Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Added by Liz Waytkus, last update: October 14, 2011, 10:18 pm

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Exterior view, source: Keller, John; Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Construction Photographs, May 1961-Sept. 1963, date: June 1963
Location
121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States
41° 18' 41.49" N, 72° 55' 37.7004" 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:

In March 1959, Yale library head James T. Babb and brothers (and Yale Alumni) Edwin and Frederick Beinecke began discussions about construction of a new space to house Yale's growing collection of rare books, which were then located in Sterling Memorial Library. The Beinecke Family financed the project as a gift to the university. The new building would need to provide protection for the rare books, many of which where in very fragile condition; exist as a state-of-the-art research facility for scholars; and to be physically striking, as if to visually convey the importance of its holdings. In October 1959, after much discussion over the choice of architect, Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was chosen. Bunshaft designed a two-component, 88,347-square-foot building: A six-story above-ground structure, a fully open space with an interior enclosed-glass temperature-controlled tower to house 160,000 books; and a below-ground area containing stacks, office space, classrooms, a study area, and a garden courtyard designed by Isamu Noguchi. Daylight is broadcast in through a grid of Vermont Montclair Danby marble panes that glow at night from interior illumination. The building’s dimensions are mathematically proportioned: it is twice the width of its height and three times as long. Construction began in early 1960. Fuller Construction managed the project. The Beinecke family has never revealed the cost. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library was dedicated on October 11, 1963. Its holdings include maps and letters from the Lewis and Clark exhibition; documents from Boccacio, Wordsworth, Joseph Conrad, and Gertrude Stein; and a 15th-century Gutenberg Bible, one of only 48 known copies still in existence.

Dates: Commission / Completion:October 1959/October 1963
Architectural and other Designer(s): Architect: Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Sculpture Garden: Isamu Noguchi; Structural Engineer: Paul Weidlinger; Mechanical Engineers: Jaros, Baum, & Bolles; Contractor: George A. Fuller.
Others associated with Building/Site: Partner in Charge of Coordination: David H. Hughes; Design Assistant: Sherwod A. Smith; Job Captain: Morris Zelkowitz; Interior Design: Davis. B. Allen; Lighting: Edison Price.
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s): Roof Replacement and Maintenance (1982, 1994, 2008): The original roof was completely replaced in 1982. Flashing repairs were made in 1994. The 1982 roof was completely replaced in fall 2008. This project enabled the replacement of the interior mezzanine ceiling lighting fixtures and ceiling tiles. Exterior Glass Window Maintenance (1992 & 2004): The entire marble courtyard glass window wall was removed, reflashed, cleaned, reglazed, and placed back into the courtyard. In 2004 the plaza-level window wall was also treated and laminated safety glass was installed. Elevator Replacement and Installation (1996 & 1998): The 1963 elevator and casing were replaced in 1996 and a new elevator installed in the West wing in 1998. Plumbing Renovation (1999): the toilet facilities were completely renovated in 1999. Modern Retrofit (1990s – Dec. 2000): Gregg Wies & Gardner Architects designed a renovation plan for Beinecke to implement state-of-the-art technologies. The general contractor was Leach Building (later the Pike Company). Included in the scope of the project were reconstruction and refurnishing of all office spaces and service areas, conversion of 50,000 square feet of fixed stacks to compact shelving, new multi-purpose classrooms and electronic media facilities, and rewiring for computer networks, security, and fire protection systems. Plaza Retrofit (May 2004-2005): In May 2005 work began on a major plaza-level waterproofing retrofit. Project used 22 miles of 1-inch glycol/water tubing to aid in winter snowmelt water control. New Haven's Buckingham Routh Company handled the mechanical systems and the Pike Company of Kensington, CT, was the general contractor. The architect for the project was Rich Charney. The retrofit was completed in 2005 and its implementation resulted in a new winter visual: low-hovering fog, the result of snow melting before it hits the plaza.
Current Use: The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library continues to serve the purpose for which it was designed. The library has six major collections: the General Collection of Early Books and Manuscripts, the General Collection of Modern Books and Manuscripts, the Collection of American Literature, the Collection of Western Americana, the German Literature Collection, and the Osborn Collection of English Literary and Historical Manuscripts. The Beinecke’s current holdings include more than 500,000 volumes and several million manuscripts. It is one of the largest facilities in the world specifically dedicated to housing rare books. The library also hosts and sponsors many lectures, readings, and exhibitions.
Current Condition: Due to diligent maintenance and upgrades over the past three decades, the building is in good functional form. However the building’s envelope—specifically the marble and granite—are in need of repair and possible replacement. Forty five years have passed since the building was constructed and the marble panels are exhibiting deterioration caused by a number of factors: defects in the marble, temperature and humidity fluctuations that have caused the marble to cave in and out each season, and possible pressure variations from the original installation. A study has shown that thirty-five of the 250 marble panels exhibit cracks. A decade-long study is underway to track changes and growth in these cracks. The thirty-five known cracks were filled with a Jahn mortar in 2007 and have been regularly monitored since.
General Description:

Bunshaft designed the Beinecke as a two-component structure on a 200’-0” x 350’-0” site plan. The largest and most visible component is the six-story above-ground structure (86'-0” x 130'-0” x 58'-0”), which is a fully open space containing an interior glass-curtain-wall enclosed temperature-controlled tower (35'-0” x 60'-0”) to house books. The smaller component is a below-ground research center that contains stacks, office space, classrooms, a study area, and a garden courtyard designed by Isamu Noguchi. The library’s total square footage is 88,347. The roof of the subterranean area serves as the plaza, which is a central social landmark on the Yale campus. The above-ground structure sits in the heart of the Yale campus and can best be described as a giant marble cube. It is a stark contrast to the older surrounding buildings that are more evocative of collegiate scholarship. Many have described the Beinecke as a “jewel box,” which is not surprising given the warm glow the illuminated marble exudes after the sun has set. The original interior appointments were lush and dark: bronze, black leather upholstery, wood paneling, teak tables and desks, carpeted and granite floors. The mid-1990s retrofit replaced much of the textiled elements with more contemporary furnishings and materials. The sculpture garden, which was sunk into the center of the plaza, contains three large marble sculptures from Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi. The three sculptures are in the shapes of a pyramid, a globe, and a cube.

Construction Period:

The above-ground structure is built with Vierendeel welded steel tapered-cross trusses into which a grid of 1 1/4-inch-thick Vermont Montclair Danby marble panes have been fit. Each façade consists of a single steel truss (four total). Each truss bears its own weight plus some of the roof load; this weight is transferred through reinforced steel girders to the corner columns. The roof is steel-framed and steel-decked. The weight of the building is supported by four bronze-covered pin joints on granite-covered reinforced concrete corner columns. The columns extend fifty feet below grade to bedrock. The interior core also bears some of the weight of the roof. All columns, walls, and floors are reinforced concrete. The exterior steel is clad in granite while the interior frame is clad in precast stone and granite. Because the weight of the building is focused into the four corner columns the plaza level and entry area provide a seamless circulation plane.

Original Physical Context:

The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library sits prominently and visibly in the center of the Yale University campus. It is a “new” building nestled among the old, which is an apt juxtaposition given that the library’s holdings are some of the oldest texts in existence. While different in style than the surrounding buildings, the library is similar in proportion ad scale. Across the plaza (known as both Beinecke Plaza and Hewitt Quadrangle) are Commons, Memorial Hall, and Woolsey Hall, a Beaux-Arts Carrere and Hastings complex that houses an auditorium, dining hall, and administrative offices; and Woodbridge Hall, where the office of the president is located. To the south of the Beinecke, across Wall Street, sits medieval-inspired Berkeley College, and just west of Berkeley is Sterling Memorial Library, a granite gothic structure that was the previous home for the university’s rare book and manuscript collection. Immediately west of the Beinecke is Yale Law School, which features a complex of Gothic buildings built with brick and limestone. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is not the only modern building on the Yale campus, but it is the most prominent and centrally located. The other modern buildings are located closer to the campus periphery. These include the Art and Architecture Building, designed by Paul Rudolph (who was the dean of the architecture school at the time) and completed in 1963, the same year as the Beinecke; the Yale Art Gallery, designed by Louis Kahn and built in 1953 (the building underwent a complete renovation in 2006 by Polshek Partnership Architects); and several buildings by Eero Saarinen, including Ezra Stiles and Morse Colleges and the Ingalls Ice Rink.

Evaluation
Technical Evaluation:

Much of Yale’s collection of rare literature is very fragile. Though known for his glass-and-steel curtain wall designs, Bunshaft knew that windows would be a risky inclusion and necessitate careful design planning. The decision to grid the façade in large marble panes was borne out of the need for muted light that would not put the building’s contents at risk. Bunshaft initially planned for onyx panels but when not enough material could be located the choice was made to include Vermont marble, sliced into 1-1/4”-thick panels. Acknowledged marble-curtain-wall influences include the north-transept Portail des Libraries at the Rouen Cathedral, and the Tokapi Palace in Istanbul. The pin-joint columns and resulting circulation area give the illusion that the Beinecke is “floating,” implying that the structure is far less hefty than in reality.

Social:

The construction of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library marked a radical shift in architectural aesthetic of the Yale University campus. Whereas most of Yale’s buildings are styled in the collegiate Gothic formula of college campuses nationwide, the Beinecke is an exciting cubic surprise. Its benefactors sought to build a structure that befit its contents—something rare and special and wholly unique. In the landscape of the Yale campus, this goal was reached. In the context of the modern movement, this building exists as a successful example of blending new with old, and function with aesthetic.

