The idea of working on the Seagram building would have been a wonderful experience to learn from two masters. Completed in 1958 by Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson I admire it immensely as it collates the elements of architecture we care about in a beautiful, cohesive way; structure, detail and the role of architecture in the public realm. In particular, the balance between the expressed bronze external facade structure and the understated reinforced concrete building structure that enables uninterrupted open floor plates for the offices. Despite the understatement the building was the most expensive build cost of its day, which is due to the quality of the materials and precise bespoke detailing, elements often overlooked in poor reproductions of the international style.
The success of the building is in the rigour shown throughout, from tiny details such as the 3 position control of the window blinds that keeps kept the minimal facade composition intact, to the gift of the granite plaza open to Park Avenue. Later the success of this gesture was noted by the City when during the zoning review a policy was it introduced to encourage developers to emulate this integral concept of the Seagram Building, and has characterised many subsequent offset agreements between developers and cities to donate public spaces.
-- Laurence Quinn, MA (RCA) RIBA, graduated from the Royal College of Art in London in 1994, and moved to Milan where he became a partner in the studio of Antonio Citterio until 2001, when he formed Quinn Architects in London.