The Shed

Another architectural exclamation point in the new district of the Hudson Yards is the art project The Shed. In the Bloomberg Building, as The Shed is officially called, all disciplines of art mix. To combine all art movements under one roof, you need a very flexible shell. That's why you can move the building. One part of The Shed consists of a steel structure, that can be moved back and forth on rails. This allows to open or close the space below. The Shed sees itself primarily as a promoter of art, especially for young artists from New York. Nevertheless, the new district Hudson Yards tries to establish itself in New York. With The Vessel, the High Line and The Shed, public magnets have been created to enliven the new buildings around. The Shed was designed by the New York architects of Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The Shed was opened in 2019, construction cost was about 500 million US dollars.


The Shed, Hudson Yards


520 West 28th Street

The residential building at 520 West and 28th Street was completed in 2017. The building is right at the famous High Line, near the Hudson Yards. Galleries are located on the ground floor of Zaha Hadid's L-shaped building, above are the apartments with large balconies facing the High Line. On the roof there is a set back penthouse apartment with a huge roof terrace. This building also shows the curved shapes that are typical of the architecture of the British Lady who died in 2016. The facade is made of glass and concrete with decorative strips made of stainless steel.

Other buildings by Zaha Hadid:

MAXXI   Galaxy Soho   City Life Residences   Tour CMA   Guangzhou Opera   Plan de Corones


520 West / 28th St


Hudson Yards

The Hudson Yards is one of Manhattan's largest urban development projects. Since 2012, a new district has been built over a yard for commuter trains of the Long Island Rail Road. The train yard is still in use and the buildings had to be built on columns above the tracks. The project consists of 15 skyscrapers with offices and apartments, a mall and the function room The Shed. The sculpture Vessel was erected as a crowd puller on the site. The Hudson Yards are located on the eastern shore of the Hudson and at the northern end of the High Line. To develop the district, the subway line 7 was extended to the Hudson Yards. The skyscraper 30 Hudson Yards is the highest tower in the district soaring up 395 meters. The skyscraper designed by the architects Kohn Pedersen Fox has an outdoor observation deck. A triangular platform juts out of the tower and offers a spectacular view over the rooftops of New York. The district creates a new skyline between Midtown and Downtown Manhattan.


Hudson Yards


VIA 57 West

The residential tower of the Danish architect Bjarke IngelsBIG is located directly at the Hudson River. The 142 m high tower rises on a floor plan with a courtyard, as it is typical for European apartment blocks. In the vertical, the 750 housing units form a twisted pyramid that was punched out in the block interior. The curved facade made of aluminum panels, looms in the evening in the light of the setting sun. From New Jersey, the VIA 57 West is an eye-catcher in the Manhattan skyline. The residential tower with 34 floors and around 80,000 m² usable space was completed in 2016.

Other buildings by BIG:

VM Bjerget   8 Tallet   Amager Bakke   Superkilen   Omniturm


625 W 57th St, New York


Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim Museum in New York is probably the most famous building by Frank Lloyd Wright. The special thing about the Guggenheim is the way you walk through the exhibition, which leads downwards along a round ramp. This rounding also shapes the exterior appearance of the building. The large rotunda has a glass roof, which illuminates the interior. From the ramp you enter the individual exhibition rooms, the ramp itself also serves as an exhibition area. The museum's architecture is very dominant, some critics claiming that the building is stealing the show. In fact, the Guggenheim has become a monument, an icon of architecture.

The Guggenheim family from Philadelphia became wealthy through a mining monopoly. Salomon R. Guggenheim bought Modern Art from Europe and commissioned the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright to build a museum for his art collection. Non-Objective art, as the modern age was called at that time, was new. The Nazis condemned them as "degenerate art". When the museum opened in 1959, the artists were already famous, but the Salomon R. Guggenheim Museum played a key role in making this art known to the public.

