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Lever House

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Lever House
Lever Building


Structure in General

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


commercial office


  • With its contemporary, the United Nations Secretariat Building, this was the first curtain wall structure in the city.
  • 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.
  • Lever House reflects a shift from the typically public, social uses of the International Style in Europe to corporate modernism in the USA.
  • 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.
  • In 1980 this building became the 11th recipient of the American Institute of Architects' prestigious Twenty-Five Year Award.
  • The architects were recognized with an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects in 1952.
  • 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).
  • The building was opened April 29, 1952.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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More Information


378-398 Park Avenue
62-80 East 54th Street, 51-67 East 53rd Street
390 Park Avenue at East 53rd Street, NW Corner to East 54th Street
New York City
New York


Technical Data

307.00 ft
307.00 ft
307.00 ft
283.00 ft

Involved Companies

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Features & Amenities

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