Follow Daily Icon

Email Address:


Warning: parse_str() expects parameter 1 to be string, array given in /home/clients_ssl/www.dailyicon.net/www/magazine/wp-content/plugins/fold-category-lists-231.php on line 296

Case Closed: Manufacturers Hanover Trust Building

An agreement reached with preservationists for the Manufacturers Hanover Trust building, a Modernist masterpiece designed by Gordon Bunshaft for Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM) in 1954. As part of the agreement, Vornado, the building’s current owner, asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission to amend the certificate of appropriateness issued in April 2011 to allow the reinstallation of two Harry Bertoia sculptures. SOM is overseeing the current renovation of the building. Vornado will also ask the Commission to expand the landmarking to include the interior of the former vault space. “Our staff could cite no other recent example where an owner requested the agency to increase the area of an interior landmark,” Landmarks spokesperson Elizabeth de Bourbon said in an email.

The agreement is unusual for several reasons, not the least of which is that one of the building’s former owners, JP Morgan Chase, still owns the artwork. One is a 70-foot-wide multi-paneled bronze screen designed for the second floor space that served as a textured backdrop inside the glass box. The second is a spindly mobile representing a cloud. The bank removed both sculptures after Vornado completed the deal to buy the building from Tal Prop Equities in October 2010. Almost immediately the architecture press, led by Ada Louise Huxtable at The Wall Street Journal, called for the sculptures’ return. Huxtable said that the removal of the sculptures was “a perverse form of preservation that begins with a profound misunderstanding of the sculptures function as an essential architectural element.” With the crash of 2008 still fresh, the critic warned that despite the bank’s assurances, sometimes, troubled institutions will ship their “expendable assets” off to Christie’s or Sotheby’s.

Manufacturers Hanover Trust Building, by Gordon Bunshaft for Skidmore Owings and Merrill (SOM), Photography by Ezra Stoller, via The Architect’s Newspaper

Monday, March 5th, 2012

DC10 Chair by Inoda + Sveje
No.216 Sideboard by Jesper Ståhl for Voice


Post a comment

Editor's Picks

Konstantin B
…the compensation for all the things you simply did not do, polished to perfection. [more...]

Suggested Reading

The Story of Eames Furniture
Brimming with images and insightful text, this unique book is the benchmark reference on what is arguably the most influential and important furniture brand of our time. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

The Guggenheim: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Making of the Modern Museum
First-ever book to explore the process behind one of the greatest modern buildings in America. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

MoonFire: The Epic Journey of Apollo 11
A unique tribute to the defining scientific mission of our time, the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

Cars Freedom Style Sex Power Motion Colour Everything

Freedom Style Sex Power Motion Colour Everything. This lavish and beautifully designed book is the gift book for all car enthusiasts and design aficionados. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

Design Icons

Fjordfiesta Scandia Senior
by Hans Brattrud

A Norwegian furniture design classic from 1957, Scandia Senior is a comfortable high-back easy chair with a leather head cushion, on a satin swivel base. [more...]


More Books

Case Study Houses
“It’s a huge coffee-table book, which analyses each of the houses in chronological order, with plans, sketches and glorious photographs.” [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

The Eames Lounge Chair
The book examines the evolution of a design icon and places it in its cultural, historical and social context. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

The U.N. Building
Symbol of world humanitarianism, a beacon of unity after the Second World War. More than 50 years on, the 39-story building is regarded as one of the pinnacles of mid-century modernism. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

Loblolly House
Including a DVD of the film "A House in the Trees", a real-time documentary of the design, fabrication, and assembly of this amazing house. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

The Shape of Things to Come. An up-to-date comprehensive survey on furniture and object design today, showcasing the crème de la crème of designers. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

Marcel Wanders
Behind the Ceiling is the first monograph on one of the most influential, prolific and celebrated international designers today. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon

How to Wrap Five Eggs
A mid-60s classic of Japanese design. Stunningly laid-out paean to traditional Japanese packaging is rife with sumptuous black and white photos of all manner of boxes, wrappers and containers that appear at once homely and sophisticated, ingeniously utilitarian yet fine and rare. [more...]
Buy it here: Amazon