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Thread: MetLife (Pan Am) Building - 200 Park Avenue

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    Default MetLife (Pan Am) Building - 200 Park Avenue

    Architect: Pietro Belluschi, Walter Gropius, and Emery Roth & Sons

    Year: 1963

    Style: Brutalist

    Description: Metlife was probably the posterchild of the Brutalist architecture movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Formerly the PanAm airlines building, the elongated octagonal shape was meant to represent the shape of an airplanes wing. The building’s roof used to support helicopter landings, until an accident closed roof landings for good. The building is probably the most depised in NYC. Although in my opinion...there are many other buildings I would rather have demolished than the MetLife building...

    http://www.thecityreview.com/panam.html








  2. #2

    Default MetLife (Pan Am) Building

    Great pictures. I have to admit, I like this building a bit more since the facade was cleaned, *but it's still up on my list of buildings to be altered/demolished in the city. The Whitney, GM building, 55 water, and that tacky apartment tower next to the Ansonia would be above on the list, though.

    I guess what bugs me the most about this building is the view down Park Ave. that it ruined. Helmsley was a nice transition between Park Ave. above and below Grand Central. Pan Am sealed it off like Hoover Dam did to the Colorado (quite impressive to drive over!). Anyone else feel this way?

  3. #3

    Default MetLife (Pan Am) Building

    Why is the Metlife building so despised by New Yorkers? *It's certainly an interesting building.

  4. #4

    Default MetLife (Pan Am) Building

    This is among my favorite modernist buildings, I do not see how it is brutalist. The windows are precast concrete, but individually detailed to those of Seagram. Maybe its the concrete to steel. But also white is pure, so again. Overall the Metlife is an excellent modernist building.

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    Default MetLife (Pan Am) Building

    I like

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    Default MetLife (Pan Am) Building

    Quote: from Evan on 3:49 pm on Feb. 9, 2003
    Why is the Metlife building so despised by New Yorkers? *It's certainly an interesting building.
    It is an interesting building, but a lot of people hate(d) it because it overshadows the Helmsley Building, which was meant to be a visual capstone to Park Avenue from both directions. *They also claim that it's a cheap rip-off of the Pirelli Building in Milan, yet that claim isn't completely unjustified.

  7. #7

    Default MetLife (Pan Am) Building

    The biggest flaw with the Metlife Building isn't so much its shape or appearance as its location. It would be much more appreciated if it was stacked somewhere else other than the spot on top of Grand Central Terminal. I still like the way they spray-cleaned it though. And with 2.7 million sq ft of office space, the Metlife's not terrible as an office tower. *

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    Senior Member DougGold's Avatar
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    Default MetLife (Pan Am) Building

    What I've always liked about NYC skyscrapers is how so many of them are instantly recognizable icons. Pound for pound, we have more icons than any other city. The Metlife building is one of 'em. Even though it's just a giant thug of a building, I love it for that.

  9. #9

    Default MetLife (Pan Am) Building

    It's an inflated version of the Pirelli Building.
    That's interesting, because many skyscraper fans often wish bigger versions of existing buildings were made.

    In this case, they got it.
    And that works.

  10. #10

    Default MetLife (Pan Am) Building

    You are 100% correct Fabb!

    I also agree with you DougGold about recognizable icons, *once you establish them, a city should keep them.

    (Unfotunately, that wasn't the fate of the Singer Building).

    (Edited by amigo32 at 3:13 am on Feb. 10, 2003)

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    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Default MetLife (Pan Am) Building

    We've been back and forth numerous times about this building - it's definitely a polarizing subject. Count me among those who don't like this building, especially its location and its unfriendliness at street level, although the new cleaning definitely improved its appearance.

  12. #12

    Default MetLife (Pan Am) Building

    NYatKnight - My thoughts exactly. I wish I was big enough to pick up from above, and turn it 90 degrees to that it was wide looking down 46th St but thin looking down Park Ave....

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    Senior Member Bob's Avatar
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    I don't understand why so many people hate this building. (But then again, I don't understand why people bought Yugos or Pacers)

    The Pan Am (oops -- "Met Life") is a terrific building! For years prior to its recent cleaning, I said to myself and to others, "Just think how great it would look if it were cleaned!" Now, the results are in and this mega-building looks brand new, just as I remember it as a kid in the early 1960s.

    There are so many things about this building I like. Its looming -- in your face -- presence over so many lesser structures. The simple and subtle design. Its radical concept of a roof-top helipad. The fact that you can look straight down Park Avenue for miles and see it.

    It's big. It's bold. Its design has held up. It's great!

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    The city needs bland buildings to make others look better. I never knew there was a helicopter accident on top of the building.

    http://www.timeoutny.com/features/408/408.jinx.html

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    Interesting article tonyo. I think that helicopters (except Emergency ones..like Hospitals or Police) should not be allowed to the top of buildings. I dont want NYC to become like a Sao Paulo, Brazil. They can get into many accidents and they are too noisy.

    You want to do business in the city take a train or a taxi to your building.

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