Cultural & Aesthetic:
Bunshaft is quoted as describing the building as the following: “What it is is a huge vault, a secure place with tremendous humidity and temperature control and stacking of books. In addition to that, there’s some offices for curators, there’s a reading room for a few scholars, and some exhibit space for little books and stuff.” This modest description of some of the building’s features shows that Bunshaft was mindful of the building’s intended function. Many of his design decisions were informed by this awareness; the marble panels (which were originally intended to be onyx but not enough material was available) were a substitute for windows, a complex design element that would protect the rare books from damaging sunlight while still allowing light to penetrate the interior. The enclosed glass tower in the interior’s core would allow for isolated temperature and humidity control where it was needed most. And the vast, six-story open interior space struck an immediate and profound impression on any first-time visitor: this was no ordinary building, just as its contents were similarly rare. Understandably, the library was met with equal favor and disdain. Time has won over the Beinecke’s critics, and today the library is one of Yale’s most beloved and iconic buildings.
Historical:

In June, 1967 Skidmore, Owings & Merrill receive five AIA "Honor Awards" including one for Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. (The other four SOM buildings out of 20 awards total include: Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Kamuela, Hawaii; Vannevar Bush Center for Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts; National Headquarters, American Republic Insurance Company, Des Moines, Iowa; and Office Building and Residence, Banque Lambert, Brussels, Belgium.) The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library has become so loved by the Yale community that the university’s imprint published a book—The Beinecke Library of Yale University—in 2003 in honor of the library’s fortieth anniversary, filled with essay contributions from employees past and present.

General Assessment:
The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library is a shining architectural specimen of the modern movement. Bunshaft’s simple design shifted the aesthetic of Yale’s central corridor while also setting engineering precedents that went far beyond the campus confines. It was also a departure from Bunshaft’s glass curtain wall designs, effectively marking a new era of the architect’s work. It is a visually bold and architecturally important building that is well used, well-known, well cared for, all hallmarks of successful architecture.
Documentation
Text references:

Adams, Nicholas. Skidmore, Owings and Merrill : SOM Since 1936. New York: Phaidon Press, 2007, 1904313557.
Architecture of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 1950–1962. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1963.
"The 1967 Honor Awards." AIA Journal 47 (1967): 44–64.
Parks, Steven (ed.) The Beinecke Library of Yale University. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003, 0845731505.
Krinsky, Carol Herselle. Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Cambridge, MA: the MIT Press, 1988, 0262111306.
"Rare Book Library." Architecture International 1 (1965): 88–95.
"Rare Book Library at Yale Dedicated." Architectural Record 134 (1963): 12–13.
Reese, Ilse M., and James T. Burns Jr. "The Opposites: Expressionism and Formalism at Yale." Progressive Architecture 45 (1964): 130–33.
Rotella, Katie. "Radiant Innovations." Plumbing & Mechanical 23 (2005): 43+.
"Yale Rare Book and Manuscript Library." Progressive Architecture 45 (1964): 130–33.

Authoring
Recorder/Date: March 2009
Additional Images
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Interior view of glass stack tower and books from mezzanine, Source: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Construction Photographs, May 1961-Sept. 1963, date: unknown

Mitchell Hall

Added by Rebecca Casbon Salgado, last update: August 17, 2012, 12:05 pm

Mitchell Hall
Exterior View of Mitchell Hall, looking southeast, source: USAFA McDermott Library archives
Location
Intersection of Faculty Drive and Fairchild Drive UTM References: Zone 13, Easting 509295, Northing 4317840
Colorado Springs, CO 11375
United States
39° 0' 23.8032" N, 104° 53' 13.2396" W
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Education (EDC)
Secondary classification: Administration (ADM)
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):

1993: Cadet Area (which Mitchell Hall is part of) becomes eligible for National Register listing
April 1, 2004: Cadet Area is listed as a National Historic Landmark District

History of Building/Site
Original Brief:

The U.S. federal government established the Air Force as an independent branch of the military in 1947, and authorized the creation of the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1954. The USAFA was meant to be the main undergraduate university for the Air Force, similar to West Point in New York and the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland. At the time that the USAFA was planned and constructed, the United States had already entered into the Cold War with the Soviet Union, and the Air Force was seen as the most important arm of the military for this conflict. As a result, the Air Force grew quickly, and many new Air Force officers were needed. The USAFA provided education to young men who would ideally become these new officers.

The U.S. Air Force Academy is located along the Rampart Range of Colorado, a scenic natural area made up of forested hills and valleys along the base of the Rocky Mountains. The Cadet Area occupies the highest ridge of the USAFA campus, and has a soaring view toward the open plains to the east of Rampart Range. Mitchell Hall, the USAFA dining hall, is part of the original master plan for the Cadet Area of the Air Force Academy, and is located off the main campus plaza, the Terazzo, along with other significant cadet buildings such as dormitories and academic buildings.

SOM was commissioned to build a dining hall that could seat all of the cadets (3,000 at that time) at once and feed them quickly, since the cadets' daily schedule is very regimented. The SOM design team, led by Gertrude Lempp Kerbis, wanted to make the dining hall’s interior column-free, and developed an advanced roof of steel trusses supported by sixteen perimeter columns to make this possible. SOM had initially wanted to have glass curtain walls on all four sides of the building to allow for maximum views of the surrounding site, and to have the food-preparation area on the floor below the dining area with small elevators to bring food up, but this would not allow the food to be served fast enough, and so they ended up designing the building so the main kitchen area was on the same floor as the dining area.

Dates: Commission / Completion:July 23, 1954: SOM is chosen to be the architects of the USAFA, following interviews of several firms by a special selection board. July 1954 to May 1955: SOM develops the design for the USAFA, culminating in an exhibition of the campus plan at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center in May 1955. January 6, 1958: Mitchell Hall's massive roof is lifted into place as one single piece. September 1958: The first class of cadets occupies the Cadet Area.
Architectural and other Designer(s): architect: Gertrude Lempp Kerbis of SOM (project architect) landscape/garden designer: Dan Kiley designed the Terrazzo in 1959, directly to the north of Mitchell Hall other designers: Walter Netsch Jr. and Gordon Bunshaft, SOM design managers for the USAFA consulting engineer: American Bridge Division of the U.S. Steel Corporation building contractors: Air Force Academy Construction Agency (formed especially for the construction of the Academy, and disbanded after its initial completion); American Bridge Division of the U.S. Steel Corporation (fabrication and erection of roof); Vagtborg Lift Slab Corporation (lifting of roof)
Others associated with Building/Site: name: Brigadier General William “Billy” Mitchell association: namesake of Mitchell Hall events: Mitchell was an early U.S. military aviator, leading several successful air battles during World War I, where he was in charge of more than a thousand American and Allied airplanes. Mitchell was an early advocate for an independent U.S. air force, but was very outspoken in his opinion that air warfare was not being given enough attention, leading to him being court marshaled and convicted of insubordination. In 1926, he resigned from the military, but he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously in 1946 and is recognized today as an early aviation hero. names: Eero Saarinen, Wallace K. Harrison, Welton Becket, and Pietro Belluschi association: Members of the federally appointed architectural advisory committee for the Academy events: The committee asked questions of and gave suggestions to SOM in the course of the planning of the USAFA
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s): 1966: The number of Cadets attending the Academy increased from around 3,000 maximum when it opened to around 4,000 by the late 1960s. As a result, Mitchell Hall was expanded on its east and west sides, partially blocking the openness of the space and views to the mountains when support columns were added. The architecture firms that were in charge of this renovation were Leo A. Daly and Henningson, Durham, and Richardson.
Current Use: The Cadet Area’s appearance and function have changed very little since the Academy first opened in 1958, which is a testament to the foresight of SOM’s design team when they were planning the campus and the consistency of the USAFA’s mission. Although the number of cadets attending the Academy has grown since it first opened, Mitchell Hall is still able to serve all of them at once during mealtimes, which was the main requirement for the building when it was designed.
Current Condition: The Air Force Academy was meant to be a monument from its initial design phase, and the campus's integrity has been well maintained as a result. Mitchell Hall was expanded on its eastern and western sides in 1966, eight years after it was first opened, but otherwise has kept many of its original interior and exterior features. While the Cadet Area and Mitchell Hall have been well preserved on the whole, additions were made to the campus in the late 1960s and early 1980s that SOM felt didn’t fit with their overall design for the USAFA. As a result, in 1985, SOM developed a master plan for future development of the Cadet Area to prepare for further expansions or alterations. This plan was updated by the USAFA Design Standards, developed by SOM in 2001, which are continually updated by the firm. Also, although the USAFA site is around 17,500 acres, it is now surrounded on all sides by increasing development of Colorado Springs, which has doubled in size since the Academy was first built. The Academy’s planners were prescient in requesting such a large site for the Academy, but the federal government could possible choose to sell off part of the Academy’s land in the future, which would greatly affect the character of the USAFA.
General Description:

Mitchell Hall is a two-level building that is a 308-foot-by-308-foot square in plan. It has a flat roof with a twenty-one-foot cantilevered overhang on all four sides. The roof is described in more detail in the technical evaluation of this fiche. Cadets enter Mitchell Hall in formation through two fifty-six-foot-wide entrances that face the Terrazzo. Mitchell Hall only appears to be one story high from the Terrazzo, which is immediately north of the building, but its site slopes dramatically downward so that the dining hall’s southern facade is the equivalent of almost three stories below the Terrazzo entrances. The top floor contains the main dining area and kitchen serving space, as well as a mezzanine level along its northern side for higher-ranking Academy staff and guests above the kitchen service area. The bottom floor, eighteen feet below the dining level, has loading docks on the building's east facade and contains freezers, food storage, and employee workspaces. In addition, the bottom floor houses a more formal dining room for special events.

Similar to the other SOM-designed buildings in the Cadet Area, Mitchell Hall's exterior material palette consists of steel structural elements, aluminum detailing and window frames, and gray-tinted plate-glass walls on all sides except for the northern facade, which is finished with exposed-aggregate precast-concrete panels. While the structure for the upper level is steel, the lower level's structure is reinforced concrete. SOM wanted to provide as many views to the outside as possible for the dining hall, although the glass at the USAFA is mostly tinted because of the bright Colorado sun. The interior of the main dining hall space is one open room with a twenty-four-foot-high, coffered-camp ceiling with fourteen-foot-square panels. The dining area's floor is polished brown terrazzo divided by a grid of aluminum strips that continues from the Terazzo floor outside of Mitchell Hall into the building. The stairway leading to the mezzanine level of the main dining area has white marble treads and a black steel railing, and the floor of the mezannine level is white polished terrazzo.

