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Thread: The Fuller Building renovation - 42-story Art Deco trophy - by Walker & Gillette

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    Default The Fuller Building renovation - 42-story Art Deco trophy - by Walker & Gillette

    From New York Times

    January 6, 2002
    Space-Age Skin Proposed For an Art Deco Trophy

    In 1929, as the Great Depression soured the city's outlook, the first skyscraper north of mid-Manhattan was completed. Built for a giant construction firm, the Fuller Building was a 42-story Art Deco trophy at 57th Street and Madison Avenue.

    The building, with its ziggurat crown, dominated its corner for decades, but now it appears upstaged by such younger neighbors as I. M. Pei's 52-story hotel, the Four Seasons New York.

    So Vornado Realty Trust, the landlord since 1999, has developed a controversial plan to jazz up the landmark with space-age glass. The design, by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, would replace a two-story transom in the doorway with a scrim of electronic glass that changes from opaque to transparent, revealing a curtain of diodes that change color like the Empire State Building at night. The lobby would get a similar treatment, with a new skin of special glass lining the ceiling.

    "Our proposed renovation, which does not alter the building's historic fabric, is intended to brighten this celebrated landmark and enhance its utility," said Steven Rubenstein, a Vornado spokesman.

    But the plan has its critics. Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, called the proposal "an admittedly clever but inherently trite scheme that literally overshadows the significant and protected features of this building."

    Others, such as Glen Leiner, vice present of the Art Deco Society of New York, say the overlay will tarnish one of the city's best examples of Art Deco.

    The plan was reviewed last month at the Landmarks Preservation Commission and another hearing is to be held Tuesday. "There were a number of questions raised," said Sherida E. Paulsen, the chairwoman. "You really want to know why this proposed change is appropriate."

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    Did they ever go through with that proposed "renovation" in the first post?

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