Lever House

  • Photo Ezra Stoller © Esto
  • Photo © Thomas Murtaugh
  • Photo Ezra Stoller © Esto
  • Photo Ezra Stoller © Esto
  • Photo Ezra Stoller © Esto
  • Photo Ezra Stoller © Esto
  • Photo © Jerry Cooke
  • Photo © J. Alex Langley/Esto

Midtown Manhattan's Lever House marked a watershed in U.S. architecture when completed in 1952. Located on the west side of Park Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets, the corporate headquarters, with its facade made of blue-green glass and stainless steel mullions, was one of the first glass-walled International Style office buildings in the country.

The structure consists of two intersecting masses, balanced in their proportions but contrasting in shape. A two-story horizontal block containing an open court occupies the entire site with a 21-story tower located on the north. The columns and the ground floor court create a large open plaza allowing entrances to the lobby to be located away from pedestrian traffic. Inside, the typical floor is characterized by large, open office areas with easy access to individual offices, and service cores at the western end.

Within a decade of its construction, the initial enthusiasm for Lever House gave way to a universal recognition of its pivotal importance to American architecture. In 1982, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Lever House an official landmark.