All but one of the street-level lollipop shapes columns will survive, in part because they are part of the structural supports for the building. The lollipops, however, will now be behind glass, since the lobby will extend toward the sidewalk. The building's signature portholes will be eliminated, along with Stone's Venetian-style loggia. The new building’s interior will feature reconfigured galleries, a restored auditorium, and hands-on educational spaces accessed by a new stair and elevator core. New public amenities at the ground floor orient visitors and embrace the surrounding streetscape. From the outside, a custom skin of glazed terra cotta unifies the four facades while bringing new light and energy to the building interior.
Current Use: Houses the Museum of Arts & Design.
Current Condition: The exterior and interior of the building have received substantial alterations. Condition of current structure is good.
General Description:

At the ground floor of the building were short, stubby support columns, each with a circular capital. These columns formed an arcade at the base of the building. The front-facing curved façade of the building, a Venetian-inspired vertical palazzo, was perforated with porthole-like openings at the corners, base and crown. The top two floors, where the restaurant was located behind a loggia, opened to a view of Central Park. Ada Louise Huxtable of the New York Times likened the overall effect to a “die-cut Venetian palazzo on lollipops,” Olga Gueft of Interiors said that the building's “red-granite-trimmed, green-marble-lined colonnades, these rows of portholes like borders of eyelet hand-embroidered on a marble christening robe are too winsome for heavyweight criticism.” The stair gallery inside the building wrapped around a core. Filtered natural light was introduced through the perforations at the corners, which opened small glimpses of Central Park without distracting the viewer from the art. The lobby floor was paved in terrazzo, into which were set the discs that had been cut out of the marble when the exterior arches were formed. The interior walls of the museum were paneled with walnut and other hardwoods. The floors were thickly carpeted or elaborately finished in parquet de Versailles and marble. A pipe organ was included in one of the double-height galleries. Though Hartford's collection did not include any paintings by Gauguin, the ninth-floor Polynesian restaurant, the Gauguin Room, included a tapestry based on one of the French master's paintings.

Construction Period:

The building would be constructed of reinforced concrete over which would be a skin of white Vermont marble, veined with gold and gray. In an apparent change of the original design to have ample windows in the marble façade of the building, during construction the windows were reduced to a minimum, limited to the periphery of the façade, and placed behind decorative pierced marble, similar to the concrete grill work that Stone used for the American Embassy in New Delhi, India. According to Ada Louise Huxtable, art and architecture critic of the New York Times, "[t]he arcades and framing filigree that are Edward's Stone's increasingly insistent trademark will make his Gallery of Modern Art an effective architectural billboard before the visitor enters."

Original Physical Context:

Columbus Circle is a small, trapezoidal lot on the south side of Columbus Circle in Manhattan, New York City, USA. The seven-story Pabst Grand Circle Hotel, designed by William H. Cauvet, stood at this address from 1874 until it was demolished in 1960.

Technical Evaluation:

At the confluence of Broadway and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan, on the southern circumference of Columbus Circle, and directly across 59th Street from Central Park, Stone’s building was a unique example of post-World War II modern architecture, and it was a foil to the recently constructed immense glass façade of the new Time Warner building, on the west circumference of Columbus Circle. The location of the building at this important traffic hub required that its front-facing façade be curved to match Columbus Circle. The lollipop columns of this Venetian-inspired building, which were placed close to the curved curb line of the street, gave the impression that gondolas, instead of cars, should drift past them. The motif of the circular “lollipops” was carried up the sides on the building as small port hole type windows, which admitted some light into the building, but were not large enough to permit the vistas of Central Part to distract museum-goers from the art inside. Although architects and architectural historians were sharply divided as to whether the building merited landmark status, which eventually was denied, the marble-faced building was unique in its design and, with its alteration, is not likely to be used as an inspiration for future structures.


