909 THIRD AVENUE
909 THIRD AVENUE
Architect: Max O. Urbahn Associates in collaboration with Emery Roth & Sons
Address: 909 Third Avenue
Use: Office Building & Post Office
909 Third Avenue covers the entire eastern block of Third Avenue between 54th and 55th Streets in Midtown. With thirty-two 31,000-square-foot floors, the building totals approximately 1,343,000 square feet of office space, making it the largest building by volume and height in this survey. The audacious facade sets the building apart from its postmodern neighbors, consisting of a deeply coffered grid of cast-in-place concrete window surrounds. This waffle-like structure resembles that of One New York Plaza, which instead uses aluminum to create a similar pattern. Unlike its East Midtown neighbors, 909 Third Avenue emphasizes its presence using both its volumetric mass and the practical subtle use of light and shadow along its facade. The twenty-nine-story tower sits atop a large windowless brick podium, elevated above the sidewalk with concrete pilings, forming a U-shaped arcade that extends around the front of the building. The podium is the New York zip code 10022 mail-handling facility and the United States Post Office’s Franklin D. Roosevelt station. Red Flying Group, a sculpture by Ann Gillen (1973-1987) on the sidewalk in front of the building’s entrance adds some color to the otherwise drab arcade and podium. The extended sidewalk where Red Flying stands is a POPS (privately owned public space) and wraps around each corner of Third Avenue along the arcade. The POPS and public arcade were likely added to the building in exchange for a height bonus, as introduced in the 1961 zoning law.
Kayden, Jerold S; The New York City Department of City Planning; the Municipal Art Society of New York. Privately Owned Public Space: The New York City Experience. John Wiley & Sons, 2000.
909 Third Avenue (property website)
Contractors & Engineers. Volume 65. Buttenheim Publishing Corporation, 1968