Actually, the building should be called the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, but since Salomon R. Guggenheim died in 1949, the museum was named after its patron. Frank Llyod Wright also died before the opening of his masterpiece. The project had cost a lot of energy, and Hilla von Rebay, the museum's first director, made a big impact on the design. She had chosen Frank Lloyd Wright as an architect, was an artist herself, she chose material and color of the building.

The new part of the building, behind the two round structures, was built in 1992. The expansion was planned by the architect Gwathmey Siegel Kaufmann from New York. However, Frank Lloyd Wright had already designed the extension back then. 



1071 Fifth Avenue


Hearst Tower

The media group Hearst Corporation produces many well-known magazines and newspapers in the USA. Hearst includes Cosmopolitan, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Men's Health and the San Francisco Chronicle. The Hearst Tower is the publisher's headquarters.

The Austrian Joseph Urban built the base of today's tower for Hearst International in 1928. The 5-storey structure is one of the first Art Deco buildings in the USA. Sir Norman Foster was commissioned to build the new company headquarters and planned the new skyscraper to be placed in the empty shell of the old building.

The base structure was gutted in 2003 and a new, 182 m high glass tower grew into the New York sky.

The diagonal steel grid requires less material with the same stability. The resulting triangles on the facade create a notch at the corners that distinguishes the Hearst Tower from all other high-rise buildings in New York. The Foster tower is also very environmentally friendly because most of the steel has been recycled. The Hearst Tower was completed in 2006 and offers around 80,000 m² of office space.

Other buildings by Sir Norman Foster:

HSBC Hong Kong   Commerzbank Tower   Reichstag   Canary Wharf Station   Millennium Bridge   The Gherkin   Dresden Hauptbahnhof   Lenbachhaus   Torre de Collserola   Torre Caja Madrid   Vieux Port


300 W 57th St, New York


Lever House

The Lever House is an icon of architectural history, it was the first Curtain Wall building in New York City. Mies van der Rohe had previously built the Lake Shore Drive Apartments in Chicago with steel skeleton construction and curtain wall facade. This construction quickly became the hallmark of modern architecture. The international style spread this method of construction around the world.

The Lever House was designed by Gordon Bunshaft, who designed the office tower for the architectural firm of SOM (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill). The client was the British company Lever Brothers now called Unilever. The Lever House was built between 1951-52.

Bunshaft designed a 94 m high tower, which grows from a horizontal base but seems to hover above. The plinth encloses the whole plot but is open in the middle. Here is a garden with a restaurant. The roof of the low-rise building is surrounded by a hedge, on top of the roof are trees. The skyscraper rises directly along Park Avenue, the tower is keeping a distance at 53 and 54 Streets, because at that time the Zoning Law was still in force, requiring setbacks. To avoid this, the tower was placed in the interior of the block.

The facade consists of aluminum profiles and green glass. In 1998, the façade was replaced but its appearance was not changed.

Other building by Gordon Bunshaft:

Hirshhorn Museum, Marine Midland Building


390 Park Ave



Seagram Building

The Seagram Building looks like many modern office towers from the 1970s. The difference is that the Seagram Building was built as early as 1958 and thus is the mother of all these clones, although the UN headquarters and the Lever House were completed in 1952. The approximately 157 m high tower was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The Bauhaus teacher emigrated to the United States in 1938 because the Bauhaus in Dessau was closed by the Nazi Party. He went to Chicago, where he opened an architecture office and was teacher at the Armor Institute. The residential towers on Lake Shore Drive, which already bore the genes of the Seagram Building, were built in 1951. The Seagram Building was his first office tower that he built together with Philip Johnson, because he was not admitted in New York City.


Why is the Seagram Building so famous?

Mies van der Rohe is considered a pioneer of the International Styl, which is characterized by simple forms. The saying less is more by Mies van der Rohe is legendary. The Seagram Building is a rectangular box with a glass curtain wall facade. That means, the load-bearing structure is behind the facade. The vertical supports are concealed by horizontal bands of glass and metal. Buildings used to have a pedestal, a shaft and a top. This classic tripartite division only occurs in modern buildings for functional reasons. The entrance area is designed different from the office floors above and on the roof is the technology that requires no windows.

