The mishmash of historical references, the impish gigantism, the thumb poked in the Establishment’s eye — all these made architecture seem suddenly like a spectator sport, in which both aesthetic principles and tough economic realities were at stake.
“The outcry may well be because both the knowing and the naïve suspect an architectural rabbit punch,” she wrote.
“On my first visit in 1985 I immediately found the entrance halls and arcades foreboding,” he wrote. It was likely also an expression of AT&T’s reluctance to have nonemployees hanging around its offices.
Having worked there for six months during the Sony years, I, too, found that the grandiloquence quickly gets old.
But rather than rest on a classical base, the glass hangs 15 feet above the street, atop a podium of air.
The proposal has incurred the fury of several critics and preservationists.
Some would like to see the tower landmarked, the 1992 refurbishment reversed, and the opera-set-like arcade restored to its authentic gloom.
Snøhetta’s co-founder Craig Dykers says that he and his team have registered those criticisms and are working on ways to address them, but preserving AT&T as a museum piece would never work.
Johnson pushed the Madison Avenue wall a few feet closer to the curb than its neighbors, stealing a strip of sidewalk. Behind them is public space, a great granite hall fit for kings, not for office workers looking for a place to have lunch. In 1983, the put Paul Goldberger’s review on the front page.
“At ground level,” he wrote, the rough stone “moldings, arches and columns create public space that is truly monumental, even uplifting.” By 1992, he had reconsidered: “[O]nce built, these spaces turned out to be noisy, windy and dark.