Mitchell Hall was designed to fit the functional requirement of feeding thousands of Cadets at once while also reflecting the forward-thinking spirit that the Air Force, the military's newest branch, wanted to project to the world. The USAFA's architectural characteristics—clean forms, often raised from the ground, clad in steel, glass, and aluminum—shared similarities with the Air Force's airplanes, and set the USAFA apart from the architecture of West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy.

Construction Period:

1956(c)–58

Original Physical Context:

The Cadet Area is sited on the Rampart Range along the base of the Rocky Mountains. Before the USAFA was built, the land it occupies was undeveloped, and consisted of a series of partially forested ridges and valleys. The Cadet Area sits atop the highest ridge on the property, and required the construction of more than ten thousand linear feet of concrete-and-stone retaining walls to give the cadets a flat plaza, the Terrazzo, around which the other main university buildings (including Mitchell Hall) are sited.

Evaluation
Technical Evaluation:

Mitchell Hall's steel-truss roof, with a clear span of 266 feet square, was the first long-span steel structure to be lifted into place, all in one piece. The roof's twenty-three Warren trusses were mostly prefabricated, but still required twenty-seven welders on-site for the final installation. Each joint of the trusses was welded for added strength, and each element had to be calculated separately, leading SOM to use some of the earliest structural-analysis computer programs. The trusses range in depth from eight-and-a-half feet to more than eleven-and-a-half feet. Once the 1,150-ton roof was assembled on the ground, it took just six hours for hydraulic jacks to lift it into place atop sixteen supporting columns.

Also significant is Gertrude Lempp Kerbis's decision to have the trusses cantilever out twenty-one feet from the dining hall's exterior walls. This allows the trusses to have a cleaner structural appearance since the cantilever keeps the roof from sagging in the center, removing the requirement for extra bracing around the interior perimeter of Mitchell Hall's roof. This overhang also gives the cadets some shelter as they march in formation into the dining hall.

Social:

Mitchell Hall is socially significant as an early example of a high-profile project whose design was headed by a woman architect, Gertrude Lempp Kerbis of SOM. Kerbis studied with Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology, graduating from there in 1954 with a Master's in Architecture. That same year, she was hired by SOM. On July 23, 1954, the firm won the commission for the USAFA, and Kerbis was assigned to be in charge of the design of the Academy's dining hall. Although Kerbis designed the innovative truss roof for Mitchell Hall, she was excluded from seeing the roof being lifted into place, and was not allowed to take part in presentations to the project clients. In 1967, Kerbis founded her own firm, Lempp Kerbis Associates, which remains in operation to this day, and she also has worked throughout her career to secure equal working conditions for women in the architecture field.

Cultural & Aesthetic:
The Air Force Academy is an important early example of modernist federal architecture in the United States. Today, the USAFA's Cadet Area is recognized by architectural historians as one of the most significant groupings of structures built after World War II in the United States. The design and construction of the USAFA was followed by people all over the country, and congressional hearings were held several times to discuss its progress. Today, the USAFA is a top tourist site in Colorado, where visitors can enter the Cadet Chapel and even see the Cadets march in formation into Mitchell Hall for meals several times a week.
Historical:

The U.S. Air Force Academy has historical significance as one of the three service academies for the U.S. military, along with West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy. The USAFA was constructed for the Air Force little more than a decade after the branch was officially formed, and was built in the context of the Cold War, for which the Air Force was seen as a key component to defeating the Soviet Union. The USAFA gave the Air Force a state-of-the-art training facility for future officers, and serves a crucial role in military operations to this day.

General Assessment:
From its initial planning and design, the USAFA was intended to become a national landmark, and it has stayed true to this mission to this day. It served as a strong symbol of the recently formed Air Force at a time when the strength of this branch was crucial to the United States' Cold Mar military strategy. Mitchell Hall is a contributing building to the overall Cadet Area, and is significant as a part of this larger group. Beyond being a component of the Cadet Area, Mitchell Hall is an important modernist building in its own right because it is a structurally advanced space designed by a pioneering woman architect, Gertrude Lempp Kerbis, who was part of one of the most influential firms of the twentieth century, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.
Documentation
Text references:

“The Air Age Acropolis,” Architectural Forum 10 (June 1959): 158–65; Carter, Karen, filmmaker, “Gertrude Lempp Kerbis, Modern Architect—part 2,” AIA Chicago (2008), accessed online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHwmB6ph2DQ&feature=fvsr; Chicago Architects Oral History Project, “Gertrude Kerbis, Biographical Summary,” website of the Art Institute of Chicago, http://www.artic.edu/aic/libraries/research/specialcollections/oralhisto... Hosington, Daniel J., "National Historic Landmark Nomination: United States Air Force Academy, Cadet Area" (United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, June 2, 2003); Kerbis, Gertrude, “Oral History of Gertrude Kerbis,” interview by Betty J. Blum, Chicago Architects Oral History Project (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1997), ISBN 978-0226076935; King, Susan F., filmmaker, “Excerpt 3,” filmed as part of the Chicago Architects Oral History Project (Sept. 11, 2006), accessed online at http://www.artic.edu/aic/libraries/research/specialcollections/oralhisto... Nauman, Robert Allan, On the Wings of Modernism: The United States Air Force Academy (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004), ISBN 978-0252028915; ———, “Preserving a Monument: The United States Air Force Academy,” Future Anterior 1, no. 2 (Fall 2004): 32–41; Olsen, Sheri, "Raising the Roof: The Dramatic Construction of Mitchell Hall," in Modernism at Mid-Century: The Architecture of the United States Air Force Academy, ed. Robert Bruegmann (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994), 74–75; “The United States Air Force Academy,” Architectural Forum (June 1955): 102–10; U.S. Air Force Fact Sheet, “Brig. Gen. William ‘Billy’ Mitchell,” website of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=739; U.S. Air Force Fact Sheet, “Mitchell Hall,” website of the U.S. Air Force Academy, http://www.usafa.af.mil/information/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=9422.

Authoring
Recorder/Date: Rebecca Salgado, Columbia University, February 2011
Additional Images
Mitchell Hall
Interior of Mitchell Hall during the cadets' lunchtime, Source: Jon Casbon, date: Feb. 2, 2011
Audio and Video Web References

Depicted item: 2008 Interview with Gertrude Lempp Kerbis discussing Mitchell Hall, source: YouTube, part 2 of a film by Karen Carter commissioned by the Chicago Branch of the AIA in recognition of Kerbis's AIA Lifetime Achievement Award

Philip Morris USA Headquarters

Added by Susan Ranney, last update: August 17, 2012, 2:02 pm

Philip Morris USA Headquarters
Altria/Philip Morris Headquarters, source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reynolds_Metals_Company_International_Headquarters, date: 1/28/2011
Location
6601 W. Broad St
Richmond, VA
United States
37° 36' 1.224" N, 77° 31' 2.5356" W
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Commercial (COM)
Secondary classification: Landscape (LND)
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):

National Register of Historic Places, 2002

History of Building/Site
Original Brief:

Company headquarters commissioned by Richard Samuel Reynolds, Sr., founder of Reynolds Metals Company International. The main office building, set amidst 121 acres of pastoral land in the suburbs of Richmond, VA, was to serve as administrative headquarters for the company. Multiple minor service buildings are also part of the complex.

Dates: Commission / Completion:1955-8 (e)
Architectural and other Designer(s): Gordon Bunshaft (Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill), principal architect. Charles F Gillette, landscape architect
Others associated with Building/Site: Alcoa (based in Pittsburgh) bought the Reynolds company and acquired the site in 2000. The University of Richmond (located 3 miles away) purchased the property in 2001. Philip Morris USA leases the main Executive Offices Building from the University since 2004)
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s): No significant exterior alterations to main Executive Office Building. The interiors have been altered over the years; the degree to which is unknown by this author, but apparently much of the original materials and furnishings have been retained. General Office Building (GOB) built in 1968 by Baskervill & Son Architects across the main axial road. Also built with Modern aesthetic but not included in National Register. Two other service buildings by Baskervill & Son added in 1978 apart from the main site.
Current Use: Administrative headquarters for Philip Morris USA, a tobacco conglomerate (since 2004).
Current Condition: The Executive Office Building, the primary buildng of the site, has maintained the majority of its original exterior features.The interiors are well maintained and largely original, although elements may have been repurposed within the building and new technology has needed to be accommodated. The modularity of the building's layout and construction has served its purposes well by adapting to changes in usage and transitions between companies.
General Description:

The result of a collaboration between premier corporate architect Gordon Bunshaft (Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill), Richmond landscape architect Charles F. Gillette, and the company founder Richard Samuel Reynolds, Sr., the Reynolds Metals Company International Headquarters occupies a 121 acre corporate campus in the suburbs west of the Richmond city center. Reynolds, Sr., desired to have a company headquarters that embodied the company's ethos and its products. Consequently, aluminum appears in furniture, window frames, bathroom tiles, and even the drapery and carpets (in the form of aluminum fibers).
The complex of buildings makes use of nearly 1.25 million pounds of aluminum, Reynolds' main product, in the design and construction. The historic property includes the Executive Office Building, located at the highest elevation, a service building, greenhouse, a landscaped park, and a reflecting pool (all listed as contributing structures by the US National Register of Historic Places). There are four other support buildings on the site that do not meet the National Register Criteria but are not detrimental to the character and reading of the property as a whole.
The Executive Office Building has been singled out as “an archetype of suburban corporate headquarters: a medium height office building in a park-like setting.” (Sadler, National Register Nomination) In the words of architectural historian Richard Guy Wilson, “[the Reynolds Metals Headquarters] exemplifies the genius and promise of post World War II American modernism…. [U]tilizing modern materials such as glass steel, and especially aluminum, the Reynolds also makes use of time tested forms such as the palazzo type of format, an the courtyard” (Wilson, 1998).

