At 38 stories, the CBS building in New York isn’t anywhere near the tallest. Its location at 52nd St and 6th Avenue isn’t special. Even its design and construction were not – as buildings go – controversial. But, for what it offers both inside and out, CBS is a destination of choice for visitors of New York.
The Eero Saarinen designed edifice is at the apogee of the International Style. Saarinen, a Finnish born architect of world-renown, also designed the elegant Washington DC airport terminal. The CBS building is his only skyscraper.
The building’s dark gray exterior is formed by straight-to-the-sky concrete pillars clad in Canadian black granite alternating with darkened glass. It appears almost as a modern version of a medieval castle, with an inviting plaza substituted for a drawbridge.
Completed in 1965, the building still houses the CBS corporate headquarters where decisions affecting billions are made and the structure is as serious as its purpose. Yet its stark beauty is undeniable.
It was the first skyscraper to use a reinforced concrete support frame rather than steel. Departing aesthetically as well as technologically it deviates boldly from the strict International Style. It is not just another flat glass and metal box. It has panache.
CBS in New York has a lighter side, though.
Down the block at 524 West 57th St are the headquarters of CBS News and the main broadcast facility for both radio and TV. Here the outrageous and the serious share office and broadcasting space. Read more…