Through setbacks, skyscrapers rejuvenated to avoid obscuring other buildings. This was governed by the Zoning Resolution of 1916. The new towers of modern architecture circumvented this law by constructing a flat structure on one part of the site and a tower on the other. Mies van der Rohe left blank one part of the property and thereby created a public space. The Seagram Building eventually changed the law in 1961, since then a certain amount of usage space is allowed on each property, which increases when you create a public space. 

Buildings by Mies van der Rohe:

Barcelona Pavillon  Neue Nationalgalerie  Farnsworth House  IIT Chicago  Federal Center  Lake Shore Drive   Lafayette Towers


375 Park Avenue


At&T Building

The At&T Building is an icon of postmodernism. The architect Philip Johnson designed the office tower, which is now called 550 Madison Avenue, for the telephone company At&T. Postmodernism was a backlash to modernity. "Less is More" by Mies van der Rohe became "Less is Bore" by Robert Venturi. The same international style glass boxes were replaced in the 1980s by buildings with historical references. The At&T Building has a base, a shaft and a top. The facade is no longer made of glass, but refers to the high-rise buildings before the modern age through a perforated stone facade. The baroque gable with a hole in the middle, is a reminiscent of Chippendale furniture and was a provocation at the time. The At&T Building is 197 m high and was opened in 1984.


Madison Ave. / E. 56 St.


Lipstick Building

The Lipstick Building by Philip Johnson (1906-2005) is the New York architect's most famous skyscraper. The 133 m high tower stands on an oval floor plan. The office floors are in three segments that descend from 3rd Avenue to the rear. Due to the reddish granite and the horizontal ribbon windows, the tower looks like a lipstick. The name "Lipstick Building" is not the official name of the building. The project developers called it "53rd at Third". Philip Johnson dispensed with postmodern elements on the facade of this building. The office tower was built between 1983 and 1986. Philip Johnson & John Burgee's architectural office was later located in the Lipstick Building.

Other buildings by Philip Johnson:

One Detroit Center   Puerta de Europa


3rd Ave. / E. 53 St.


432 Park Avenue

The 432 Park Avenue residential tower is not actually on Park Avenue, the entrance is on E 56th St. But with the famous address, the apartments can be sold more expensive. The skyscraper was designed by Rafael Viñoly and opened in 2015. At the time of completion, the tower was the second tallest skyscraper in New York at 425.8 m. 432 Park Avenue was Manhattan's first "skinny tower". The skinny towers have a small footprint and are still extremely high. 432 Park Avenue stands on a square area of ​​only 28 x 28 m. This means that the tower has a width to height ratio of around 15: 1. There are only 104 apartments on the 88 floors.

The facade consists of a square grid, which is open on the 6 technical levels. On these levels the wind can flow around the building over two floors. The facade is open and the building core is shielded by a round wall. The wind is thereby weakened and stabilizes the tower through its suction effect.

Other buildings by Rafael Viñoly:

20 Fenchurch Street   Tokyo International Forum


432 Park Avenue


New York Times Building

The New York Times skyscraper is 227 m high, with roof structures and an antenna the tower comes to a height of 319 m. The gray metal tower was designed by italian architect Renzo Piano and was built between 2003 and 2007. The structure consists of steel frames that are stiffened by cross struts. The facade consists of glass, metal and ceramic rods that reduce solar radiation. As a result, the high-rise uses significantly less energy for cooling. The usable area of 143,000 m² is spread over 52 floors.

The skyscraper is right at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The famous Times Square is around 400 m away.


Other buildings by Renzo Piano:

Whitney Museum of American Art   Chicago Art Institute   The Shard   Centre Pompidou   California Academy of Sciences   Fondation Beyeler   Hermès Ginza​​​​​​​


620 8th Ave.