Huntington Hartford conceived of the Gallery of Modern Art as a museum for contemporary art that would reject exhibitions of modern abstract act, which was then being embraced by the Museum of Modern Art (“MoMA”). To help achieve that plan, Hartford selected Edward Durell Stone as the architect for the project. Ironically, in 1939, Stone, along with Phillip Goodwin, had been the architects of the MoMA building on 53rd Street. At its location at Columbus Circle, the museum would be the most accessible in Manhattan by subway and bus.

Cultural & Aesthetic:
Stone’s plan for the Gallery of Modern Art called for a 10-story, high-rise museum, as opposed to the more traditional horizontal museums, like MoMA. The marble façade of the building was intended to give the building a monumental appearance, with traditional Venetian motifs and modern columns with circular capitals. Stone sought to design a permanent building, as opposed to a mannered piece of architecture, that would stand for generations to come.

The initial reception for the building was favorable. According to the New York Times art and architecture critic, in 1964, Columbus Circle was a sordid and dismembered open space. Ms. Huxtable characterized the new building for the museum as resembling a “dye-cut Venetian palazzo on lollipops. It begs for a canal or garden setting, rather than the dusty disorder of a New York traffic circle. Its effect, which now borders on poetic grotesquerie, will be vastly improved if the architect’s sympathetic design of the circle is carried out by the city.” Over time, however, the building was abandoned, first by Hartford and then by Fairleigh Dickinson University. Although the City of New York later acquired the building as the headquarters for its Cultural Affairs Department, even the City abandoned the building, such that, in 2002, David W. Dunlap of the New York Times characterized the building “as an abandoned work of romantic modernism that has irritated and amused New Yorkers for 30 years." In 2004, the same Ms. Huxtable who, in 1964 for the New York Times, had praised the building, albeit faintly, now criticized preservationists’ efforts to landmark what she called “this derelict little building.” Now writing for The Wall Street Journal, Ms. Huxtable wrote, “I have been watching, with wonder and disbelief, the beatification of 2 Columbus Circle, ne the Huntington Hartford Museum, a k a the lollipop building (so-named, for better or worse, by me). This small oddity of dubious architectural distinction, designed by Edward Durell Stone, has been elevated to masterpiece status and cosmic significance by a campaign to save its marginally important, mildly eccentric, and badly deteriorated façade—a campaign that has escalated into a win-at-any-cost-and-by-any-means vendetta in the name of ‘preservation.’” The façade of the building, now condemned by the wrecking ball, will probably have no appreciable impact on the work of other architects. The building did not contribute to establish any new architectural principles.

General Assessment:
The Gallery of Modern Art, when conceived by Huntington Hartford and designed by Edward Durell Stone in the late 1950s, was unique as an art museum due to its vertical design. As of 1958, for the gallery interior, Stone was exploring a scheme for having stairways along the walls of the building, leading to a descending system of galleries. This system would enable visitors to take an elevator to the top of the building and then descend several feet by stairway onto a landing gallery. After viewing that gallery, the visitor would take another stairway to the gallery below and so on. This scheme for the display of art in the building was similar to what Frank Lloyd Wright had designed for The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
Text references:

Allied Works Architecture web site, http.//

“Architect Picked for Art Museum.” 1958. New York Times, May 18, Late Edition (East Coast). (accessed February 9, 2008).

Automated City Register Information System ("ACRIS"), N.Y.C. Department of Finance,

Barron, James, (NYT), Compiled by Anthony Ramirez. 2004. Metro Briefing New York: Manhattan: Sale Of 2 Columbus Circle Advances. New York Times, April 16, Late Edition (East Coast). (accessed February 9, 2008).

Cash, Stephanie 2003. “Facelift for Two Columbus Circle.” Art in America, June 1, (accessed February 9, 2008).
Cash, Stephanie 2005. “Two Columbus Circle Battle Continues.” Art in America, November 1, 39. (accessed February 9, 2008).

“Columbus Circle Plan OK.” 2005. Art in America, April 1, 45,47. (accessed February 9, 2008).

DOCOMONO US Newsletter, Winter 2003, page 6.

Dunlap, David W. 2002. “2 Columbus Circle Will Be a Museum Again.” New York Times, June 21, Late Edition (East Coast). (accessed February 9, 2008).

Dunlap, David W. 2005. “Museum Wins a Court Battle On Columbus Circle Renovation.” New York Times, February 25, Late Edition (East Coast). (accessed February 9, 2008).

Dunlap, David W. "A Museum Clad in Billboards? The Critics Are Not Pleased." New York Times, April 8, 2006, Late Edition (East Coast), (accessed February 9, 2008).

Dunlap, David W. 2006. “Big 'Da Vinci Code' Billboard Removed at Columbus Circle.” New York Times, April 15, Late Edition (East Coast). (accessed February 9, 2008).

Gleuck, Grace 1981. “Art: Working Process at Columbus Circle.” New York Times, April 17, Late Edition (East Coast). (accessed February 9, 2008).

Horsley, Carter B. "Plots & Plans: The Unofficial Landmark Rape of 2 Columbus Circle,"

Huxtable, Ada Louise 1960. “What Should a Museum Be?” New York Times, May 8, Late Edition (East Coast). (accessed February 9, 2008).

Huxtable, Ada Louise 1963. “Architecture Stumbles On.” New York Times, April 14, Late Edition (East Coast). (accessed February 9, 2008).

In the Matter of Landmark West! v. Burden, 3 Misc3d 1102(A), 787 N.Y.S.2d 678, 2004 WL 913217 *9 (Sup. Ct., New York Co. April 15, 2004).

In re Landmark West! v. Burden, 15 A.D.3d 308, 790 N.Y.S.2d 107 (1st Dep't 2005).

Kimmelman, Michael 1997. “An Old Dream For the Arts, A New Chance For the City.” New York Times, February 15, Late Edition (East Coast). (accessed February 9, 2008).

Knox, Sanks 1956. “Art Museum at Columbus Circle Planned by Huntington Hartford.” New York Times, June 11, Late Edition (East Coast). (accessed February 9, 2008).

Knox, Sanks 1959. “Hartford Tells of New Museum.” New York Times, June 14, Late Edition (East Coast). (accessed February 9, 2008).

Knox, Sanks 1962. “Art Museum Makes Slow Progress.” New York Times, January 31, Late Edition (East Coast). (accessed February 9, 2008).

New York Architectural Images – Midtown Website, 2 Columbus Circle,

Pogrebin, Robin 2007. “Renovation Slowly Adds Some Light To Lollipops.” New York Times, June 5, Late Edition (East Coast). (accessed February 9, 2008).

Recorder/Date: John Fried, March 6, 2008
Additional Images
Museum of Arts & Design

Two Columbus Circle

Added by admin, last update: August 17, 2012, 1:22 pm

Two Columbus Circle
2 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
United States
40° 46' 2.6688" N, 73° 58' 54.9624" W
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Commercial (COM)
Secondary classification:
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):
History of Building/Site
Original Brief:
Dates: Commission / Completion:1956/1964
Architectural and other Designer(s): Edward Durell Stone, architect Abe Feder, lighting designer
Others associated with Building/Site: Severud-Elstad-Krueger Associates, structural engineer Peter Bruder, mechanical engineer William L. Crow Company, contractor
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s):
Current Use: vacant
Current Condition: 2006 - the building is currently undergoing extensive alterations of its interior and exterior in anticipation for its re-opening as a new museum.
General Description:

