527 MADISON AVENUE
(Southeast corner at 54th Street)
Developer: The Louis Dreyfus
Architect: The Webb Zerafa
Menkes Housden Partnership and Fox & Fowle Architects
By Carter B. Horsley
This medium-sized office tower is remarkable
for its complex massing, the most extraordinary in the city.
It is the most interesting
major use of a slanted facade in the city, although many people
are not fully aware of it since its slanted facade and its main
entrance are on the side street.
The slant does not extend fully
to the pavement but, as the photograph at the right demonstrates,
it makes the most of its zigzag downhill run.
Because the slant is contained
on either side by more conventional setbacks, its design can only
be best appreciated from across 54th Street in the very nice midblock
plaza of 535 Madison Avenue. It is interesting to note that this
tower's gray facade nicely complements that building's facade,
while its slant is more spectacular than the slants of the far
larger 520 Madison Avenue across the avenue and its stepped plan
on its southwest facade makes an excellent transition to the low-rise,
midblock buildings on the block as shown in the first photograph
in the section on Madison Avenue.
The Sumitomo Trust & Banking
Co. Ltd., is the main tenant in this very unorthodox and very
distinctive, if slightly ungainly building.
The only thing more astounding
than the design-per-square-foot effort here, by speculative office
building standards in the city, is the lack of publicity the building
has received. This gets an A+ for effort.