Construction Period:

1955-8

Original Physical Context:

Landscaping and site:
Gillette may have been hired for the project on account of his history with the Reynolds family, for whom he had designed gardens and mausoleums since the 1930s. Like Bunshaft in the New York corporate architecture circles, Gillette was considered to be the preeminent landscape architect in Richmond. As Bunshaft sought to establish a typology of American corporate architecture with his establishment of the International style –infused corporate Versailles, Gillette’s gardens and landscape designs sought to develop a regional landscape architecture that communicated the characteristics of the Piedmont and the Tidewater (Longest 1992: 58). At the Reynolds Metals campus, the plantings serve a variety of functions: acting as a parking screen, controlling and framing views to the main EOB, articulating a formal entry, and embellishing the EOB courtyard as well as providing a landscaped park at the EOB’s southern face. A 250 foot long reflecting pool flanked by willow oaks not only adds drama to the setting but also supplies the water for the primary grounds’ sprinkler system. In this way even the Reynolds campus’ seemingly superfluous elements—landscaping and a reflecting pool—serve a functional purpose while also continuing the gridded textures and structural bays of the buildings in parterre patterns that are asymmetrical but balanced, in the same way as the buildings.

Evaluation
Technical Evaluation:

The Executive Office Building is a steel framed building that used state of the art glass-and-aluminum curtain walls. The aluminum entrance canopy pushed the limits of the metal's structural capacities. Aluminum threads were also utilized in the fabrics.
Fourteen-foot high solar louvers on the east and west building facades shifted according to the time of day, controlled by an astronomical clock, which was overridden on overcast days by a light sensor that signaled the louvers to stay open to allow maximum natural light. At the time of the building’s construction this respresented the largest installation of movable louvers in the world.

Social:

The Reynolds Metals Company was at the head of the metals industry not only in the US but also in the world. The company introduced aluminum siding in 1945 and aluminum -backed building papers a few years later. The Reynolds company desired a headquarters that would articulate its ethos of sound business sence and the focus on the packaging and marketing of products. The corporate campus, taken from the university model, indicated an increased concern for employee well being. On the other hand, the move to a more widespread but controlled environment meant greater efficiency and less distraction.

Cultural & Aesthetic:
During the 1950s and 60s Bunshaft worked to persuade corporations that contemporary American architecture could serve as a company's signature. As corporations followed factories out of the cities mid-20th century. Bunshaft looked to the precedent set by Albert Kahn, who led the movement towards a horizontally oriented, single story factory, and Eero Saarinen, who pioneered the corporate campus at the General Motors Technical Center (Warren, Michigan, 1948-56). In this new context, designs now had to acknowledge and respect a "natural environment that was cherished and often fiercely guarded by local inhabitants, and provide a stimulating setting for a workforce that had grown used to concentrated amenities...of most central cities" (Harris, 452). Bunshaft and SOM established the low-rise, suburban company headquarters in park-like surroundings and crafted in a desirable modern style. Bunshaft manipulated the International Style language he had previously employed in his renowned Lever House (New York, NY (1952)), to fit the pastoral setting of suburban Henrico County. As at Lever House, Bunshaft lifted the bulk of the building off of the ground and places the cube-like building atop slender columns. The ground level loggia provides a transition between the interior and exterior spaces at the periphery of the building as well as in the off-center peristyle courtyard. In the courtyard, Bunshaft makes one of his many references to Reynolds Metals’ star product, aluminum, by cladding the loggia piloti in the material. The interiors of the building reinforce the International Style language of the exterior, and modular partitions and openings accommodated changes in size or functions of a space. In the words of historic architect Mary Harding Sadler, “Improbable combinations of aluminum, cherry panels, brick, plastic laminate, and striated black and white book-matched marble create an interior of undeniable elegance and sophistication” (Sadler, National Register Nomination). The majority of the original finishes and furnishings were designed or specified by SOM with original furniture from the hands of Florence Knoll, Eero Saarinen, and Hans Wegner.
Historical:

This is one of the first great examples of American suburban corporate campus as well as a major point of transition in Gordon Bunshaft's work in the International Style (particularly at his famous and ingenious Lever House skyscraper in Manhattan (1952) from urban to suburban contexts. Bunshaft essentially turned the corporate skyscraper on its side and thereby making circulation horizontal instead of vertical. Bunshaft also followed this approach in the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company Headquarters (1957)

General Assessment:
The Reynolds Metals Company International Headquarters is important not only for its usage of cutting-edge building materials in a manner that adheres to the tenets of the International Style or simply because Gordon Bunshaft designed the Executive Office Building. The complex as a whole demonstrates a definitive moment in the evolution of the corporate campus strategy still in use today, and the buildings and landscaping successfully work together to deliver a deft design and a masterpiece of modernism.
Documentation
Text references:

Harris, Neil. "Architecture and the Business Corporation." In The American Corporation Today. Carl Kaysen, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. pp.436-86.
Sadler, Mary Harding and Peter McDearmon. "National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form: Reynolds Metals Company International Headquarters." Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission. Richmond, VA, 1999.
Terry Pristin. "Philip Morris USA Starts Its Move to a Historic Building." New York Times. New York, NY. 26 Nov. 2003.
Wilson, Richard Guy. 1998. Letter to the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects. 25 July.

Authoring
Recorder/Date: Susie Ranney (January 2011)

Pepsi-Cola Corporation World Headquarters

Added by intern_test, last update: November 14, 2011, 7:30 pm

Pepsi-Cola Corporation World Headquarters
View of southwest corner, source: Maurizio Mucciola, www.flickr.com/photos/maurizio_mwg/2327007328/ , date: July, 2007
Location
500 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10022
United States
40° 45' 47.7144" N, 73° 58' 13.908" W
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Commercial (COM)
Secondary classification:
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):

New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission: June 20, 1995

History of Building/Site
Original Brief:

When Alfred N. Steele left Coca-Cola Company to become the Board Chairman and chief executive officer of Pepsi-Cola, sales grew fast. The company decided to build an office building, not only to be its World Headquarter, but to be its asset. Robert W. Cutler, a SOM architect who knew Alfred Steele, successfully obtained the commission of designing the Pepsi-Cola World Headquarters office building. (Krinsky 65) In addition to the offices, the Pepsi-Cola World Headquarters Building original had a health club and service area in the basement, a ground lobby for a reception and a gallery for travelling exhibitions. The eleventh floor also had a pantry and a lounge.

Dates: Commission / Completion:Project Approval: October 24, 1957 (e) / Start of site work: October 7, 1958 (e) / Inauguration: April 25, 1959 (e) / Opening Ceremony: February 1, 1960 (e)
Architectural and other Designer(s): Architects: Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (partner in charge: Robert W. Cutler; project manager: Albert Kennerly; design partner: Gordon Bunshaft; senior designer for project: Natalie de Blois); Interior Designers: SOM; Structural Engineers: Severud-Elstad-Krueger Associates; Acoustical Engineers: Bolt Beranek & Newman; Mechanical and electrical Engineers: Slocum and Fuller; General Contractor: George A. Fuller Company
Others associated with Building/Site: Original Owner: Pepsi-Cola Inc.; Second Owner: Olivetti Underwood Corp.; Third Owner: Peter Kalikow; Fourth Owner: Securities Groups; Current Owner: Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States and Tishman Speyer Properties.
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s):
Current Use: The ground-floor was separated into two parts. The front part, facing the Park Avenue, now is TD Bank branch. The rear became an entrance of the rest of the building. The building now is still for commercial use, although the later building, 500 Park Tower, on its west side on 59th Street, which has a cantilever tower above it, is a mix-used building.
Current Condition: In 1980, James Stewart Polshek and Partners was commissioned to design the interior of Securities Groups Corporate Offices in the 10th and 11th floor of Pepsi-Cola Building, in the mean time, they were also in charge of the restoration of this building, which was owned by the Securities Groups Corporate that time(Polshek 45-46). The building is still in a good condition.
General Description:

Located on a 100’ X 125’ lot on the southwest corner of Park Avenue and 59th Street, the silver aluminum and glass façade of the Pepsi-Cola Building seems to be a symmetric rectangular 10-story office building, which is separated from its neighbor. Actually, this 13-story building is adjacent to the masonry building by its recessed L-shaped, black-granite-clad service core. Its visually clean-cut look earned high praise.
On the south side, the service core is recessed 15’ from its building line, which creates a visual separation. The opposite side, in order to comply with the zoning regulation of New York City, is set back 20’ from the building line. The glass wall of the ground floor on the east and north sides are also recessed with two piers in the exterior on the east side. Viewed from the Park Avenue, the 9-story curtain wall seems only supported by these two piers. Especially, the northeastern view of this building at night is like “an elegant box of glass and aluminum, floating on piers (Goldberger 154).”
The 13-story building contains the ground floor, divided by a large scale glass wall into an interior lobby for reception and exhibition use, and an exterior plaza; 9-stories of office space with the curtain wall, and the recessed penthouses, including the eleventh floor, which is set back the same distance as the ground floor for a boardroom and the remaining floors, further recessed, which were originally used for machinery. Being the largest part of the façade, the curtain walls, with polished gray-green plate glass windows, set within anodized aluminum frames, are divided into 5-bay on Park Avenue façade and 9-bay on 59th Street façade by I-shaped mullions. The proportion of the curtain wall, which is created by the aluminum and glass, is also considered to be one of the aesthetic reasons that makes this building so respected.
The interior of the ground floor was designed to be a reception and a gallery for travelling exhibitions. For an exhibition space, the recessed lights were used in the ceiling of the ground floor (In the current interior, these lights cannot be seen, but the recessed lights can be seen on the exterior ceiling of the ground floor). Because all the services were laid in the service core of the south and west end, the interior of the office floor are flexible and subdividable. The only restrain of the interior is the interruption of the 8 columns; even the partitions of offices were also movable. Partitions were designed to have glazed strips on top, which allowed natural light from the large size glass of the northern and eastern side to penetrate into the office cubes. The windows, viewed separated by the aluminum frame from the outside, are almost as high as the floor. The vertical blinds, which looked like high-quality mullions, were suggested to be designed intentionally. The exterior and the interior, which was also designed by SOM, show the modern aesthetic.

