Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Considered on of the most elegant skyscrapers in New York, Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram building has been copied countless times yet rarely equaled. It’s elegant proportions and innovative placement on the site that creates a forecourt with reflecting pools and a low boundary wall in green marble sets the building apart from it’s context and announces it’s opulence and quality. The successful translation of ideas from his seminal Barcelona Pavilion (1929) to a large scale project gives the building a distinguished presence at both street level and within the streetscape.
One of the defining features of the Seagram building is the application of bronze I-beams to the exterior of the building. The I-beams create a subtle ornament and texture to the otherwise flat facade and reinforces the verticality and proportions of the building.
The exquisite detailing and command of new and old materials gives the Seagram building a quality and richness that is lacking in so many skyscapers. The relationship of the inhabitant and the materials and their ability to define space and create atmosphere with minimal means is remarkable. The relationship between the various parts of the building and different materials through precise detailing reinforces the consistency of the ideas and language of the building.