Inside the Archtober Building of the Day #14: the Metropolitan Tower

W. 57th POP (Privately Owned Public) Space

The West 57th Street POP (Privately Owned Public) Space by Rogers Marvel. (Courtesy Rogers Marvel)

The Metropolitan Tower is the wedge-shaped, Darth Vader-like all black glass monolith next to Carnegie Hall. Rising a tidy 716 feet in 77 stories of offices in the low-rise portion and residences in the high rise, the AIA Guide to New York City tells us that its developer Harry Macklowe claimed to have designed it himself. Not true! Schuman, Lichtenstein, Claman & Efron (now SLCE Architects) get the credit for the 1987 tower.

A reflection in the West 57th POP.

A reflection in the West 57th POP.

Rogers Marvel Architects took a second look at the passarelle connecting 56th and 57th Streets. Sticking with the black theme, they switched from glass to shiny black aluminum panels for the walls. The reception desk was glowing blue when I passed through, and ESPN was twinkling on the 200-foot-long digital display strip. I was a bit unhappy because I couldn’t get the money shot with my metallic blue flower shoes (see Day 3).

But outside I did much better with the Christian de Portzamparc extravaganza going up right across the street. I’ve done some hanging out there producing the Heritage Ball video of honoree Gary Barnett, the founder of Extell Development Company. One57, as the tower is now called, will be the tallest residential building in the city. The now visible undulating concrete structure hints at the shape of things to come. On my morning dog walks, from Central Park’s Great Lawn, I can just see it peeking out from behind the Essex House. I can’t wait to see more!

-Cynthia Kracauer

To take the tour of tomorrow’s Building of the Day click here: Lincoln Center Public Spaces.

Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the rest of the month—Archtober—we will write here a personal account about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture.


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