Construction Period:

The Pepsi-Cola Building is supported by 10 steel columns and reinforced concrete floor slabs. The steel columns, which are concrete fireproofed, were bolted together by the high-tensile strength bolting method, which was a new method in 1950s. The curtain wall is also considered as a technical innovation. In the book “Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill”, Carol Krinsky states, “The polished plate glass was made in the largest panes then obtainable, 9’x13’ and only 1/2” thick. The glass was cushioned by neoprene glazing strips, then sealed and secured with mastic to keep the joints between the glass and aluminum watertight without using heavy surrounding frames. The spandrels are made of encaustic-etched and anodized aluminum sheet a quarter-inch thick. Polished aluminum mullions… add a bright vertical accent to the horizontally emphatic design of the office stories (66).” The innovation of the curtain wall is not only a new technique, but a new way to create the exterior appearance.

Original Physical Context:

Located on the southwest corner of Park Avenue and 59th Street, the Pepsi-Cola Building was distinguished from its neighbors, a 20-story neo-Renaissance apartment to the south and the Nassau Hotel (originally the Hotel Roland, F. W. Fisher, 1897) to the west. Because the need of space of the Pepsi-Cola officers was relatively smaller, the height of the building would conflict with its neighbors. However, its modern appearance is still very different. The solutions of the problems were to set back the building line from the west side, and to cover the recessed wall with black-granite to the southern building. By this kind of design strategy, the building was considered as “respectful of the street and of the scale of its neighbors (Goldberger 154).”

Evaluation
Technical Evaluation:

As Gordon Bunshaft claims,”Even since we started doing skin walls, our effort was to make the metal as thin as possible. An ideal glass wall is one with no metal, but you needed the metal then because you had to make the wall strong to take the wind load, and you had to seal it properly. But we made this one as simple as possible at the time (Krinsky 66),” the innovation of curtain wall of this building is considered, not only in the progress of materials, but also in the progress of the construction method.
The materials used in this building, including the large, thin glass plate and the thin aluminum sheet, call people’s attention to this building. However, its construction details also were noticed by people. For instance, the German periodical “Bauen + Wohnen” introduced this building with the design sheet of curtain wall, in Oct., 1962. The curtain walls were highly praised for its elegance; but, the details of them were also worth to notice.
As Gordon Bunshaft claims,”Even since we started doing skin walls, our effort was to make the metal as thin as possible. An ideal glass wall is one with no metal, but you needed the metal then because you had to make the wall strong to take the wind load, and you had to seal it properly. But we made this one as simple as possible at the time (Krinsky 66),” the innovation of curtain wall of this building is considered, not only in the progress of materials, but also in the progress of the construction method.
The materials used in this building, including the large, thin glass plate and the thin aluminum sheet, call people’s attention to this building. However, its construction details also were noticed by people. For instance, the German periodical “Bauen + Wohnen” introduced this building with the design sheet of curtain wall, in Oct., 1962. The curtain walls were highly praised for its elegance; but, the details of them were also worth to notice.

Social:

Related to the famous SOM and the Pritzker Prize Winner, Gordon Bunshaft, the reputation of these people often makes people ignore other participators, especially a female architect after World War II. But it is undeniable that Natalie de Blois, the senior designer assigned to Gordon Bunshaft by SOM, was responsible for many details of this project, as well as other famous projects of SOM, including the Terrace Plaza Hotel of 1948 in Cincinnati, the Lever House of 1952 and the Union Carbide Building of 1960, both in New York. Her ability of being a senior designer was praised by others in SOM. The founder of SOM, Nathaniel Owings, described Natalie de Blois in his autobiography: “Her mind and hands worked marvels in design—and only she and God would ever know just how many great solutions, with the imprimatur of one of the male heroes of SOM, owed much more to her than was attributed by either SOM or the client.( qtd. in Paine 112).”
For a divorced working mother who raised four boys on her own, which was not popular in that period, Natalie de Blois was quite about her job in her early career life. But in 70’s, she began to write about the prejudices faced by female architects. (Paine 114). In 1974, having joined SOM in 1944 but having experienced thirty years of “working in others’ shadows” as a senior designer, de Blois left SOM. After that, she joined the Houston firm of Neuhaus & Taylor, and became a professor at the University of Texas in Austin.
Being a female architect and a working single mother, Natalie de Blois went from being a silent employee to an active member of the American Institute of Architect’s Task Force on Women; her story is inspiring to other female architects or working mothers. While planning Pepsi-Cola Building, Gordon Bunshaft was busy doing other project; this project was the best example of her design work in SOM.

Cultural & Aesthetic:
“The modernism exemplified by the Pepsi-Cola Building is that of the second wave of the International Style which flourished in this country in the post-World War II period (Landmark Preservation Commission 3).” The fact that this building is an International Style building is easy to tell from its structure, which is supported by the columns and floor, and its modular space. Although the building is asymmetrical, the intention to make the building visual symmetric is consistent with International Style. As it was described as "An elegant box of glass and aluminum, floating on piers but respectful of the street and of the scale of its neighbors. Like the Seagram Building, it is a jewel of metal and glass ..., one of the few instances of modern commercial architecture in New York succeeding at what it set out to do — create an elegant, refined, and civilized environment that would enrich the city at large (Goldberger 154-155)." One of the reasons that this building was praised form architects, critics and writes is the intention to be an modern building, but not produce conflict with its neighbors. This intention makes this building play an interesting role in its style.
Historical:

The Pepsi-Cola Building has been praised highly and widely since its completion. The building was awarded the “Building of the Year” by Municipal Art Society of New York in 1960, the same year of its completion. In 1961, one year after its completion, the American Institute of Architects gave it the “First Honor Award.” The third award this building received was the first City Club’s Albert S. Bard prize of Excellence in urban architecture.
Despite these awards for this building, Gordon Bunshaft, the design partner, was also famous. He was honored by several awards and medals, including the Brunner Prize of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1995, and its Gold Medal in 1984, and the Medal of Honor from the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The most famous honor he received was the Pritzker Prize, in 1988.
Bunshaft was influenced by the International Style and Mies van der Rohe’s buildings, and there are some Miesian elements found in this building. However, many buildings designed by Bunshaft also have the same elements. But the Pepsi-Cola Building, which is only 13-story high, is the only building which was designed in a small scale in New York City. As Sydney LeBlanc said in her book, “In contrast to the gargantuan office towers in the International Style, the Pepsi-Cola Building is comprehensible in size and scale, and perhaps this is why its subtle refinements make a stronger impression (109).”
Although it was praised for its small scale, ironically, the expansion tower next to this building is a 40-story high-rise building. The architect James S. Polshek continued the context of this building by giving the new building a metal-and-glass appearance. However, the small scale of the Pepsi-Cola Building was not the trend of office building design. The praises its earned still cannot change the investors’ mind.

General Assessment:
The Pepsi-Cola Building was seemed to be an International Style building. Furthermore, there are some elements that can distinguish its style more precisely?it is a Miesian style. The sleek curtain walls and thin vertical mullions are considered as Miesian elements. However, Bunshaft claims, “I don’t think that is necessarily Miesian: skin and bones. Mies, in my opinion…was really trying to enrich. He was making a statement which represented to me the essence of what America, the great steel country, should express. So he was not being a detail man trying to get a minimum; he was being a poet (qtd in. Krinsky 67).” Although he was influenced by Mies van der Rohe ,in this building, Bunshaft showed the different ideas, which were not found in his other design, of course, differed from Mies van der Rohe too.
Documentation
Text references:

Goldberger, Paul. The City Observed, New York: A Guide to the Architecture of Manhattan. New York: Random House, 1979. Print.
Krinsky, Carol H. Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. New York, N.Y: Architectural History Foundation, 1988. Print.
Landmarks Preservation Commission. "(Former) Pepsi-Cola Building (Now ABN-Amro Bank Building)." New York: Landmarks Preservation Commission. Jun. 1995.
LeBlanc, Sydney. 20th-century American Architecture: A Traveler's Guide to 220 Key Buildings. New York: Whitney Library of Design, 1996. Print.
Paine, Judith."Natalie de Blois." Women in American Architecture: A Historic and Contemporary Perspective : a Publication and Exhibition Organized by the Architectural League of New York Through Its Archive of Women in Architecture. Ed. Susana Torre. New York: Whitney Library of Design, 1977. Print.

Authoring
Recorder/Date: Ching-Hsuan Kuei
Additional Images
Pepsi-Cola Corporation World Headquarters
Floor Plan and Elevation, Source: Bauen + Wohnen, date: October, 1962
Pepsi-Cola Corporation World Headquarters
Elevation, Source: Bauen + Wohnen, date: October, 1962

Queens Place, formerly Macy's Queens

Added by intern_test, last update: August 17, 2012, 2:01 pm

Queens Place, formerly Macy's Queens
Location
88-01 Queens Boulevard
Elmhurst, NY 11373
United States
40° 44' 7.3104" N, 73° 52' 29.7048" W
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Commercial (COM)
Secondary classification:
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):

None

History of Building/Site
Original Brief:

In the early 1960s, Macy’s New York, a subsidiary of R.H. Macy & Co, commissioned Skidmore, Owings and Merrill to design an outpost in Queens oriented to car traffic. Macy’s already owned a branch in the Jamaica section of Queens, but the store could not be expanded due to parking and traffic concerns. The newly selected location in Elmhurst was situated in what the New York Times called “the heart of one of the fastest-growing sections of Queens, surrounded by new high-rise apartment developments” including the then in-progress Lefrak City, which was slated to open with 6,000 dwelling units. (Fowler) In 1963 Macy’s acquired an irregularly-shaped lot valued on its proximity to Queens Boulevard and the Long Island Expressway, the two major traffic arteries serving the area.

Permits were secured on the condition that Macy’s provide sufficient parking and access in the increasingly congested area. Parking was therefore key to the design of the new store. SOM presented a set of design options, each addressing the parking issue. Alongside the more conventional layouts proposed was an innovative circular design combining sales area and parking facilities in a single cylindrical building, 426’ in diameter. In this design, three selling floors were circled by five levels of 56'-wide parking rings, accessed and exited by two double-helical ramps adjoining the structure. From each parking level patrons would walk no more than 75' to the nearest entrance. A half flight up or down stairs would take patrons to the department of their choice, allowing for an approximation of the “curb-side” parking experience. The client did not immediately take to the idea. However, it was determined that to provide via a more traditional plan the same amount of parking space as the circular design, Macy’s would have to purchase an additional twelve acres of land. (Fowler) Macy’s was convinced, and the "store in the round” design was selected. ("Macy's Customers to Park In Elmhurst Store Building") Construction began in 1964 and the department store opened for business on October 11, 1965.

