Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Midtown, 56th Street at Madison Avenue

Mary Sargent © 2010 ………………….…………… …….....…………….. click to enlarge

I do want to talk about this notorious building with its Chippendale pediment, but I can't do it justice at this late hour.  This is the Sony Building, formerly the AT&T building, of Philip Johnson, one of the leading architects of the modernist period.  Come back tomorrow.  It's worth getting into.
6/3 - Okay, so Philip Johnson championed the International Style of architecture and introduced it to the United States in a show he helped organize at The Museum of Modern Art in 1932, featuring, among others, the European architects Le Corbusier and Mies Van der Rohe.  The principles of the style, according to Johnson, were 1) emphasis of volume over mass, 2) asymmetry and 3) NO decoration.  The Seagram Building is a perfect example of this style.  See also the United Nations, designed by Le Corbusier.  However, Johnson lived a long time (98 years) and there came a time when he got bored with the International Style.  But you know how people get upset when you change.  Just think of Bob Dylan.  So when he built the AT&T Building and put a split pediment on top of it, looking like the top of a piece of furniture, some people carried on quite a bit about it.  This was in 1984, a couple of years after I moved here, and I remember the complaints.  Now, however, it is seen as one of the first expressions of postmodern architecture.  A good thing.  Witty and fun.

Note how I managed to get the pediment in the photo.  But you'll get better views and lot of them at New York Architecture images.

No comments: