The Seagram Building is recognized as one of the world's great architectural masterpieces. The distinctive landmark building was commissioned in 1958 by the Seagram Company. Clad in 1500 tons of bronze, it was noted for the metal vertical columns affixed the the curtain wall to express structure. Window shades operated in only 3 positions. Its plaza caused the NY City Zoning ordinance to be changed in 1961 to allow ten additional square feet of interior space for each square foot of street-level open space. With that provision, plazas soon appeared at office building sites throughout the city. The New York Times heralded the Seagram Building as "the millennium's most important building."Charles Bronfman had made his fortune in bootlegging and had a dubious reputation which he was anxious to redeem. So he bought the block on 53rd Street. He actually commissioned Charles Luckman to do a design. His daughter was travelling in Italy at the time; he sent it to her and she wrote back 'NO NO NO NO'. She took on the role of hiring the architect. She ended up hiring Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, then Architecture Curator at the new Museum of Modern Art. The building's elegant simplicity juxtaposed against its constructional rigor embodies Mies van der Rohe's famed dictum "less is more" and personifies modern architecture.

Constructed, 1958



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