With new name, former GM building gets uglier

New York /
Apr.April 05, 2010 02:03 PM
Joseph Moinian’s 1775 Broadway (building photo source: PropertyShark)

Granted that, as architecture goes, the former General Motors Building, at 1775 Broadway between Broadway and Eighth Avenue and 57th and 58th streets, is no beauty. In fact it is downright ugly — an overbearing and unimaginative study in pre-war red brick with a tasteless splash of mortar at street level. It took two firms to create this thing, with William Welles Bosworth contributing the pale granite base and Shreve & Lamb of Empire State Building fame finishing the brick-clad upper floors.

But whatever one thought of their collaboration, no building deserves the indignity to which this one is now being subjected at the hands of the Moinian Group, which has decided to change the building’s address to 3 Columbus Circle and reclad the building in a cheap-looking layer of bluish, reflecting glass that is acrobatically tactless in this context (not that it looks especially good anywhere else).

Worse still, they are not actually replacing the brick. Perhaps because that would be too costly (and thus destructive of the cheap look that they seem to be going for) they have decided to encase the brick in a layer of glass that covers the surface like an endless length of Saran Wrap.  

Even worse than that, in order to carry out what should never have been started in the first place, they have encased all four sides of the building, which occupies its entire block, in scaffolding for the past several years, which would be, at best, inconvenient enough to the people who live and work around there if, at the end of the ordeal, some beautiful architecture were in the offing. 

This act of recladding really amounts to little more than vandalism in slow motion. In the future, there should surely be more oversight to forestall any comparable affronts to taste in the future.

James Gardner, formerly the architecture critic of the New York Sun, writes on the visual arts for several publications.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Michael Jordan with 1 West 34th Street
Sneaker shop makes big jump to 1 West 34th Street
Sneaker shop makes big jump to 1 West 34th Street
SpringHealth CEO April Koh, 60 Madison Avenue and Moinian Group’s Joseph Moinian (SpringHealth, VTS, Moinian)
Youngest female unicorn CEO moves startup to Moinian’s 60 Madison Avenue
Youngest female unicorn CEO moves startup to Moinian’s 60 Madison Avenue
Moinian's Joseph Moinian and Bushburg's Jordan Franklin with rendering of Empire State Dairy Company residences (Moinian Group, LinkedIn, Bushburg)
Bushburg, Moinian snag $105M loan for East New York luxury project
Bushburg, Moinian snag $105M loan for East New York luxury project
Empire State Realty Trust’s Tony Malkin and L+M’s Ron Moelis. Carbon molecules floating from an open book, against nyc skyline (iStock, Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal)
NY unveils “playbook” for building owners to cut emissions
NY unveils “playbook” for building owners to cut emissions
Empire State Realty Trust's Anthony Malkin (Getty, iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
More multifamily deals coming, Tony Malkin says
More multifamily deals coming, Tony Malkin says
Residents at Sven in Long Island City will be able to control the light show atop their building, as well as some in Manhattan. (Spireworks)
LIC tower giving residents chance to light up night
LIC tower giving residents chance to light up night
Empire State Realty Trust CEO Tony Malkin (Getty, iStock)
ESRT braces for more pain at Empire State Building
ESRT braces for more pain at Empire State Building
Joe Moinian with 123 Linden Blvd (The Moinian Group)
Moinian nabs $223M refi for Flatbush apartment complex
Moinian nabs $223M refi for Flatbush apartment complex
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...