Two Columbus Circle is a freestanding ten-story reinforced-concrete structure. The height of the nine stories plus mechanical penthouse is 158 feet. The total gross floor area of the building is 54,000 square feet. At ground level, on all four façades, a colonnade of geometrically shaped curved precast concrete panels is inset with ovals of polished red granite veneer panels. Seven columns follow the curve of Columbus Circle, four columns follow in a straight line along Eighth Avenue, nine columns follow the straight line of West 58th Street, and seven columns follow the angle of Broadway. There is a loading dock between the sixth column and the seventh column and a bronze door of a fire stair exit between the third and fourth column on the West 58th Street side (counting from Eighth Avenue). The colonnade surrounds, in parallel fashion, a recessed lobby with plate glass walls with bronze mullions. This glass wall continues for two column bays on the east, all six bays on the north and two column bays on the west sides. Two glass and bronze revolving doors, which provide entrance from Columbus Circle, are set symmetrically to either side of the center point of the concave north glass wall. The rest of the exterior ground level walls are clad in bookmatched Verde marble veneer. There is a subway entrance on West 58th Street at Eighth Avenue, just outside the building line on the southwest corner of the block. The same façade material, bookmatched Verde marble veneer, is intact on the stairwell walls leading down from this entrance to the station’s mezzanine. The railing for this subway entrance, a version of the Transit Authority’s “KS1” railing of the early sixties, was custom crafted in bronze with a Verde marble base and featured the same circular design motif as other railings on the building. This railing has been removed and replaced by plywood.

The upper story walls are constructed of two inch thick grey-veined white Vermont Imperial Darby marble veneer panels set on concrete back-up which in turn are supported on stainless-steel shelf angles. An open arcade at the eighth and ninth floors at the center of each façade consists of a modern interpretation of a Venetian arcade, with terraces behind the arcades wrapping around these floor levels. Along the north terrace a wall of fenestration affords views overlooking Columbus Circle. The terrace provides direct views north up Broadway and of the southeast corner of Central Park. The tenth floor is a mechanical penthouse set back from the principal façade the same distance as the ground floor lobby. This penthouse is also clad in Vermont Imperial Darby marble.

The building is distinguished by bands of pierced White Vermont Imperial Darby marble panels. These pierced panels contain four ‘portholes’ each. Each porthole measures twelve inches in diameter. A double set of pierced panels are grouped vertically at the corner of each façade and two triple sets on the central portion of the south façade. A single set of panels just above the ground floor colonnade runs horizontally and a quadruple set runs horizontal as well between the upper arcade and roof parapet. A large portion of these 1,472 ‘portholes’ are glazed, which bring natural light to the interior. Others are filled with recessed circles of red granite. From the exterior, both glazed and filled ‘portholes’ give the appearance of consistent opaqueness.

In plan Two Columbus Circle follows the shape of the plot, reinforcing the ‘street wall’. This aspect of the design is especially notable in the concave north façade which follows the curve of the circle on a 217-degree radius.

Before dismantling, the façade materials of Two Columbus Circle were intact and completely original. Many of the marble panels are sound; others were in a deteriorated condition. This deterioration of some of the marble façade panels due to weathering and neglect could have been mediated by the application of contemporary preservation techniques.

Construction Period:
Original Physical Context:

Columbus Circle is a landscaped multi-lane traffic rotary. Broadway, Eighth Avenue, and Central Park South (West 59th Street) all converge on Columbus Circle. It is the point where - the commercial office and theater districts of Midtown to the south, the high-density residential Upper West Side to the north and west, the hotel and luxury apartment district of Central Park South to the east, and Central Park to the northeast - come together. The building, because of its size, shape and façade material, is prominent on its site.

