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View Poll Results: MetLife Building, New York
10 37 8.75%
9.5 16 3.78%
9 17 4.02%
8.5 22 5.20%
8 38 8.98%
7.5 30 7.09%
7 51 12.06%
6.5 12 2.84%
6 43 10.17%
5.5 15 3.55%
5 33 7.80%
4.5 8 1.89%
4 28 6.62%
3.5 14 3.31%
3 or less 59 13.95%
Voters: 423. You may not vote on this poll

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Old October 16th, 2002, 06:50 PM   #1
RafflesCity
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#137 l MetLife Building l NEW YORK l 246m l 60fl

MetLife Building
New York, USA


HEIGHT: 246m/808 feet
FLOORS: 60 floors
COMPLETION: 1963
ARCHITECT: Emery Roth and Sons

was begun in 1958 as the Grand Central City development to bring revenue for the railway companies that owned the plot.
Replacing the Grand Central Terminal Office Building between Grand Central Terminal and the New York Central Building (now Helmsley Building), the plot was to house a skyscraper to utilize the "underdeveloped" site.

A preliminary design by the Roths, a 50-storey north-south-aligned tower slab of aluminium and glass facades, was discarded as "too modest" and Walter Gropius and Pietro Belluschi were brought in to join them as design consults.

In February 1959 the new design was presented: Gropius came up with a 59-storey east-west-aligned tower with an oblong octagonal plan. He wanted to reduce the bulk of Roth's slablike structure by cutting the four corners to give the building a sense of continuity. The shape, formed from precast concrete elements, also resembled an aeroplane wing, which suited well the original owner and main tenant, the Pan American Airways.

Demolition work on the site began in August 1960 and the building was completed by March 1963 for the cost of $100 million, the first tenants arriving a month later.

The 246.5 m tall building incorporated 223,000 m² of office space (of which Pan Am occupied one-fourth), more than any other commercial office building at the time. The building's large floors, as well as its favourable location and connections have been most lucrative for tenants. There is also the private Sky Club on the 58th floor.

The tower is erected on an eight-storey, granite-clad base which occupies the site between 45th Street and Grand Central Terminal, with the Park Avenue roadways passing on both sides.

The concrete walls of the tower are interrupted by two colonnaded openings on the facade, at 21st and 46th floors, behind which the technical equipment is located.

In 1961 a heliport was opened on the roof, adding another role for the building, as an in-city terminal for NYC airport connections (a realization of a kind of the Empire State Building's "direct arrival" idea). The heliport was finally closed in 1977, after a helicopter accident that took the life of five people and caused crash debris to fall down to the street.

In the large concourse, connected to Grand Central Terminal (the large volume of pedestrian traffic through the Terminal to and from the high-rise has caused criticism), Gropius used escalators and stairs to accelerate pedestrian movement through the building. The ground floor houses the main concourses, with the 66 elevators of the office tower located in the mezzanine-like second floor lobby, reached by, in all, 14 escalators.

Gropius persuaded the developers to allow bringing in artists to work on the building; the lobbies and concourses contain works by Josef Albers (mural)(removed in 2001), Georgy Kepes (decor) and Richard Lippold (wire construction Flight). In 1987 the lobby system underwent a redecoration by Warren Platner.

Since its completion in 1963, the building has been criticized for its mass blocking the view through Park Avenue and generally dominating the space above Grand Central Terminal and the Helmsley Building, the latter of which Gropius would have rather torn down to make space for a landscaped plaza at the foot of the building.

Pan Am sold the building to the insurance company Metlife in 1981 for $400 million and the Pan Am logo was replaced with Met Life's in 1992.







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Old October 16th, 2002, 07:21 PM   #2
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A decent building in a TERRIBLE location... The great Walter Gropius assisted with its design, which makes its intrusive sighting even more of a shock. one of my most despised highrises in the World, because of what it did to Park Row.


