THE SONY BUILDING (550 Madison Ave.)
[Philip Johnson & John Burgee]
was completed in 1984 for its original owner, the AT&T telecommunications company.
Work on the building started in 1978, and from the beginning this 38-storey building created heated debate both for and against. The city agreed to allow the vertical massing of the building as a zoning remission against the public amenities in the form of open-air gallery spaces, as well as AT&T's promise to retain its activities in the building well into the future.
To make this 197.5 m tall building look more monumental, Johnson topped it with the unique, curving post-modernist "chippendale" forms. Like his work on the Seagram Building for International Style, also this building was a model for a new style for others to follow.
The building is clad in grayish-pink granite from the same quarry that supplied the facade facing for Grand Central Terminal.
Structurally, the building employs tube frame in its framework, with the tubular columns tied with trusses at the top and bottom.
560 Madison Avenue (at 56th Street)
New York NY
Philip Johnson 1984
Carter Wiseman describes the building as 'a unique fusion of aesthetic rebellion and corporate commerce... less architecture than it was logo, less work of art than hood ornament.'
Iconic American architect Philip Johnson has died at 98. Many of Johnson's bulidings are familiar sights to New Yorkers, including the AT&T-now-Sony building at 550 Madison Avenue (known as the Chippendale building), the State Theater at Lincoln Center, and the sculpture garden at the Museum of Modern Art, and he worked with Mies van der Rohe on the Seagram Building. Other famous designs include the Glass House in Connecticut and the Garden Grove Church in L.A.