Directly to the south of Two Columbus Circle, across West 58th is a dark brick, twenty-six story office tower, formerly known as the General Motors Building. To the west is a mixed-use complex known as the Time Warner Center which consists of a curving base clad in grey granite and glass containing an indoor shopping center topped by twin dark reflective glass clad seventy-five story towers containing offices, apartments and a hotel. Until the completion of this complex, Two Columbus Circle was the sole building built in the post-Second World War era whose façade followed the curve of the Circle. To the north across the Circle is a forty-four story bronze glass clad hotel/apartment tower, the Trump International Hotel and Towers. To the northeast is the Merchants Gate of Central Par marked by the Maine Monument. To the east is a buff-brick clad high-rise apartment complex, 240 Central Park South (New York City Landmark), which contains shops at its base directly across Broadway from Two Columbus Circle. To the southeast is the twenty-story limestone clad U.S. Rubber Building. At the center of Columbus Circle, directly to the north of Two Columbus Circle, surrounded by fountains, is a 80 foot column topped by a statue of Christopher Columbus.

Technical Evaluation:

The roughly trapezium shaped plot of Two Columbus Circle is bounded by Columbus Circle on the north, Broadway on the east, West 58th Street on the south, and Eighth Avenue on the West. The building’s footprint totals 4,600 square feet. The building occupies the entire lot. In plan Two Columbus Circle follows the shape of the plot, reinforcing the ‘street wall’. This aspect of the design is especially notable in the concave north façade which follows the curve of the circle on a 217-degree radius.

On a tiny, irregular island site “a miracle was needed to get an orderly, spacious gallery area”, said Stone. His solution was a series of galleries, arranged on landings like a grand staircase which spiral around the building’s central core. The arrangement of a stair gallery wrapping around a central core was similar to that proposed almost thirty years before by Howe & Lescaze’s Scheme Six proposal for the Museum of Modern Art in 1931. New York Times art critic John Canaday found that this arrangement “under New York’s building code, demanded so much elevator and stairway space that the exhibition galleries were reduced to boutiques, clustered around palatial escape routes.” Stone had solved the ‘insurmountable’ gallery requirements on a cramped site with masterful grace, hoisting visitors up by elevator and sending them down via galleries which are partially distributed on stair landings, one of which achieves grandiloquent height”, said critic Olga Gueft. Filtered natural light is introduced through glazed perforations at the corners, a technique which prevented deterioration of art work by filtering ultra-violet radiation. These perforations act as ‘portholes’ providing tantalizing glimpses of Central Park without distracting viewers from the art. By arranging the fenestration in the corners of Two Columbus Circle, architect Edward Durell Stone solved the dilemma of maximizing uninterrupted wall space for mounting exhibitions in a building of modest dimensions.


Speaking of the character and atmosphere of the gallery spaces Stone said: “The old monumental repositories had long since gone, replaced by the dramatic white, austere, brilliantly-illuminated areas, a tradition of the thirties. Yet, I have long felt that one of the objectives of a museum should be to make the visitor aspire to have original works of art in his home. With this in mind the galleries were given warm, rich materials and comfortable furniture. In such surroundings it is not difficult to project works of art into your own environment.” With wall to wall carpeting, parquet, and walls sheathed in wood and linen the galleries looked less like a museum than a home. Stone encouraged visitors to relax, rendezvous, and enjoy the glamour-studded openings. For Huntington Hartford’s trend-defying art collection Stone produced a site-defying building with disarming interiors. In addition, the architectural detailing of Two Columbus Circle had an easy and lighthearted feel. The circle motif was used extensively, from the porthole windows to the sidewalk paving. Inside, grilles, lighting fixtures and railings picked up the form. Even the railing for the subway entrance at 58th Street was custom cast in bronze to incorporate the motif.

Cultural & Aesthetic:
Edward Durell Stone’s design manages to reconcile issues of function with the qualities of contextualism, urbanism, and emotional impact. This concern for these qualities was prescient. Two Columbus Circle represents an early example of the trend, which began in the 1960s, to reconcile more expressive human qualities with the cool intellectual abstractions of the prevailing International Style of the Modern Movement. Stone chose forms and materials scandalous to many critics of the period. Yet today, in light of changes in perception brought about by the evolution that modern architecture has gone through in the past four decades, some of the disparagement appears overwrought. Stone’s response to a complex program on a difficult, constricted site is admirable. The distinguishing architectural characteristics of Two Columbus Circle include, the tripartite organization of the façade, use of arcades at ground level and near the top, solid and pierced white marble façade panels, the organization of galleries at half levels wrapped around a central circulation core, the use of ‘portholes’ to allow natural light into the interior while protecting the art work from UV radiation, the clustering of these ‘portholes’ at the corners and the center of the long south wall in order to maximize wall space for displaying framed art work, and the specification of a palate of quality finishes achieving an intimate environment for viewing art. Although the building is only forty years old, today it is a work whose design value has been recognized by prominent critics and writers. It embodies distinctive characteristics of style and period, and it has generated extensive scholarly comment and evaluation. Throughout his search for “exuberant forms” via ornament and historical allusion, Stone never lost sight of the functionalism that was at the heart of the Modern movement. For the museum he used a reinforced concrete structural system for efficiency; ebony, bronze, book-matched walnut, marble and plush carpets for emotional expression. Split level galleries ingeniously made up for small floor plates, while nine stories of strikingly white Vermont Darby marble and an airborne Venetian arcade lent formality and historical reference. Stone’s first proposals for the exterior in 1956 show a virtually blank façade above a street level arcade, with glass wrapping the entire top floor. In 1959, he wrapped the building in a completely neutral mesh-like screen, revealing the structural frame only at the base and the roof. In both schemes, Stone was searching for a Classical simplicity compatible with, and complementary to Carrerre and Hastings’s United States Rubber Building (1912), located diagonally across from the site at the southeast corner of Broadway and West 58th Street. The final scheme, released in late 1959 shows the organization of the façade as a modern interpretation of the Beaux-Arts principle of the tripartite method. This method was based upon the three part organization of classical columns – base, shaft and capital. This tripartite method is illustrated in the adjacent Beaux-Arts U.S. Rubber Building. At Two Columbus Circle, architect Edward Durell Stone translated this classical principle by utilizing an arcade for the ‘base’, the smooth ‘shaft’ of white marble in the middle of the composition, and an arcade at the top akin to a ‘capital’. The walls of the Venetian-inspired vertical palazzo were perforated with porthole-like openings at the corners, base and crown to suggest rustication inspired according to Stone, by Saint-Germain-des Pres, a Romanesque Church in Paris. Referring to these and the vaguely middle-eastern inspired arcade at its base, New York Times, architectural critic Ada Louise Huxtable’s made her infamous quip about “a die-cut Venetian palazzo on lollypops”, although what is not recalled is that the barb was significantly buried in a report of amazing amiability. Interiors Magazine critic Olga Gueft wrote; “Every inch of the site’s building envelope is occupied. And every conceivable trick has been used to hide that fact –e.g., the play of circles on the façade and paving that distracts the eye from the hard building outline. For these miniature red granite-trimmed, green marble-lined colonnades, these rows of portholes like borders of eyelet hand-embroidered on a marble christening robe are too winsome for heavyweight criticism. ”

Edward Durrell Stone (1902-1978) was one of twentieth century America’s premier architects. His firm, based in New York City, was among the largest in the country. Branch offices were based in Chicago and Los Angeles. Stone was one of the few American-born architects working within the Modern Movement who enjoyed an international reputation and a worldwide practice. Stone was one of the few practitioners in the United States, in the pre-World War Two period, associated with International Style Modernism. His later career was marked by a dramatic evolution towards a reconciliation of Modernist concepts with an expressive personal style.

