It’s a big one allright. When the PanAm (now:MetLife) Building opened its doors in 1963, it was the largest commercial office building in the world. Being on top of the intersection of Park Avenue and 44th Street, its size is being prominently displayed as a canyon-blocker. It’s a big one by size and prominence. Being an epitome of commercial development, it represents the era of the Jumbo skyscrapers.
It’s okay to dislike it as you’re not the only one. First, it’s a bit of a bully. It dwarfs the New York Central Building to the north and the Grand Central Terminal to the south. In 1987, a poll conducted by the lifestyle periodical New York indicated that the tower was the building that New Yorkers would most like to see demolished. It’s also the last tall tower erected in New York City before laws were enacted preventing corporate logos and names on the tops of buildings. It even was voted as a contestant in our Ugly Cup tournament, although it didn’t pass the first round. When put up against its Chicago equivalent, it lost.
The good news is that the Ornamental Metal Institute of New York is here to help. Their 2016 Design Challenge invites architects, engineers, students, designers, and others from all over the world to submit their vision for recladding this New York City icon with a resource-conserving, eco-friendly enclosure—one that creates a highly efficient envelope with the lightness and transparency sought by today’s office workforce while preserving and enhancing the aesthetic of its heritage. Submittals must address the recladding of all exterior wall components of 200 Park Avenue in New York City to reduce the building’s energy consumption.
This is an ideas competition you won’t be greening this one for real, but to show they mean business they came up with a $15,000 first prize. Everything you need to know to get started can be found at metalsinconstruction.org. Enjoy!share this!