200 Park Avenue|
(2.8 million ft2) aka Met Life Building
New York, New York (1963)
59 stories, 808 feet, 246 meters
Emery Roth & Sons with Pietro Belluschi and Walter Gropius of The Architects Collaborative, Architects. The Office of James Ruderman, Engineer. Diesel Construction Company, Inc., Contractor. Erwin S. Wolfson, Developer. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, Current Owner.
First called Grand Central City and best known as the Pan Am Building, 200 Park Avenue was the largest privately owned office building in the world when it opened in 1963. The idea for the building originated in 1954 as part of an unrealized plan to modernize Grand Central Terminal and to erect an even larger office building. In 1959, the New York Central Railroad and the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, co-owners of the train station, and development advisor Erwin Wolfson hired architect Richard Roth to design a new tower in collaboration with Walter Gropius and Pietro Belluschi. Rising directly over the terminal's dozens of tracks, 200 Park Avenue's construction presented special engineering challenges since train service had to continue uninterrupted. The building required separate structural systems for the tower and the base. Though tower floors boast an average of 34,000 ft2, column spacing is irregular due to the unusual structure, and the building's elongated octagonal plan creates oblique interior angles. The project took almost three years to complete and cost $100 million.