If you walk by Grand Central Station, you will notice the large construction site covering the block between 42nd-43rd streets and Madison-Vanderbilt aves. Former buidings on this site made way for One Vanderbilt, an office tower that will be one of the 30 tallest buildings in the world once it’s completed in 2020. In the meantime, New Yorkers have a view of Grand Central Station that they have not seen for one hundred years.
“‘Before the age of the skyscraper, buildings like this were the monuments of the city,’ Anthony W. Robins, the author of “Grand Central Terminal: 100 Years of a New York Landmark,” said during a recent tour of the station. ‘When you can see the sides of the station, it really reads as a monument.'”
The developer of One Vanderbilt, SL Green, has designed the tower to complement and not eclipse its distinguished neighbor. The design will incorporate terracotta into the skyscraper’s curtain wall with a concentration at the base, in homage to Grand Central Station’s famous terracotta tiles. Glass, lobbies, and atriums will create inviting spaces for multiple views of the station. Finally, the building will be set 10 feet back from the corner of Vanderbilt and 42nd, allowing more of the station to remain exposed.
The MTA recently commissioned SPS instructor and award-winning photographer Lynn Saville to capture this unique moment in Grand Central’s history with a series of 8 photographs of its western facade. The photographs are on display on the lower level in the Terminal Dining Concourse West (take the escalator near the station master’s office down and you will see the show in front of you).
From the MTA’s website:
“The images in this series show dappled light refracted from nearby glass skyscrapers, creating patterns of light on stone and pedestrians passing by. The train terminal juxtaposed with the Chrysler building creates iconic imagery of historic Beaux Arts and Art Deco monuments, underlined by the One Vanderbilt foundation site, the architecture of the future. Visiting multiple times at dawn, midday, and dusk, from different heights in nearby buildings and on the ground, Saville skillfully captures the changing light across the western face of the terminal, and the humans that activate the space during classic New York City rush hour, as well as at quiet moments of everyday life.”
This semester, Lynn Saville is teaching Twilight Photography: A Two-Day Workshop and Anthony W. Robins is teaching New York in the Jazz Age: Art Deco Architecture from Tribecca to the Upper West Side.
Other courses of interest: