Former AT&T Building May Become Landmark but Interiors Remain Threatened – Architectural Record

Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s AT&T Building, now referred to as 550 Madison Avenue, is being thought-about for landmark designation. Nevertheless, questions stay about the way forward for the constructing’s inside areas, notably the bottom flooring foyer.

After listening to a quick presentation on the Publish-Fashionable constructing’s historical past Tuesday morning, the New York Landmarks Preservation Fee (LPC) determined so as to add the constructing’s exteriors to its calendar—step one within the landmark designation course of.

“Possibly for the primary time, the fee will lead within the dialog a couple of explicit architectural paradigm,” mentioned LPC chair Meenakshi Srinivasan, noting that the AT&T Building’s design was controversial when it was constructed, and stays so as we speak.

“But there nonetheless are causes for the fee to consider this,” she continued. “It’s in all probability the primary and undoubtedly essentially the most iconic Publish-Fashionable constructing in New York Metropolis.” The designation would defend the exteriors solely.

The LPC’s initiation of the landmarking course of comes nearly a month after Snøhetta, the design architect for the constructing’s upcoming $300-million renovation, launched their proposed design, which might alter the facade of the six decrease ranges, develop enclosed public house on the bottom degree, and add a multi-story penthouse slightly below the Chippendale crown of the 37-story constructing.

The proposal was broadly criticized—even prompting a street protest—by architects, preservationists, and critics for eradicating unique parts of the constructing, notably changing the rose-coloured granite base with a glass curtain wall.

“That is landmarking at its best,” mentioned Liz Waytkus, government director of Docomomo US, who attended the morning assembly in Decrease Manhattan. “Inside one month this constructing went from endangered and threatened to calendared by Landmarks.”

The latest software for LPC to contemplate designating the constructing a landmark was filed October 31—a day after Snøhetta’s design proposal was launched—by preservationist Thomas Collins. An earlier software to designate the constructing and its foyer had been filed by Brooklyn artist John Jurayj in February 2016. The constructing grew to become eligible for landmarking after its 30-year anniversary in 2014.

If 550 Madison turns into a landmark, the outside will stay unchanged, with any proposed alterations requiring LPC’s approval.

But work permits have already been issued for work contained in the constructing.

The foyer of 550 Madison Avenue as of October 30, 2017. Picture © Thomas Collins

One allow, issued August 3 to Spector Group, an structure and planning agency, describes a venture on the second and third flooring as “elimination and set up of inside non bearing [sic] partitions and associated finishes.” The venture is estimated to value about $428,000.

One other allow was issued to Gensler, a member of the group engaged on the building’s recently-announced renovation, on October 26 for “set up and removals of inside partitions, fixtures and finishes for elevator foyer scope” on the 23rd flooring. The estimated value of the work is listed as $.66 million. The constructing proprietor, Olayan America, and improvement accomplice, Chelsfield, wouldn't touch upon the character of both companies’ work.

As well as, repairs to the well-known Madison Avenue facade, listed in a allow issued August 2 to engineering group Thornton Thomasetti, are ongoing, as are a number of different inside tasks associated to fireside security programs.

Olayan and Chelsfield issued an announcement following the LPC’s calendaring declaring their help of landmark consideration.

“We're dedicated to making a rejuvenated 550 Madison that retains its necessary presence, works for future tenants, and realizes lengthy-promised public facilities to the bigger Midtown neighborhood. And we sit up for additional collaborating with the LPC to make that occur,” mentioned David Laurie, Chelsfield’s managing director, in an announcement.

What meaning for the Snøhetta design, commissioned by Chelsfield and Olayan, is unclear. The structure agency wouldn't remark.

With Olayan and Chelsfield’s said help and the LPC’s unanimous determination to calendar the constructing, designation seems doubtless, but, once more, landmark standing is just being thought-about for the outside of the constructing, regardless of some commissioners’ feedback about their want to contemplate the foyer, as soon as residence to the so-known as “Golden Boy” statue (formally named the “Spirit of Communication”), which is now in AT&T’s headquarters in Dallas.

“In some methods the foyer is essentially the most spectacular half,” mentioned Jurayj, the Brooklyn artist, who had by no means seen historic references in up to date structure till he noticed Johnson’s design. “And right here comes this bombastic, granite-clad [interior] like a Roman temple.”

Nathan Eddy, a documentary filmmaker who has been spearheading a public marketing campaign to landmark the constructing in partnership with Docomomo, plans to current a proposal for the LPC to incorporate the foyer, doubtless on the LPC’s public listening to, which isn't but scheduled. The subsequent step within the landmark designation course of is LPC’s in-home manufacturing of a whole analysis report on the constructing.

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Former AT&T Building May Become Landmark but Interiors Remain Threatened - Architectural Record