The store as realized in 1965 was uncompromised from the original design save for the issue of the corner lot on Queens Boulevard and 55th Avenue. The owners refused to sell, forcing SOM to cut a notch into the side of their otherwise perfectly cylindrical building.

Dates: Commission / Completion:Commission: 1964 Completion: 1965
Architectural and other Designer(s): Architects: Skidmore, Owings and Merrill; structural engineers: Seelye, Stevenson, Value & Knecht; mechanical engineers: Syska & Hennessy; interior architects: Copeland, Novak & Israel; general contractor: Walter Kidde Constructors
Others associated with Building/Site:
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s): Type of change: Construction of additional floor, interior alterations; Date: 2001 (c); Persons/organizations involved: Greenberg Farrow Architecture; Circumstances/reasons for change: SOM's original building was designed to expand one sales floor and two parking levels. In 2001 owner Forest City Ratner increased the building in size by 172,300 square feet to accommodate several large discount stores. The $100 million project is called Queens Place. (Shaman)
Current Use: The property is currently owned by Forest City Ratner Companies. The interior has been reconfigured as an enclosed mall divided among sixteen anchor tenants, including two restaurants. In addition to the three original selling floors, the basement level and fourth floor addition are now also used for retail.
Current Condition: The building has maintained its functional form, and despite a major redesign in 2001 the exterior very closely resembles the structure that debuted in 1965. Long-term occupancy by commercial tenants has likely contributed to the regular upkeep of the property. Alterations to the façade include the addition of extensive signs and a large panel listing the names of each tenant, in contrast to the single MACY’S sign originally installed.
General Description:

88-01 Queens Boulevard is set on a five-acre irregular-shaped site bordered by Queens Boulevard to the south, 55th Avenue to the west and 56th Avenue to the east. To the north, the site is bordered by Justice Avenue and a small section of 90th Street, rendering it almost pentagonal.

The cylindrical building is 426’ in diameter, situated on the southern portion of the site. The perforated façade is formed by poured-in-place concrete which has been sandblasted to expose a coarse white aggregate. The perforations permit the natural ventilation of the garage areas which surround the inner core sales floors. The second floor parking area overhangs the ground floor entrances, creating a pedestrian arcade supported by concrete piers. Sections of the arcade were walled off during the 2001 renovation to create additional ground-level storefronts. The sales floors are windowless and there is no exterior glazing to the façade. To the rear of the building are two double-helical ramps which provide access to the parking levels. (Drexler and Menges 42) A 2001 renovation saw the addition of a sixth parking level and fourth sales floor. The additional levels are concealed behind a maroon fascia built above the original parapet.

The most significant change to the original façade comes in the form of extensive colorful signage hanging above the main entrance on Queens Boulevard. A walk around the building to the unadorned east and west façades gives the observer a better sense of the original design of the building.

Construction Period:
Original Physical Context:

The site is located slightly west of the heavily trafficked intersection of Queens Boulevard and the Long Island Expressway, in the Elmhurst section of Queens, a borough of New York City. Elmhurst is approximately bordered to the north by Roosevelt Avenue, to the east by Junction Boulevard, to the southeast by the Long Island Expressway, and to the southwest by the Long Island Railroad. The neighborhood is bisected by Queens Boulevard, a large commercial strip. Elmhurst developed rapidly in the early 20th century due to the expansion of the subway system into western Queens. The area is known for its large apartment complexes, most notably the Lefrak City development. To accommodate the growing population, Queens Boulevard became a retail corridor and the location of several department stores, including this Macy's location.

Evaluation
Technical Evaluation:

The site’s high water table prevented building an underground garage, requiring parking to be accommodated above ground. (Stern 1073) Innovative use of a circular building shape maximized usage of an irregular-shaped lot. The garage "rings" constructed around the perimeter of the central core solved the parking issue as well as created a "curb-side" shopping experience.

Social:

The vertical design and layered parking take into consideration both the high-cost, densely populated land upon which it is built and the two types of customers it hoped to serve: those in cars and those on foot. Popularity of the automobile and the desire of people to go shopping with their cars lead to this aesthetic choice, as well as the client's desire to attract those same customers away from suburban shopping centers. The design, “in both size and emphasis on the automobile was clearly intended to compete with nearby suburban shopping centers” (Stern 1069).

Cultural & Aesthetic:
The innovative design and successful execution of a practical yet elegant solution for meeting shoppers’ needs was praised in both the local press and architectural journals. The New York Times wrote that the store was built with the “car-borne shopper first in mind” while at ground level display windows and decorative mosaic tile walls welcomed “the occasional shopper who comes on foot” (Fowler). Progressive Architecture noted, “The store will function as a civic monument, with light shining through the slits of the façade – a Queens Coliseum of sorts.” The reinforced concrete curtain wall reflects a technique typical of the Modern Movement. Criticism was minimal, and centered on the notch cut out of the façade near the southwest corner, which altered the approach and limited development of a planned outdoor plaza.
Historical:
General Assessment:
The building represents architectural innovation not only in technical design but also in social design, where form follows function, and the needs of the end user are taken into consideration during the design process.
Documentation
Text references:

Drexler, Arthur and Axel Menges. Architecture of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, 1963-1973. New York: Architectural Book Pub., 1974. Print.

Fowler, Glenn. "Macy's To Build Circular Store." The New York Times 13 Feb. 1964. Print.

"Macy's Customers to Park In Elmhurst Store Building." The New York Times 23 Feb. 1964. Print.

Montgomery, Paul L. "Macy's Opens Big Drive-In Store In Elmhurst." The New York Times 12 Oct. 1965. Print.

"The New Macy's Store Gets Good Marks in Traffic Flow ... but Fails Geometry." Progressive Architecture 44 (1965): 45. Print.

Shaman, Diana. "Commercial Property/Queens; Circular Building Adding 2 Floors and Big Retailers." The New York Times 14 Jan. 2001. Print.

Shaman, Diana. "Plans for Site Near Macy's." The New York Times 19 July 1981. Print.

"Shopping Centers and Stores." Architectural Record 139.April (1966): 149-70. Print.

Stern, Robert A. M., Thomas Mellins, and David Fishman. New York 1960: Architecture and Urbanism between the Second World War and the Bicentennial. New York, NY: Monacelli, 1995. Print.

Authoring
Recorder/Date: Edith Bellinghausen, November 2010
Additional Images
Queens Place, formerly Macy's Queens
Queens Place, formerly Macy's Queens
Queens Place, formerly Macy's Queens
Queens Place, formerly Macy's Queens
Queens Place, formerly Macy's Queens

United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel

Added by jon buono, last update: October 14, 2011, 7:58 pm

United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel
Exterior
Location
Cadet Drive and Faculty Drive
United States Air Force Academy, CO 80840
United States
39° 0' 22.2804" N, 104° 53' 10.0788" W
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Religion (REL)
Secondary classification:
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):
History of Building/Site
Original Brief:

The United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel is part of a larger complex, known as the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Area. The academy was commissioned on April 1, 1954, when president Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Public Law 325, providing for the establishment of the United States Air Force Academy as the primary undergraduate educational institution for the newly established Air Force. On July 23, 1954, the firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) was awarded the academy commission. Following the award of the contract, SOM established a project team. Walter Netsch was the director of the design office and played the most important role in the commission by selecting the other team members and overseeing every aspect of the Academy's design. Although he managed all of the design team, Netsch took primary personal responsibility for the Cadet Chapel, among two other structures on the site.

Netsch began working on the Chapel in 1954. The initial model was a folded plate building set on a slightly higher terrace than the Court of Honor and had an east-west orientation. It drew intense criticism from many sources, including Colorado Governor Edwin Johnson, who declared, ÒThe paganistic distortion conceived by them as a place of religion is an insult to religion and Colorado (NPS designation report). After these brutal attacks, the Air Force and SOM withdrew these plans and promised revisions. Congress approved funds for initial construction in 1955, but required a separate appropriation for the chapel.

Netsch spent several weeks in spring 1956 crossing Europe in search of a precedent for inspiration for the Cadet Chapel. He cited St. Francis of Assisi, La Sainte-Chapelle, and Chatres Cathedral as some of his inspirations. In terms of the overall form, Netsch claimed that the final design came to him through a doodle of a horizontal line, then a series of near-vertical connected lines. From this form, the idea of using tetrahedrons came to mind. He incorporated 100 four-sided structures of steel tubing to serve as the building blocks of a series of spires that would reach towards heaven, yet still flow logically from the design. "By literally placing the tetrahedrons on top of one another," stated Netsch, "I made an enclosure that embodies the concept of light and space – and that is the dominant part of church architecture" (TIME). The plan of the Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish chapels being stacked on two levels responds to a design directive to create three distinct worship areas under a single roof and Netsch's desire not to create a "supermarket cathedral," or a single chapel that can change faith at will. Since Protestants were in the majority, they received the largest chapel, with the Catholic and Jewish chapels below. The revised design was met with a more enthusiastic response. However, Netsch's design would put the chapel project over budget by $1 million. They questioned the rationale for having nineteen spires when in the past one spire per church had been sufficient. In the end, Netsch re-worked the design to only include seventeen spires and the plan and $3 million budget were passed by Congress in 1957, allowing construction to finally begin. Netsch originally specified sheet-metal flashing to prevent rainwater from entering the interior of the structure, but the Air Force Academy Construction Agency deemed it too expensive and opted to utilize caulk instead. Despite this concession, the chapel was constructed true to Netsch's plan. Its completion and dedication on September 22, 1963 marked the end of the first phase of construction of the Air Force Academy.