In post-war New York, three new, controversial museum buildings by America’s master architects were completed: the Guggenheim by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1959, The Huntington Hartford Gallery of Art at Two Columbus Circle in 1964, and the Whitney Museum of American Art by Marcel Breuer in 1966. Each of these structures is a provocative, expressive statement and represents a questioning of Modern orthodoxy. Edward Durell Stone arrived at the challenging design solution for Two Columbus Circle in part as a result of the journey his career had taken; first in the 1920s as an apprentice architect in the employ of traditionalist architects, then in the 1930s practicing as a young professional enthralled by the new forms and philosophies of the emerging International Style, then a reevaluation of those ideas in the 1940s. For the rest of his career Stone’s work would be marked by the search for an expressive, personal style while remaining true to his interpretation of the functionalism and goals of the Modern Movement. Two Columbus Circle is an important work by a master American architect at the height of his career. It is a pivotal work, in that it represents Stone’s own questioning of Modern orthodoxy and prophetic concerns for issues of context and urbanism. It is a prime, intact example of the evolution in architectural design and thought that was beginning to occur in the mid-1960s.

As architectural historians have sought, in recent years, to paint a much more complex picture of the spectrum of positions held by modernist architects, Edward Durell Stone’s critique of the mainstream of the Modern Movement has been regarded with greater sympathy. Indeed it might be said that Stone has not enjoyed such a high regard since he appeared on Time Magazine during the height of his popularity in his lifetime. And with the hind-sight of Post-Modernism many now understand that Stone’s embrace of ornament and historical allusion as critiques of doctrinaire International Style Modernism were important and precocious efforts to enrich the practice of modern architecture. These experiments are best embodied in two of Stone’s Two Columbus Circle. Not only is Two Columbus Circle a work of historic significance in the history of American modern architecture, but its architect’s stance was in direct sympathy with that of his client, whose Gallery of Modern Art sought to argue for a broader spectrum of modern art as a critique of the nearby Museum of Modern Art. Just as the artists displayed within embraced the human figure as opposed to abstraction, so Stone’s museum maintained that to be modern did not mean to be cut one off from artistic tradition. Huntington Hartford’s museum- an important episode in New York’s place in the history of modern taste and art – is recalled in Stone’s building.

Stone was not alone in exploring alternatives to mainstream Modernism. His later work exemplified the transition from Bauhaus Modernism to “other modernisms” that began abroad. The explorations were happening in the U.S. at Lincoln Center (1955–1969) with its “Monumental Modern,” particularly the buildings of Philip Johnson and Wallace Harrison; with Minoru Yamasaki’s Gothic inspired U.S. Pavilion for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, and later his World Trade Center towers; and with Eero Saarinen’s Ingalls Rink (1956–1958) and TWA Terminal (1956–1962).

Stone’s later works such as Two Columbus Circle did not follow the main trajectory of Modern architecture storming forward—progressive, experimental and abstract—as many critics thought it ought to. Rather, his work looked back at things that were not abstract. Two Columbus Circle is a signature Edward Durell Stone building encapsulating the architect’s late career theories. It is of its time, categorically representing the small subset of the Modern movement where Historicism and Modernism colluded.

Two Columbus Circle was designed to be complementary to its urban context. It was the first modern building on the site to address and hold the curve of the Circle. Its white marble façade, with its classical references, creates an appropriate backdrop for the Columbus rostrum column at the center of the Circle. Its classical tripartite façade organization relates well with the Beaux-Arts U.S. Rubber skyscraper adjacent. Its modest scale and light color distinguishes it from its larger, darker neighbors. It also acts as a gentle transition between the high-rise structures to the south and the open space of the Circle. Two Columbus Circle acts as a classical monument on an axial boulevard - it punctuates the vista from the north along Central Park West, as well as Broadway. Two Columbus Circle exhibits qualities of good urbanism rare in its 1964 contemporaries.

In 2002 work began on a total reconstruction of Columbus Circle itself, reconfiguring the automobile traffic once again in a circular pattern while for the first time providing a meaningful landscaped park with safer access for pedestrians at its center. Concurrently, west of Two Columbus Circle, construction of Ten Columbus Circle began. It's the most expensive single-building construction project in U.S. history. The Ten Columbus Circle building, known as Time Warner Center, will house Time Warner's corporate headquarters, CNN's New York bureau, Jazz at Lincoln Center, a luxury hotel, and luxury condominiums. The new building takes its cue from Stone’s building in that its front 4-story volume follows the curve of the Circle providing an amenable, pedestrian-friendly portico designed to human scale. It is a compliment to the Circle, the Maine Monument, and Two Columbus Circle.

