Bunshaft Deconstructed?

Architecture, East, Preservation
Monday, January 31, 2011
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Manufacturer’s Trust Company, Fifth Avenue, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, New York, NY, 1954 Gelatin Silver Print © Ezra Stoller, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has put the Gordon Bunshaft-designed Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company Building onto its Public Meeting/Public Hearing agenda for tomorrow morning at 9:30AM. Up for discussion will be the building’s first and second floor interiors, including the entrance lobby, escalators, teller counters, and floor and ceiling surfaces.

The iconic vault designed by Henry Dreyfuss, which is visible from Fifth Avenue, and Harry Bertoia’s multifaceted metallic screen both made it on to the agenda. But according to Theodore Grunewald of the Coalition to Save MHT, the Bertoia has already been removed by Chase Bank, the sculpture’s owner.

Manufacturer’s Trust Company, Fifth Avenue, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, New York, NY, 1954 Gelatin Silver Print © Ezra Stoller, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

“Chase still has the sculpture, but they have not said where it is,” said Grunewald.

AN’s Jennifer K. Gorsche joined a chorus of alarmed bloggers back in October and turned up renderings of a proposal for a teen clothing store, Forever 21.

“It’s more than world class building, it’s a world monument,” said Grunewald. “People come from all over the world to see this building.”

The building also happens to be the subject of several Ezra Stoller photos, two of which shown here, are now on view at the Yossi Millo Gallery through February 12.

The gallery is closed on Mondays, but if you need a Stoller-fix stat, there will be lecture tonight on Stoller at the Center for Architecture called Mid-Century Modernism: as seen through the master’s lens. Architectural historian Kenneth Frampton will be joined 
by John Morris Dixon, Brook Mason, and 
Erica Stoller.

One Response to “Bunshaft Deconstructed?”

  1. Martha Henry says:

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I hope Landmarks acts so Chase will be required to restore the Bertoia to its original home. I knew the Bunshaft’s during the 1980s and had the pleasure of visiting their homes which he designed and filled with the art and furniture of his friends: Calder, Miro, Noguchi, Bertoia, Saarinen and others.

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