United Nations

After John D. Rockefeller Jr. donated the land on the East River, planning began for the new UN headquarters in New York. The planning was carried out by an international team of architects led by Wallace Harrison from the USA. The "board of design" also included the Brazilian Oskar Niemeyer and the Swiss architect Le Corbusier, who together designed the secretariat building. The high-rise administration building on the East River is 155 m high and was the first skyscraper in New York with a curtain wall. The headquarters of the United Nations was completed in 1951. The property belongs to the United Nations and is not part of the United States. As a result, no national laws or building regulations apply here. During renovation in 2010, the facade was replaced, but retained its original appearance.  

Buildings by Oskar Niemeyer:

Congresso Nacional   Catedral Metropolitana Brasilia

Buildings by Le Corbusier:

Unité d'Habitation Marseille   Corbusier-Haus Berlin   Villa Savoye Poissy   Centre Le Corbusier Zürich   Museum of Western Art Tokyo   Weißenhofsiedlung Stuttgart   


United Nations Plaza


Pan Am Building

The Pan Am Building was built in 1963 on top of the Grand Central Station. It was the administrative building of Pan American World Airways. The architecture of the 246 m high tower was designed by Walter Gropius, who fled from Germany to America in 1937. He worked as a professor at the Harvard University. Together with Pietro Belluschi and the architecture firm of Emery Roth & Sons, the Pan Am Building was constructed.

The office building with its octagonal shape is a reminiscent of the Pirelli Tower of Gio Ponti and Pier Luigi Nervi, built three years earlier in Milan. However, the Pan Am Building is higher and is divided by three horizontal glass bands. The structure is made of steel and the facade of glass and aluminum. The skyscraper characterizes the cityscape of New York because it stands in the flight of Park Avenue.

Pan Am was a transcontinental airline that had a monopoly on intercontinental flights. After the Airline Deregulation Act 1978, this monopoly was abolished and Pan Am had to face the national competition and perished in 1991. The Pan Am Building was sold in 1993 and is now called MetLife Building. 

Buildings by Walter Gropius:

Bauhaus Dessau   Weißenhofsiedlung Stuttgart   Gropiusstadt Berlin 


200 Park Avenue



Cooper Union

The Albert Nerken School of Engineering is an extension built in 2009 to the Cooper Union. The Cooper Union is one of the most famous art and architecture schools in the United States. The building by Morphosis Architects / Thom Mayne contains lecture halls and laboratories. In the center there is a staircase with a "vertical piazza", as the architects call the room that extends to the roof. The outer facade consists of a metal grille that functions as a sun protection element and gives the building an unusual shape. The construction of the 8-storey building consists of a mixture of reinforced concrete and steel structure.


41 Cooper Square


OMA Residential Tower

OMA's residential tower is rather small by New York standards, but the building's irregular notches on the street corner make it stand out. Shohei Shigematsu has planned two separate buildings on the L-shaped property. A stepped tower on 23nd St. and a 12-story building on 22nd Street. Both houses have floor-to-ceiling windows and dark facade elements on the street side. On the inside court facade are horizontal balcony bands with light metal cladding. However, the courtyard is narrow and dark, so you don't have to expect a lot of light. The special thing about this building is the street corner Lexington Ave. / 23nd Street with the mirrored facade and the prismatic notches, which offer residents exciting views of the New York sky or on the street. The residential building was completed in 2016.

Buildings by OMA/Rem Koolhaas:

BLOX   Timmerhuis   De Rotterdam   Kunsthal   Haagse Tramtunnel   Seattle Central Library   Niederländische Botschaft   CCTV Building   Prada Museum



121 E 22nd Street


New Museum

The New Museum is a very special building designed by the Japanese architects of SANAA. Cubes of different heights and widths were stacked together to from a tower. Where there are setbacks there are roof terraces with views over the southern Manhattan. The nested building shell is held together by a uniform facade. The white painted cubes are overlaid by a mesh of anodised expanded aluminum. This net is also in front of glass surfaces, so the facade looks like a gray veil and the building looks uniform and elegant.

