Seagram Building from Park Avenue
The Seagram Building located in midtown Manhattan is one of the finest examples of the International Style and corporate modernism. Designed by Mies van der Rohe, at the behest of the Canadian distillers Joseph E. Seagram's & Sons, the Seagram Building soars 516 feet over Park Avenue.
Ground floor plan of the Seagram Building
Mies intended to create an urban open space in front of the building, and it became a popular gathering area. In the late 1960s when New York City enacted a major revision to its 1916 Zoning Resolution (the nation's first comprehensive Zoning Resolution) it offered incentives for developers to install ‘privately owned public spaces’ which were meant to emulate the plaza of the Seagram's Building, however the following 40 years of development in Manhattan have done so with little success.
Corner detail Seagram's Building
Mies’ sensibilities would have preferred the steel frame to be visible; however, American building codes required that all structural steel be covered in a fireproof material, usually concrete. As a protective blanket of concrete hid the structure of the building, Mies suggested structure with the non-structural bronze-toned I-beams.