Whenever I get up to New York I try to work some ‘play’ time into my schedule. For me, ‘play time’ in NYC involves cameras and architecture! Whether it consists of wandering out from where ever I happen to be and seeing what there is to be seen, or heading out with a plan, there’s always great architecture to be found.
On my most recent trip earlier this year, I was on a mission… my target: what’s been called “the millennium’s most important building,” Ludwig Mies van der Rohe‘s Seagram’s Building at 375 Park Ave. I was certainly aware of the Seagram’s Bldg., but my travels had never taken me by it (I guess I don’t often travel in Park Ave. circles!). I set out to rectify the oversight.
In addition to being perhaps “the millenniums most important,” it may also be it’s most understated. It’s ultra-clean lines, and it’s dark edifice of ‘whiskey-brown’ tinted glass and bronze-clad structural steel combine to make the building appear to retreat from the eye. And placed as it is on the rear-third of it’s site and fronted by an expansive plaza, the building sits almost hidden by it’s protruding neighbors until your approach reveals it’s presence. Once in sight, it’s hard to pull your eye away.
The Seagram’s inspires contemplation. Gazing on the building while strolling around it, and the serenity of the design encourages a stroll, the eye is repeatedly delighted as the simple lines evolve into one pleasing composition after another, and subtle details reveal themselves. I found my stroll interrupted time and again as the building demanded that I dwell on it.