The interior does not require supports and offers large space, as the building core with elevators and staircase is not in the middle of the museum. The New Museum was opened in 2007.

Other buildings by SANAA 

Design School Essen,Christian Dior Tokyo, Ferry Terminal Naoshima

235 Bowery


One World Trade Center

After the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, an architectural competition was awarded, which Daniel Libeskind won in 2002 with his 1776 feet high Freedom Tower. The building height refers to the year of the American Declaration of Independence. The Freedom Tower of Libeskind was not realized. Instead, David Childs of SOM got the contract for the One World Trade Center. Only the height of 1776 feet (541 m) was taken over, otherwise it is a completely different building. The design consists of a square with a second square rotated by 45 °. The sides of the lower square connect to the upper square. This creates beveled sides that look like an antiprism.

The actual office tower is 417 m high, like the destroyed north tower of the WTC. On top is a ring to which the suspensions cables of the antenna are attached. Due to the 124 m high antenna, the 1WTC is the tallest building in the USA. Previously, the antenna was not part of the building, which I think is correct. The Willis Tower in Chicago is 442 meters high without antenna, thereby higher than the One World Trade Center.

On the 100th floor is the viewing platform One World Observatory.


285 Fulton St, New York



The World Trade Center Station was destroyed by the collapse of the Twin Towers in 2001. The Port Authority Trans Hudson (PATH) is a subway line that connects Manhattan with New Jersey, the station is a transfer hub connecting to the New York Subway sytem. The new station opened in 2016 and was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The cost of the building amounted to round about 4 billion US dollars, making it the most expensive train station in the world. The aboveground station hall is a white sculpture made of steel and glass, which lets light fall into the underground levels. In the middle of the roof is a narrow slit, which lets light shine into the hall at 10:29. This is the time that the North Tower of the WTC collapsed on September 11, 2001. For this reason, the building is not in the grid of the New York urban pattern. The eye "Oculus" commemorates the victims of this tragedy, but also looks to the future, and shows that the american people can overcome this catastrophe.

The station is used daily by around 300,000 people. The underground hall is much larger than the above-ground structure suggests. There are shops and restaurants, long corridors connecting the station with other buildings.

Buildings by Santiago Calatrava:

Ciudad de Artes and Las Ciencias, Turning Torso, Chords Bridge


World Trade Center Station


Leonard Street

The residential high-rise on the corner of Leonard Street and Church Street was built between 2008 and 2016. Herzog & de Meuron's residential tower consists of stacked cubes that are reminiscent of a tower of wooden blocks. The 253 m high tower stands in the south of Manhattan and offers space for 145 luxury apartments of around 100 - 650 m². The normal apartments are 3.6 m high, some of the penthouse floors are 7 m high. The balconies are very unusual for Manhattan. It is usually not done. It remains to be seen whether the cantilevered balconies will be used. The strong wind on high-rise buildings often makes balconies very uncomfortable.

Another special feature of 56 Leonard Street is the windows that cannot be cleaned from the outside. For this you can clean the windows from inside. In the base there are common rooms and a swimming pool, at the top of the tower are the most expensive apartments with a magnificent view of New York.

Other buildings by Herzog & de Meuron:

Elbphilharmonie   Allianz Arena   Fünf Höfe   Tate Modern   Olympia Stadium Beijing   Museu Blau   De Young Museum   Vitra Haus   St. Jakob Park   Roche Towers   Signal Boxes  Museum der Kulturen  Messehalle 1


56 Leonard Street



New York City Guide

Architectural guide New York City

This architectural guide shows the most important buildings of contemporary and modern architecture. Buildings such as the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building or the Flatiron Building can be found under the section New York Sights.