Severud Associates
Built in
157 m
New York, United States
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The Seagram Building is a modern office tower designed by famed German architect Mies van der Rohe, in collaboration with Philip Johnson.

This office skyscraper built in New York in 1958 is in many ways the culmination of the purification process of expression, without any compromise in the ornamental, for high-rise buildings that Mies van der Rohe had started earlier in the decade with the Lake Shore Drive Apartments and had continued with other examples in Chicago as the Paseo del Commonwealth departments and the Esplanade. It is a sign of his rationalist mentality, an exercise in architectural elegance that use few elements measured results in one of the most beautiful jewels of twentieth century architecture.

It is the headquarters of the Seagram corporation, originally belonging to a rich bootlegger during Prohibition by selling alcohol illegally.


The building is located exactly at the 375 Park Avenue, between the street No 52 and No 53 in downtown Manhattan. In the city of New York, USA


Symbol of contemporary industrial world, illustrates the architect’s motto “Less is more” showing that a simple building can be just as surprising that a building with more composite designs.

The Seagram Building is a refined synthesis of rationalist architecture in which Mies had formed, the international style that was beginning to dawn on architecture since 1950 and the contributions of the Chicago school.


One of his most original details is that instead of taking up all the available solar, Mies van der Rohe decided to release a space next to the building destined to square, so that when approaching the same sense of scale generated by the game full -empty (building-square) and by the proportions of the building itself hardly features found in a city like New York.

Asked the architect for the reason that post, he replied that the skyscraper retranqueba “to view it. If you go to New York, you really have to look at the marquees to know where you are. Not if you want to see the building, only see it from far. ” The seat construction allows breathing amidst an urban density in the crushed leaves the viewer edification.


It was evident that a building of such height would have a huge area of blinds, whose users tend to upload or download them as they liked. To avoid this display of disorganization, designed them so that solely having three possible positions. This aimed to maintain visual uniformity of construction. In addition, the mixture of external profiles stained with crystal tone of the skyscraper, whose basic function is to reduce the interior temperature, contributes to more sober yet, if possible, the external image of the building, a dark glass prism in the middle one of the main avenues of New York.


Mies designed his building to the manner of ancient columns, with bases, shaft and capital.

Indeed, the basement, put on a sumptuous marble plaza with fountains dry, houses the lobby, however the ground in the ground floor is cleared and the building is supported on piles, the shaft remains undifferentiated for the succession of office floors, which ends in a triple body height, while continuing strictly the volume of the tower, is expressed plastically as the pinnacle of the whole.

To access the plaza area, we must undergo a staircase between two large pillars or pedestals, where they spread sheets of water in symmetry, which is very characteristic of classical antiquity.

The building is 157 meters high, spread over 39 floors.



It is a rectangular building supported on piles


The floor of the Seagram’s, as in the Lake Shore Drive, a rectangle of 5×3 squares structural modules. But the elevation of the building achieves its expressive perfection, simulating a column with its three constituent parts classic.


His typology shows clearly the structure in front, meeting both an ornamental role, consisting of steel beams and columns of bronze, that without a structural role fits perfectly the large windows that are the most visible epidermis of the work.

As a building for offices and not leisure activities, its facade is very simple, which betrays the time to observe the functional characteristics of the building.

The ornamentation of the structure borne by the facilities of steel beams and columns of bronze, although the columns were to be built of steel but because of complaints the company by resource economics decided to make bronze.


curtain wall of glass and bronze in the front

Due to the fire law in force in 1954, at the time of concrete construction was used as a structural material, both outside and inside.

Part of the expressive minimalist Mies van der Rohe in this work reaches its maximum level of refinement: the “mullions of Courtain-wall” which are special I double profiles have been added at both ends of the outer wing edges outgoing to generate a subtle emphasis of shape.

The refinement showed that Mies on the Seagram extends to the choice of materials: metal profiles and panels in bronze and glass light shades of pink, in the curtain wall facade help to give this work a kind of charming New Yorker which lack the above examples, more austere in its technological thoroughness.


Steel profiles seen in American buildings are rarely identical to the building structures, because the legislation police fire prevention prescribes the steel liner. Thus the “structure” visible symbol of hidden reality, as in the Renaissance had symbolized the pillar columns. But the relations of Mies pseudoconstrucciones more convinced with the real. With the standard alphabet in steel production, profiles I, H and L, Mies form welded profiles that are the equivalent of the carved profiles of the past. Careful proportion of the skeleton, the ranking of the various components of heavy to light, elegance sure their profiles and the subtle transitions in the corners or at points where various materials match. The maximum reflection and artistic understanding has never been attained by their followers.

The architect also use as decorative travertine marble or pink granite.




WikiArquitectura Photos (December 2014)

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