Nelson Tower

Nelson Tower
  1. About the Nelson Tower in New York
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectureal style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The Nelson Tower is an Art-deco skyscraper designed by H.Craig Severance and built between 1930 and 1931 in New York, NY.

Its precise street address is 450 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY. You can also find it on the map here.

The building underwent a major restoration between 1963 and 1964. The architect commissioned to undertake this restoration was John J. McNamara.

Building's timeline

Construction begins
Construction completed
years ago
  1. 1963 to 1964 - The lobby walls, ceiling and facade were renovated. The architect in charge was John J. McNamara.

Architect and team

H.Craig Severance was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design.

H.Craig Severance was in charge of the architectural design, however, architecture is a complex discipline, which usually involves many professionals from different fields, without whom this building would have not been possible. We will surely be leaving out a lot of names here, but at the very least we know that there was one other part involved, that was Julius Nelson as the Main Developer.

Architectural Style

The Nelson Tower can be categorized as an Art-deco building.

The Art Deco movement flourished during the 1920s and 1930s, with many historians marking the outbreak of World War II as its final decline. Even though a couple of decades might not seem as much, the Art Deco movement had a great impact on architecture, and it's widely represented in many American cities due to the development boom that happened during that time.

Art Deco marked the abandonment of traditional historicism and the embracement of modern living and the age of the machine. In architecture, that meant leaving behind the ornaments of Beux-Arts and Neo-Gothic buildings and instead favoring simplicity and visual impact through geometric shapes, clean lines, and symmetrical designs. Ornaments were still an important part of the design, but they became bold and lavish, and were often inspired by ancient cultures or industrial imagery, instead of nature.

The Nelson Tower was completed in 1931, right when the Art Deco movement was at its peak, so it kind of went with the trend at that time.

Spaces & Uses

The Nelson Tower reaches an architectural height of 561ft (171m). It has a total of 46 floors, served by 15 elevators.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1931, the Nelson Tower has mainly been used as Commercial space.

561ft (171m)

Materials & Structure

The Nelson Tower uses a frame structure made of steel columns and concrete slabs.

A frame structure uses a combination of beams and columns to sustain the building's weight. The walls in this case are non-load bearing, which allows for more flexibility when distributing the interior spaces.

The facade is non-load bearing either, as it is common in frame structure type buildings.

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features white stone on the first three floors, the upper part of each section, and the crown with a gentle slope. The rest of the facade is clad with brown stone. Embossed metal panels between the piers and carved stone segmentes separate the fith story windows.

Other materials found at the Nelson Tower include, black polished granito, used in the two-story entrance frame, light granite, found in the lobby walls panels, light granite, for most of the floors, and golden metal, used on the elevator doors, lamps and entrance door frames.