Lever House
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Architect Gordon Bunshaft/ SOM
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Location New York, New York   map
Date 1950 to 1952   timeline
Building Type corporate headquarters, skyscraper, commercial office tower
 Construction System steel frame, glass curtain wall
Climate temperate
Context urban
Style High Modern
Notes Curtain wall pioneer - first in New York.


Photo, overview

Photo, podium from across the street



Detail Drawing

Detail Drawing



Plan Drawing

Section Drawing

Plan Drawing

3D Model
3D Massing Model (DesignWorkshop 3dmf)

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Discussion Lever House Commentary

"The point of departure for the Late Modernist skyscraper was the aesthetic program of High Modernism, filtered through International Style doctrine and reinterpreted by Gordon Bunshaft (of the firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill) in the Lever House of 1950-52...

"Lever House comprises two counterposed rectangular volumes, sheathed in a thin curtain wall of stainless steel and glass, floating on pilotis, the lower volume carrying a roof garden and enclosing a garden-atrium retreat. Its thin, twenty-story tower was small by New York standards (sacrificing potential real estate profits to beauty and urban values), but for an International Style building it was unusually large. The mastery of proportions and especially of detailing was and remains exceptional, a harbinger of the technological excellence of the metal-glass curtain wall that was to become the special province of Late Modernist American builders."

— Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture: from Prehistory to Post-Modernism. p545.


American Institute of Architects 25 Year Award, 1980

Sources on Lever House

"AIA Honor Awards 2003", by ArchitectureWeek, ArchitectureWeek No. 132, 2003.0129, pN1.2 (scroll to bottom of page for text and two photos on Lever House facade restoration).

Howard Davis. Slide from photographer's collection. PCD.2260.1012.1702.059

Carol Herselle Krinsky. Gordon Bunshaft, of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. New York: The Architectural History Foundation, 1988. NA737.B84K75 1988. ISBN 0-262-11130-6. LC 88-854. drawing of typical office floor plan, p40. drawing of second floor plan, p40. drawing of ground floor plan, p40. — Available at Amazon.com

Henry R. Luce, ed. "Lever House Complete", Architectural Forum. June 1952. Vol 96 Number 6. p101. drawing of transverse section, p106. drawing of exterior wall details, p110. drawing of vertical mullion detail, p110.

Lawrence A. Martin, University of Oregon. Slide from photographer's collection, September 1993. PCD.3235.1012.0545.072.

Leland M. Roth. A Concise History of American Architecture. New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1979. ISBN 0-06-430086-2. NA705.R67 1979. discussion, p278-279. exterior photo, f238, p278. — Available at Amazon.com

William S. Saunders. Modern Architecture—Photographs by Ezra Stoller. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, 1990. ISBN 0-8109-3816-2. exterior photo, p88. — A wonderful & inspiring book of beautiful photographs by the master of architectural photography, reissued Fall 1999. Get it while you can. Available at Amazon.com

Marvin Trachtenberg and Isabelle Hyman. Architecture, from Prehistory to Post-Modernism. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1986. NA 200 T7. ISBN 0-13-044702-1. commentary, p545. exterior photo, color plate 72. — Available at Amazon.com

Marcus Whiffen and Frederick Koeper. American Architecture, Volume 1. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984. exterior photo, f287, p358. — An excellent survey of American architecture. Reprint Edition available at Amazon.com

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at Amazon.com

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