Tag Archives: John Burgee Architects

Lipstick Building

The Lipstick Building – officially named “53rd at Third” – is New York’s most distinctive architecture; its shape and color are impossible to confuse with any other skyscraper.

The developer, Gerald D. Hines Interests, asked for a shape that would stand out – and make “every office a corner office.” Hines, incidentally, was also the developer of curvilicious One Jackson Square and flare-topped 425 Lexington Avenue.

Architect Philip Johnson likely didn’t need much encouragement – he designed the Sony Building (originally AT&T headquarters), nicknamed the “Chippendale Building” for its massive split pediment roofline.

The rationale for such a dramatic and expensive building (polished red granite doesn’t come cheap) was to attract high-rent tenants to the then (1986) less-desirable neighborhood. Apparently that strategy didn’t quite work: the building’s owners went bankrupt in 2010.

Although the so-called Lipstick Building is best known for its 34-story elliptical telescoping shaft, there’s a nine-story box behind the shaft that is also part of the site. The box for the lipstick?

Of historical note: This is where Bernie Madoff made off with $65 billion. His companies leased the 17th through 19th floors.

Lipstick Building Vital Statistics
Lipstick Building Recommended Reading

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