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Your Location: World North America U.S.A. New York New York City Lever House

Lever House

Identification

Lever House
Lever Building
115090

Map

Structure in General

high-rise building
existing [completed]
steel
glass
curtain wall
dark green
international style

Usage

commercial office

Facts

  • Lever House reflects a shift from the typically public, social uses of the International Style in Europe to corporate modernism in the USA.
  • With its contemporary, the United Nations Secretariat Building, this was the first curtain wall structure in the city.
  • The skyscraper's pared-down functionalist form - its rejection of historical associations in favor of simple geometries and repetitive modules of mass produced components - is typical of the International Style.
  • At the time of its construction, this steel and glass prism was the only corporate building among the avenue's masonry residential structures and marked the emergence of corporate Park Avenue North.
  • In 1980 this building became the 11th recipient of the American Institute of Architects' prestigious Twenty-Five Year Award.
  • Designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP; Bunshaft is also responsible for the enormous One Chase Manhattan Plaza in downtown Manhattan.
  • To create the lightest looking possible curtain wall, the mullions were made narrow and reflective and the spandrels were clad with opaque glass (as a totally transparent wall was impractical).
  • Although widely considered as an icon of modernism and pioneer of new style, the use of glass panels between floors to make the outside look even lighter is not considered as structural honesty, opposite to other icons such as AMA Plaza or Lake Shore Drive Residences in Chicago.
  • The architects were recognized with an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects in 1952.
  • This 24-storey building replaced the heavy (and heavy-looking as well) masonry walls of the contemporary skyscrapers with mere green-tinted glass curtains and stainless steel sheathing.
  • Lever House provided the influence for London's Marathon House which also features a fully-glazed curtain wall and the use of green glass.
  • Although the building was also criticized for its appearance amidst the old masonry apartment houses, it was nevertheless usually taken with enthusiasm as a pioneer of the new style.
  • The building was also revolutionary in being the first skyscraper to utilize the clause in city zoning regulations that allowed a building to rise straight up without setbacks if it occupied only a quarter of the plot.
  • The building was opened April 29, 1952.

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More Information

Location

378-398 Park Avenue
390 Park Avenue at East 53rd Street, NW Corner to East 54th Street
10022
U.S.A.

Technical Data

307.00 ft
307.00 ft
307.00 ft
283.00 ft
21
1950
1952
6

Involved Companies

Architect:

Also recorded for this building:

client, facade designer, facade supplier, formwork supplier, general contractor, interior designer, mechanical engineering, owner

Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
  • City landmark
  • Courtyard is present