General Assessment:
Text references:


Benton, William. Britannica Book of the Year 1965, Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 1965.

Carew, Dorothy. Encyclopedia Year Book 1965, Grolier Inc., 1965

Editors of Time-Life Books. 1965 Official Guide New York World’s Fair , New York, Time Inc., 1965

Fein, Cheri. New York: Open To The Public, New York: Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 1982.

Goldberger, Paul. The City Observed: New York, A Guide To The Architecture Of Manhattan, New York:
Vintage Books, 1979

Hepburn, Andrew. Complete Guide to New York City, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1954.

Heyer, Paul. Architects On Architecture: New Directions In America, New York: Walker and Company, 1966.

Hine, Thomas. Populuxe, New York: Random House, 1987.

Jackson, Lesley. Contemporary: Architecture and Design of the 1950’s, London: Phaidon, 1994.

King, Moses, King’s Views Of New York, New York, B. Bloom, 1895, reprinted by Arno Press, 1977

Kroessler, Jeffrey. New York Year By Year: A Chronology of the Great Metropolis, New York:
New York University Press, 2002

New York Transit Museum. Subway Style; 100 Years of Architecture and Design in the New York Subway, New York: Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2004.

Paradise, Jean. Collier’s 1965 Year Book, The Crowell-Collier Publishing Company, 1965

Roman, Antonio. Eero Saarinen, An Architecture of Multiplicity, New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2003.

Scully, Vincent, Jr. Modern Architecture, New York: George Braziller, Inc., 1975.

Shaver, Peter D. Preservation League of New York State; The Register of Historic Places in New York State, New York: Rizzoli,1993.

Stern, Robert A.M., Gregory Gilmartin and John Massengale. New York 1900:Metropolitan Architecture
And Urbanism 1890-1915, New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1983.

Stern, Robert A.M., Gregory Gilmartin, Thomas Mellins. New York 1930: Architecture And Urbanism
Between The Two World Wars. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1987.

Robert A.M. Stern, Thomas Mellins, David Fishman, New York 1960: Architecture And Urbanism
Between The Second World War And The Bicentennial, New York: Monacelli Press, 1995.

Stone, Edward Durell. The Evolution of an Architect, New York: Horizon, 1962.

Stone, Edward Durell. Recent and Future Architecture, New York: Horizon Press, 1967.

Trachtenberg, Marvin and Isabelle Hyman. “Architecture: From Pre-History To Post-Modernism The Western Tradition”, Netherlands: Harry N. Abrams, 1986.

Von Eckhardt, Wolf. Mid-Century Architecture in America, Baltimore; John Hopkins Press, 1961.

White, Norvell, Elliot Willensky. AIA Guide To New York City, New York: Three Rivers Press, 2000.

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Articles, Brochures, and Reports

“Arts in a New Setting”, Interior Design, Vol. 35, (June 1964)

Bergdoll, Barry. statement written November 15, 2003

Bourdon, David. “New York Museum Crisis: Two Bite Dust”, Art in America, vol.63, (September-October 1975), pp.37-39.

Campagna, Barbara A. The Richard H. Mandel House. National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. 1995.

Canaday, John. “Days Are Numbered for a White Elephant”, New York Times (March 23,1975),II:pp.1,31.

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Stern, Robert A.M. statement read at “At the Crossroads: The Future of Two Columbus Circle” Panel discussion co-sponsored by the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and Landmark West! at the New York headquarters of Steelcase, Four Columbus Circle, on February 12, 2003.

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Recorder/Date: John Kriskiewwicz/ March 2005 Hansel Hernandez-Navarro/June 2006
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