The first post-war office building on Park Avenue (and the first fully air-conditioned commercial structure in New York City), 445 Park Avenue set the stage for future development along Park Avenue. The prominent architecture firm Kahn & Jacobs, architects of the landmarked Municipal Asphalt Plant (1941-44), designed this building. The rectilinear glass and limestone structure, with its dark granite base, is composed of four setbacks, adhering to the 1916 zoning law. Continuous ribbon windows and limestone spandrel panels give the building a sleekness in stark contrast to its contemporary buildings. Lever Brothers Company, Schweppes, Ford Motor Company, Monsanto Chemical Company, and Universal Pictures Corporation all leased space in the structure in the 1940s. The architects Buchman & Kahn, later the office of Ely Jacques Kahn, were responsible for numerous office buildings, loft and industrial buildings in New York City, many in the garment center. They were unsurpassed in their use of classical ordering to re-align the setbacks mandated by the 1916 zoning regulation into coherent compositions. It is significant that in this post-war building they address these very same requirements in a completely different manner: that of the international style. Thus, here as in the Look building we see architects used to working in a different mode working out the possibilities of a new language. All such midtown buildings tell the story of the development of modernism in the US.
Text courtesy: NYC Dept. Planning EIS East Midotwn Rezoning