The Lava Lamp
Bringing Mediocrity to Eighth Avenue
Noted scenic designer Joseph Urban's 1927 masterpiece, the International Magazine Building, also known as the Hearst Building might effectively be destroyed by plans for a shimmering lava lamp.
Hearst Woos, and Wins, a Wary Neighborhood
New York Times, July 14, 2002 - Board 4 has a lovefest with skyscrapers. Council Member Gale Brewer dismisses neighborhood concerns.
CB4 Just Loves Skyscrapers
Hell's Kitchen Online, December 3, 2001 - We prefer to gag instead of going ga-ga over the proposed Hearst "Lava Lamp" Tower that might be built on top of the existing Hearst Building on the southwest corner of 57th Street and 8th Avenue. Community Board 4 voted to essentially destroy one of the few landmarks in Hell's Kitchen.
Landmarks Group Approves Bold Plan for Hearst Tower
New York Times, November 28, 2001 - The Landmarks Preservation Commission gave its blessing yesterday to a plan permitting the Hearst Corporation to complete the mid-Manhattan headquarters it began building 74 years ago.
The Hearst Building
959 8th Avenue, New York City
Hearst Communications, Inc.
New Development Began April 30, 2003
A 36-story glass office tower designed by Lord Foster of Thames Bank O.M., is being built atop the existing six-story Heast building at 959 8th Avenue on the corner of West 57th Street. The project is intended to consolidate the company's various magazine publishing enterprises under a single roof. The pre-existing Hearst Magazine Building was built in 1928 and landmarked in 1988. As a result, the renovation had to be approved by the City's Landmarks Preservation Committee. This building is expected to be completed in 2006.
The "Lava Lamp" office tower
Artist Bill Schwarz refers to a certain type of architectural addition as "spaceships settled on rooftops." Above is a picture of the one that will "finish" the Hearst building at 8th Ave. and 56th Street in Manhattan. Construction was halted during the Depression (I'd previously heard it was during World War II due to steel shortages), and "resumed," with a slightly different plan, this year. I believe the original five-story deco structure is in the historic registry--it always looked oddly truncated, but if it's going to be a "base" for something, dear God, why does it have to be this? A compendium of articles here calls it a "lava lamp," but I think I prefer "geodesic sock puppet."