Dates: Commission / Completion:Commission Granted: July 23, 1954 / Design Unveiled: May 14, 1955 / Start of Site Work: 1957 / Completion: September 22, 1963
Architectural and other Designer(s): Architect: Walter Netsch of the firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) – Chicago office; Main Contractor: Robert E. McKee, Inc. (New Mexico); Restoration Firm: Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (Unknown project architect(s)); Choir Balcony & Organ: M.P. Moller Compay of Hagerstown, MD; Liturgical furnishings for Protestant & Catholic chapels: Harold E. Wagoner
Others associated with Building/Site: Duane Boyle, USAFA resident architect & preservationist
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s): Unknown date: Addition of rain gutter with downspouts at the middle of the A-frame, visually cutting the spires in half. Uknown date: Wire-glass storm sash placed over stained glass strip windows, which has greatly obscured their colorizing effect.
Current Use: Whole Building: Place of worship, located on the campus of the United States Air Force Academy. Of Principal components: The upper-most level contains the Protestant nave. The Catholic and Jewish chapels and one all-faiths room are located beneath it. Below both levels is a larger all-faiths room and two meeting rooms. There are no known proposals that would affect the concept or functions of the building.
Current Condition: In the original design, Walter Netsch specified sheet-metal flashing to prevent rainwater from entering the interior, but the Air Force Academy Construction Agency deemed it too expensive and opted instead for caulk. There are 34 miles of caulk on the structure, but it does not hold. Strong winds that rock the chapel and shift the aluminum panels cause it to fail and thus leak, which it has been doing for most of its 45-year existence. On the eve of the 50th Anniversary of the US Air Force Academy Cadet Area's construction, SOM was approached to pursue a restoration design for the chapel that would fix various structural problems, such as water infiltration, deteriorated components, as well as restore the chapel to its original form by removing any added elements that have negatively impacted the aesthetics. The firm's restoration philosophy was to employ state of the art systems and materials to preserve the profiles and original design intents. A complete investigation was conducted to analyze the problem areas, which included removing the chapel's aluminum exterior cladding. The firm recommended disassembling the aluminum panels and sealing the interior spaces with a silicone membrane. Doing so would stop the leakage and allow for the removal of the chapel's wire-sash storm glass that was placed over the stained glass strip windows in an attempt to keep water out. They would also be able to remove the rain gutters and downspouts that were added to the middle of the A-frame. The plan would cost over $30 million, which the Academy could not justify spending on a single building when others on the property are also in need of repair. Instead, they opt to spend anywhere from $200,000 to $400,000 each year to recaulk the chapel. Despite this preventative measure, the building still leaks during rainstorms, causing damage to pews, the organ, and Bibles. Additionally, the creaking sounds from powerful winds outside distract worshipers. It has been recaulked so many times that the anodized aluminum surface has become scratched, pitted, and stained.
General Description:

The Cadet Chapel is oriented in a north-south location on the southeast corner of the level of the Court of Honor. It is visually separated from the Court of Honor by a wide ramp, different surface treatments, and dissimilar landscaping to the west.
The structure consists of a tubular steel frame of 100 identical tetrahedrons. Each tetrahedron is 75'-0" long, weighs five tons, and is enclosed with clear aluminum panels. They are comprised of six-inch tubes with four-inch secondary cross-braces, which were manufactured in Missouri and shipped to the site by rail. Each tetrahedron is spaced a foot apart, which creates gaps in the framework that are filled with one-inch thick colored glass designed in Chartres, France. At the chapel level, the tetrahedrons between the spires are filled with a mosaic of colored glass in an aluminum frame. The structure rises 150'-0" from hinge to pinnacle, has an overall length of 280'-0", and is 84'-0" wide from hinge to hinge. The south-facing front façade has a wide granite stairway with steel railings capped by aluminum handrails and leads up to a one story landing. At the landing is a band of gold anodized aluminum doors. Above the doors is a glass wall. The triangular north façade consists of a glass curtain wall in an aluminum frame.
As previously mentioned, the structure contains three chapels of different denominations. The Protestant Chapel is on the main floor and is reached by exterior ascending stairs. It is designed to seat 900 cadets. Upon entering the doors, one walks through a wood-paneled narthex into the nave. This space measures 64'-0" x 168'-0" reaches 94 feet to the highest peak. The colored glass strips are comprised of twenty-four hues. The colors range in tone from violet at the narthex through red and blue to gold and the altar. Each gable end is glazed with amber glass. Above the narthex, at the rear of the chapel, is a choir balcony and organ. Both were constructed by M.P. Moller Compay of Hagerstown, MD. Harold E. Wagoner designed the liturgical furnishings for the Protestant and Catholic chapels.

The Catholic Chapel is located beneath the Protestant chapel and its nave consists of an essentially horizontal space that is 63'-0" wide by 113'-0" long and 19'-0" high, seating 500. With its gentle arches and stonework, the chapel suggests the architecture and masonry of a Romanesque Cathedral. It has a pre-stressed concrete ceiling that is coffered in a diamond pattern, which recalls the tetrahedron shape of the aluminum exterior.
The Jewish Chapel is also on the lower level and is a circular shape that seats 100. It has a diameter of 42'-0" and a height of 19'-0". The space is enclosed by a vertical grill with inserts of clear glass, which opens to the foyer. According to Netsch's design, all structural elements were eliminated, which he says, "…goes back to the ancient tents of the wandering Tribes of Israel, for each tent created…a non-structural space"(TIME).

Construction Period:
Original Physical Context:

Under the National Security Act of 1947, the United States reorganized its military, establishing the Air Force as an independent service equal to the Army and Navy. On April 1, 1954, then president Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Public Law 325, providing for the establishment of the United States Air Force Academy as the primary undergraduate educational institution for this new service. The law also included provisions to find a permanent site for the academy and to arrange for its design and construction.
By the end of April, 1954, 582 potential sites had been proposed for the academy's location. Secretary of the Air Force Harold Talbott announced the selection of Colorado Springs as the academy site on June 24, 1954. At the same time, a competition was being held to select an architectural firm for the project. On July 23, 1954, the firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) was awarded the academy commission. The firm had vast experience in government projects and had been chosen from over 300 applicants. SOM oversaw the entire academy project, which cost $126 million. However, it was the Cadet Area that received the most national attention since it was recognized as one of the most important architectural projects of the Cold War era as well as one of the country's largest single educational projects ever and one of the period's largest government projects. Like the earlier academies of Annapolis and West Point, the United States Air Force Academy became a national symbol of the American Military. Yet, it broke with both of these institutions in that the Academy was the first national shrine that was designed in the modern style. Additionally, it impacted the course of American architecture, partially due to the Congressional hearings at which its design was addressed. Congress controlled the construction funds and these hearings included discussions on which, "…architectural style would most appropriately communicate the philosophical and cultural agendas that defined this country following World War II." (Future Anterior) The design for the Academy was first unveiled to Congress and invited members of the press on May 14, 1955 at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. SOM's choice of an International Style modernist vocabulary was deemed controversial from the outset. SOM partner Nathaniel Owings justified the design, stating, "The challenge – our challenge – is to produce for generation to come – not just for today or for fifty years hence – an efficient, flexible, and simple solution to the design of your Academy; and yet – and above all – beautiful, lastingly beautiful. In other words, our challenge is to produce a timeless beautiful thing that works….We believe that the architectural concepts of the Academy buildings should represent this national character of the Academy, that they should represent in steel and glass, marble and stone the simple, direct, modern way of life – that they should be as modern, as timeless, and as style-less in their architectural concept, as efficient and as flexible in their basic layout as the most modern projected aircraft"(Future Anterior).

Evaluation
Technical Evaluation:
Social:

From the time Local Law 325 was signed by President Eisenhower, people understood that the creation and design of the new Air Force Academy was of national importance. The Cadet Area received the most national attention since it was recognized as one of the most important architectural projects of the Cold War era as well as one of the country's largest single educational projects ever and one of the period's largest government projects. Like the earlier academies of Annapolis and West Point, the United States Air Force Academy became a national symbol of the American Military. Yet, it broke with both of these institutions in that the Academy was the first national shrine that was designed in the modern style. The building, combined a mix of political, military, and religious symbols during the very years that the United States adopted the motto, "In God We Trust," and added the phrase, "Under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance. Additionally, it impacted the course of American architecture, partially due to the Congressional hearings at which its design was addressed. The Academy Chapel presented Congress with the nation's first major government-supported combination of religion and modern movement architecture.

Cultural & Aesthetic:
Walter Netsch had a unique challenge in having to design for and satisfy more than one specific congregation and one creed. Additionally, he was required to build a private place of worship for the cadets as well as create a national monument. Netsch felt that a single-spire motif would imply one religion, and a three-spire motif would not make any sense. The ultimate problem was how to design a building that would unmistakably be a house of worship without using traditional exterior architectural hallmarks of any one faith.
Historical:

When Netsch unveiled his original design, the critical reaction was brutal. Some people were outraged by the chapel's unorthodox architecture and it was referred to as "an assembly of wigwams," "a travesty on religion," and, "…an aluminum monstrosity that will look like a row of polished teepees upon the side of the mountains" (National Trust). Netsch stated that he, "…would rather people have some reaction to it, than have the cadets merely shrug and say, ‘And that's the chapel'"(TIME). Many of Netsch's architectural colleagues initially criticized him for not relating the building more closely to the setting. They felt that the jagged structure clashed with the rolling mountains nearby. Netsch felt that had he tried to relate more to the mountains, he might have clashed with the campus. His main priority was the cadet community.
1964: Cadet Chapel is WAS awarded the R.S. Reynolds Memorial Award from the AIA.
1965: Cadet Chapel is WAS awarded the Silver Medal of Honor from the Architectural League of New York for Design and Craftsmanship.
1996: AIA gave the chapel its prestigious 25 Year award, which recognizes American buildings of "enduring significance."
2008: AIA conducts a poll of the country's 150 favorite works of architecture. The Chapel is ranked #51.

General Assessment:
Documentation
Text references:

"Air Academy Chapel: New Design, Old Controversy." Architectural Record, v. 122 (Sept. 1957): 9-12.

"Air Academy Chapel Shapes Up." Architectural Forum, v. 114 (May 1961): 128-129.
"Air Force Academy Chapel, Colorado Springs, CO." Progressive Architecture, v. 40 (May 1959): 166-169.

"Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel restoration, Colorado Springs, CO." SOM Journal, v. 4 (2006): 92 – 105.

"Art: Spires That Soar." Time, (Friday, July 27, 1962). 3 March 2010 .

Hill, David. "Air Age Gothic." Preservation, (May/June 2008). Online from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 28 Feb 2010 .

osington, Daniel. "National Historic Landmark Nomination: United States Air Force Academy, Cadet Area." National Historic Landmark Nomination. 2003. United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service. 14 Feb. 2010 .

Nauman, Robert Allen. "Preserving A Monument: The United States Air Force Academy." Future Anterior, v.1 no. 2 (Fall 2004): 32-41.

"The Chapel, Unites States Air Force Academy, Colorado." Architectural Record, v. 132 (Dec. 1962): 87-92.

"United States Air Force Academy – Cadet Chapel." Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill LLP. 8 Feb. 2010 .

Ò United States Air Force Academy – Cadet Chapel Restoration.Ó Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill LLP. 8 Feb. 2010 .

Authoring
Recorder/Date: Christina Varvi / March 2, 2010 cav2114@columbia.edu
Additional Images
United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel
Protestant Chapel
United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel
Catholic Chapel
United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel
Jewish Chapel

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Added by IAvramides, last update: October 14, 2011, 10:03 pm

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Exterior view , source: Wikimedia Commons, date: 2007
Location
Independence Avenue at Seventh Street SW
Washington, D.C., DC 20013
United States
38° 53' 15.27" N, 77° 1' 18.8724" W
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Recreation (REC)
Secondary classification: Public Services (PBS)
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):
History of Building/Site
Original Brief:

The building was designed to house the Smithsonian Institution’s new contemporary art collection. Both the museum building and the collection were gifts of Joseph Hirshhorn, a uranium and mining magnate. In 1964 Sidney Dillon Ripley, the secretary of the Smithsonian, contacted Hirshhorn in order to encourage him to bequeath his collection of contemporary art to the Smithsonian (Hyams, 142). Hirshhorn’s attorney contacted Ripley and expressed Hirshhorn’s desire to have the museum named after him in order to donate his collection. Ripley agreed and continued to pursue the issue with Hirshhorn (Hyams, 142-43). On May 17, 1965, Hirshhorn expressed his terms, including that the collection be housed in a modern museum on the Mall to be named after him in perpetuity (Hyams, 144). On May 17, 1966 a proposed bill stipulated that Hirshhorn’s gift be accepted (Hyams, 153). It sparked controversy in Congress: “The museum site was contested, its name opposed, its donor disparaged, its sponsor investigated, appropriations delayed” (Hyams, 155). By September the bill had passed, including a construction budget of $15 million (Hyams, 157).

Dates: Commission / Completion:Gordon Bunshaft was announced as the architect of the museum building in January 1967. The design was unveiled (Kammen, 265) and groundbreaking took place (Hyams, 163) in 1969. In 1971, amid heavy criticism of the plan to lay the sculpture garden across the Mall Bunshaft modified his original design, shifting the garden’s orientation and location (Hyams, 176). The original design had also been modified so that Roman travertine on the exterior would be replaced with granite-chip concrete (Hyams, 167). The building opened in 1974 (Hyams, 183-84).
Architectural and other Designer(s): Gordon Bunshaft (Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill). Other works include Lever House (New York, NY, 1952), Beinecke Rare Books Library (New Haven, CT, 1963), and the Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Museum (Austin, TX, 1971).
Others associated with Building/Site: Nathaniel Owings (an early design by Owings was unappreciated by Joseph Hirshhorn and this may have led to Bunshaft’s involvement)
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s): Between 1979 and 1981 the Sculpture Garden was renovated and redesigned by Lester Collins, who created more intimate spaces and replaced pebbles with lawns, trees, and bushes (Fletcher, 25). Between 1991 and 1993 the Hirshhorn Plaza was renovated and redesigned by James Urban, who added areas of grass and trees (Fletcher, 28).
Current Use: The building is home to the Smithsonian Institution’s contemporary art collections.
Current Condition: No indications of lacking state of repair.
General Description:

The building is a three-story tall cylindrical concrete building raised fourteen feet on four massive pylons with a circular open court (Hyams, 183-84). The skin of the cylinder does not open to the exterior but for a single elongated balcony overlooking the Mall. Windows open in the interior towards the courtyard. The two floors containing the galleries consist of an inner and an outer ring separated by curved wall partitions so that paintings and sculpture may be exhibited separately. The inner and outer perimeters of the hollow cylinder are slightly eccentric – by only four feet.

Construction Period:

The building was constructed using 14'-0" x 7'-0" precast concrete panels (White).

Original Physical Context:

The building sits on the National Mall and forms part of the collection of buildings of the Smithsonian Institution.

Evaluation
Technical Evaluation:

The building made use of 14'-0" x 7'-0" precast concrete panels (White). These had a granite-chip finish (Hyams, 167).

Social:

The prospect of the erection of a modernist building on the Mall became the cause of intense controversy. Earlier (1939) the Smithsonian Institution had sponsored a design competition for a museum of contemporary art won by Eliel and Eero Saarinen and J. Robert F. Swanson, but the project was never built. The donor’s insistence on a building bearing his name in perpetuity led to further controversy. A 1970 column in the Washington Post wondered how a building “intended to memorialize a stock manipulator and convicted money smuggler” was “accorded an honored spot on Washington’s historic Mall” (Anderson). For the construction of the Hirshhorn Museum, the Army Medical Museum was demolished, after the National Park Service clarified that National Historic Landmark status was accorded only to the collections, and not the building (Hyams, 157).

Cultural & Aesthetic:
With the presentation of Bunshaft’s design of the museum “all hell broke loose,” and reporters “outdid one another in making fun of the circular design” (Kammen, 265). Ada Louise Huxtable focused on its scale and monumentality and called it “the largest marble doughnut in the world.” (“Marble Home Seen as a Realization of American Dream”). Unease at the building’s modern design persisted even after it opened. In a 1974 review in the Washington Post it was described as “an unabashed manifesto of the architecture of our time – the best and the worst of it” (Von Eckardt). This very mixed review concluded that although one could admire the building, one would “hardly love it.” It has been often compared to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, even though the rotunda of the 1959 building is small enough to fit inside the Hirshhorn’s courtyard.
Historical:

The building is the first manifestation of the U.S. government’s desire to develop a contemporary art collection for display on the Mall (Krinsky, 251). It represents the culmination of Joseph Hirshhorn’s patronage of twentieth century art.

General Assessment:
The Hirshhorn Museum is a fine late modernist building with a design and construction history that speaks about the acceptance of modernist architecture in America.
Documentation
Text references:

Anderson, Jack. “Mall Memorial to Hirshhorn Probed.” Washington Post, Times Herald 11 April 1970, C11.
Fletcher, Valerie J. A Garden for Art: Outdoor Sculpture at the Hirshhorn Museum. Washington, D.C.: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in association with Thames and Hudson, 1998.
Hyams, Barry. Hirshhorn, Medici from Brooklyn: A Biography. New York: Dutton, 1979.
Kammen, Michael G. Visual Shock: A History of Art Controversies in American Culture. New York: Knopf, 2006.
Krinsky, Carol Herselle. Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. New York: Architectural History Foundation, 1988.
Von Eckardt, Wolfgang. “Hirshhorn Enclave: You May Admire It, But You’ll Hardly Love It.” Washington Post 28 September 1974: B1+.
White, Jean M. “Museum of the Future.” Washington Post 15 April 1973: M1+.

Authoring
Recorder/Date: Ioannis Avramides, March 2009

Manufacturer's Hanover Trust Bank

Added by Rosalind Streeter, last update: August 17, 2012, 2:02 pm

Manufacturer's Hanover Trust Bank
Location
510 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY
United States
40° 45' 14.8392" N, 73° 58' 51.2256" 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:

It was designed as the Manufacturer's Trust Company's headquarters.

Dates: Commission / Completion:Completed 1954; Opened to the public October 4, 1954
Architectural and other Designer(s): Architectural firm - Skidmore, Owings, Merrill (Gordon Bunshaft) Landscape Architectural firm - Clarke & Rapuano
Others associated with Building/Site: Harry Bertoia (Barto, PA) - sulptor of the 70'-0' x 16' x 2' screen on the second floor, composed of 800 metal plates, also sculpted a metal mobile on the second floor Eleanor Le Maire - interior design consultant Horace C. Flanigan - president of Manufacturer's Trust Co. George A. Fuller Co. - builder
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s):
Current Use: JPMorgan Chase Bank
Current Condition:
General Description:

The Manufacturer's Hanover Trust Bank is a five-story glass and steel structure, which has a 100' glass curtain wall on Fifth Ave. and a 125' glass curtain wall on Fourty-third St. The main vault is on the ground floor. The thirty-ton steel door is 16' thick and 7' in diameter. The glass panels in the curtain wall are set in aluminum frames. The second-story panels are 22' x 10' x .5" and weigh 1500 lb. There are no opening windows. The three dark gray glass spandrel courses divide the upper floors. In order to diffuse an even yellow light, the original ceilings were covered with ribbed plastic panels that were illuminated by cold-cathode lamps. The neutral-color spun-glass curtains are the only screen against the sun.

Construction Period:

steel frame, glass curtain wall

Original Physical Context:

It was built for $3 million dollars in 1954.

Evaluation
Technical Evaluation:

Scaffolding is built into the facades to facilitate window washing.

Floors are canilevered from columns that support the whole building.

Social:

Even though the Manufacturer's Hanover Trust had more humble beginnings, the bank on Fifth Ave. catered to the upper class. Early photographs show only well-dressed caucasian women and men.

Cultural & Aesthetic:
"glass lantern"
Historical:

The glass panels on the second-story were the largest glass panels ever used in building construction at the time.

It is considered to be the first International Style bank in the United States.

General Assessment:
Documentation
Text references:

SOM News 1953 No. 3, 1954 No. 8, 1955 No.11, 1955 No.15
New York Herald Tribune September 23, 1954
New York Times November 13, 1954

Authoring
Recorder/Date: Rosalind Barr Streeter / March 4, 2008
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