The Solow Building, also known as 9 West 57th Street, is one of those “love it or hate it” buildings. It’s bold and innovative, meeting New York’s setback zoning requirements with a dramatic swoosh, like the Nike logo. And that’s the problem, say critics – it ruins the block’s cohesiveness, like a 50-story black and white scar.
There’s no denying that the building, taken by itself, is among New York’s most recognizable buildings. Only one other building – the W.R. Grace Building on 42nd Street, by the same architect – looks anything like it.
Since completion in 1974, one major change was made to Solow Building’s 57th Street entry. The escalator bank was replaced with stairs leading down to a restaurant, “8-1/2,” and enclosed in glass. Look to the building’s W 58th Street side for an idea of the “before.”
Solow Building Vital Statistics
- Location: 9 W 57th Street, just off Fifth Avenue
- Year completed: 1974
- Architect: Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
- Floors: 50
- Style: Postmodern
Solow Building Suggested Reading
- Wikipedia entry
- The Skyscraper Center
- The City Review (Carter B. Horsley review)