What Could Have Been: 250 West 55th Street

What is actually under construction at 250 West 55th Street certainly isn’t bad, but calling it interesting would definitely be a stretch. The only groundbreaking glass box was the very first. The former design for the site was much better than what has actually been built, and bears some semblance to one of the proposals for 225 West 57th Street.

It’s still interesting to see visions of unbuilt buildings in New York City. Many architects recycle designs, like much of Cesar Pelli’s work from the late 80’s into the 90’s. Compare the World Financial Center in New York to One Canada Square in London, and the projects are very similar.

Repetition can be dull if done to excess, but it would be nice to see something rise in Midtown with a design similar to the failed vision for 250 West 55th. Indeed, even 250 West 55th’s actual realization was based on Lever House and the Chase Bank Tower, per SOM’s website.

The original project was designed by Coop-Himmelblau, and was slated to rise 1,000 feet tall. The bottom portion of the structure was to be hotel, topped by luxury residential. Perhaps if it was conceived in New York’s current race to the sky, the building would’ve had a better chance–after all, 1,000 foot buildings are the new normal in Manhattan. Unfortunately, the skyscraper never left the drawing board.

Old Proposal for 250 West 55th Street NYC
Old Proposal for 250 West 55th: Image Copyright Markus Pillhofer
Old Proposal for 250 West 55th Street NYC
Old Proposal for 250 West 55th: Image Copyright Markus Pillhofer
The Chatsworth Horizon
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3 Comments on "What Could Have Been: 250 West 55th Street"

  1. I like it. I like it a lot.

    “What could have been” has the makings of an amazing and sad series of posts 🙂

  2. Thanks! Hopefully both sad AND inspirational… the most tragic is MetLife North, which could actually still be built! I’ll do a post on that next week.

  3. That’s my favourite too (I even started the thread for it on SSP). The Larkin Tower wasn’t as great a loss (even if we’ve just seen the massings, they seem a bit… off), but imagine if both of those had been built. NYC almost had 3 1200-footers already in 1933!

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