One Chase Manhattan Plaza is an 813ft tall 60-story skyscraper located in downtown Manhattan. Designed by the prestigious architectural firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM) when completed in 1961 it was the largest office building in New York City by total volume. It was also the tallest glass curtain wall tower yet constructed.
The south side of the building features a large public L-shaped plaza – an unusual feature among the dense and narrow street grid of downtown. The public banking branch is located beneath the plaza and receives natural light through a 60ft diameter oculus. Featured within is Isamu Noguchi’s “Sunken Garden sculpture. Another sculpture, “Group of Four Trees” is near the lobby and modeled here with white flower and tap elements.
The north and south faces are framed by 3x5 foot exterior columns, increasing lateral stiffness and allowing for large column-free office floor plates. The building was designated a landmark in 2008 by The New York Landmarks Preservation Commission – quite an accomplishment for a 60’s international-style boxy skyscraper.
The LEGO design is a pretty straightforward. Two new features for me are the use of sand blue as a backing color for the glass panels, giving the tower façade a bit of bluish gray tint and the modeling of the perimeter columns surrounding the lobby at the plaza level. It would have been easy to just continue the rail plates all the way to the tower base, but I wanted a column structure that was more open and representative of the actual building. Instead, I used bar elements sunk deep into the plaza and carefully aligned them with the tower’s exterior columns above.