3.0/10
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Old October 16th, 2002, 08:39 PM   #3
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3/10 Its a very boring building.
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Old October 16th, 2002, 09:29 PM   #4
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7.5/10 Nice Design, Kind of Boring, Could be improved, but nice
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Old October 17th, 2002, 12:42 AM   #5
SteelCity32
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nothing exciting. 3/10
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Old October 17th, 2002, 04:17 AM   #6
Jeff from Winnipeg
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Meh... 4/10
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Old October 17th, 2002, 10:37 AM   #7
AG
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This building is somewhat wide for it's height for my liking. It could use some improment, though I think it's location at end on of the street is good.

7/10
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Old October 17th, 2002, 01:32 PM   #8
SUNNI
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looks short and stubby
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Old October 17th, 2002, 02:22 PM   #9
Patrick
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i don't know why I like it so much
8.5
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Old October 17th, 2002, 06:43 PM   #10
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6.5/10

Close up it looks dirty and ugly..but I am impressed by its distorted octagonal shape and its powerful looking mass. I dont understand why the media hates it. Its very symbolic of NY IMO.
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Old October 18th, 2002, 06:15 PM   #11
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I don't think it's that bad actually, I like the octagonal shape and the crisp sharp way the roof terminates. I take off points mainly for the dirty facade (which is in the process of being cleaned): 6/10
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Old October 18th, 2002, 06:26 PM   #12
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5/10 , too massive, and too brown.
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Old October 18th, 2002, 06:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by RafflesCity
6.5/10

Close up it looks dirty and ugly..but I am impressed by its distorted octagonal shape and its powerful looking mass. I dont understand why the media hates it. Its very symbolic of NY IMO.

It's the location. It absolutely destroyed the vistas of Park Row, Grand Central Terminal and the Helmsley Building, all in one fell swoop. At the time, this area was one of the most cherished in NYC, because of the many beautiful and historic buildings around there. And then they just came along and plopped this massively scaled Brutalist building right smack dab in the middle of it all. It didn't help that the building was built on the cheap, with cost effectiveness ruling almost the entire design process.

It would be like taking the Raffles district and Raffles Place in Singapore, smashing down part of it in the middle, and then building an oppressively massive highrise that almost everyone universally hates.
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Old October 18th, 2002, 06:53 PM   #14
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Jason..I can see where u are coming from..I would abhor such a project in Singapore too..only thing is..the government would probably not allow it in the first place.

Why didnt the authorities of NY prevent this from happening?
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Old October 18th, 2002, 07:04 PM   #15
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Property rights of owners are very strong, especially when they pay off the govt.
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Old October 18th, 2002, 11:35 PM   #16
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Dull, fairly ugly and ruins a great view.

3.5/10
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Old October 20th, 2002, 11:09 AM   #17
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It's ok, but it ruins a really great veiw...Very bad location.
6/10 for the building
0.5/10 for the location.
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Old October 20th, 2002, 11:29 AM   #18
enzo
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Bias comes into play here for me. I see this building daily looming over Grand Central on my way home. They are in the process of cleaning it and suprise, suprise, the damn thing gleams! (We never knew it was supposed to be shiny!)

Overall it's not great, but the base and the way the tower cantilevers over the street and Grand Central is quite "ginormous". I despise the signage but I like what it does to "canyonize" Park Ave. I actually think it enhances the Helmsley Bldg. I'll give her an optomistic 7.5/10

I'll post some photos of her cleaned when it's done.







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one of my most despised highrises in the World, because of what it did to Park Row.
BTW Jason, Park Row is DT by City Hall, this is Park Ave.
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Old October 20th, 2002, 12:34 PM   #19
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Yeah, I kinda like the "canyon" effect it makes, too. Similar to the CBOT in Chicago. But at the same time, if you're gonna block the views, it should be more original. But I can't say I abhor it or anything.

6.5
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Old October 21st, 2002, 03:23 AM   #20
CTroyMathis
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It's all about it's location. Lot of love or a lot of hate, eh?

I like the fact it's getting seriously power-cleaned!
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