One Chase Manhattan Plaza Building

One Chase Manhattan Plaza Building
  1. About the One Chase Manhattan Plaza Building in New York
    1. Building Catalogations
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectureal style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The One Chase Manhattan Plaza Building is an International Style skyscraper designed between 1955 and 1956 by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, with Gordon Bunshaft as lead architect, and built between 1957 and 1961 in New York, NY.

One Chase Manhattan Plaza Building is not the only name you might know this building by though. The building is, or has also been known as 28 Liberty Street.

Its precise street address is 28 Liberty Street, New York, NY. You can also find it on the map here.

The One Chase Manhattan Plaza Building is a structure of significant importance both for the city of New York and the United States as a nation. The building embodies the distinctive characteristic features of the time in which it was built and the International Style style. Because of that, the One Chase Manhattan Plaza Building was officially declared as a national landmark on February 10th 2009.

Building's timeline

Design begins
Design completed
Construction begins
Construction completed
Declared NL
years ago

Architect and team

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, with Gordon Bunshaft as the lead architect, was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design. But there was also one other architect involved, as far as we know. We are talking about Jacques E. GuitonJacques E. Guiton.

Commonly known as SOM, the firm was founded in Chicago in 1936 and has grown to be one of the largest architecture firms in the world.

Even long after its founders passed away, SOM has remained at the top of worldwide architectural excellence by attracting visionary architects. Amongst their most notorious partners we find names such as Gordon Bunshaft, Bruce Graham, Walter Netsch, Adrian Smith, Myron Goldsmith or David Childs.

SOM has also managed to grow and evolve to tackle the architectural challenges of each time, whatever those might be, and today is committed to aspects as important as efficiency and sustainability, as core values of their designs.

With a legacy spanning decades, SOM continues to shape the skylines of cities around the world, and is a usual contestant in any competition or selection process to design large-scale or iconic buildings and structures.

Skidmore Owings Merrill

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and the other architects already mentioned were 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 here is a list of the people we do know also played their part in making the One Chase Manhattan Plaza Building a reality:

  • Weiskopf & Pickworth in charge of Structural Engineering
  • Turner Construction as the Main Contractor
  • Otis Elevator Company as the company in charge of the elevators system
  • Dan Kiley Landscape in charge of Landscape Architecture
  • Isamu Noguchi as the collaborating Artist

Architectural Style

The One Chase Manhattan Plaza Building can be categorized as an International Style building.

The international style originated in Europe in the early 20th century, and made its way to the US a couple of decades later when the rise of the Nazi regime forced figures such as Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, or Mies van der Rohe to flee Europe.

The International Style emerged as a response to the prevailing historicism and ornate architecture styles of the late 19th century, which according to a younger generation of architects didn't represent the new materials and construction techniques that were on the rise at the time.

Architecture in the early 20th century US was marked by the adoption of steel structures, modern construction techniques, and the rise of the skyscraper. As it turns out, this combination of circumstances created the perfect ecosystem for the International Style to flourish, becoming the to-go style for skyscraper designs during the mid-20th century, when American cities were growing fast.

The International Style’s legacy can not only be found in numerous iconic buildings across all major American cities, but also incorporated in contemporary architecture, which still puts a big emphasis on functionality and minimalism.

The One Chase Manhattan Plaza Building was designed in 1955. By 1955 the International Style movement had already left its early days behind and could be considered a mature movement, which does not mean it was loved and accepted by everyone, on the contrary. The International Style was accepted by the architecture community way before it was by the general public, and it is therefore likely that the One Chase Manhattan Plaza Building was not well received by everyone at the time.

Spaces & Uses

The One Chase Manhattan Plaza Building reaches an architectural height of 814ft (248m). It has a total of 65 floors, 60 above ground and 5 basements.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1961, the One Chase Manhattan Plaza Building has mainly been used as Commercial space.

814ft (248m)
5 basements

Materials & Structure

The One Chase Manhattan Plaza Building uses a framed tube-in-tube structure , with steel columns and reinforced concrete slabs.

A framed tube-in-tube structure uses a central core, known as inner tube, which usually holds stairs, lifts and installations, and a perimeter of columns around it, which form the exterior tube. The interior tube is tipically more massive (often made of reinforced concrete), and the exterior tube is "lighter" (made of steel or concrete columns). Both tubes are conencted via horizontal elements which make up the floors and also transmit any horizontal froces from the facade to the core.

The facade of the building is load bearing. This is a direct consequence of the integration of the exterior "tube" into the facade, something which most framed tube-in-tube buildings do in order to liberate the interior space from structural elements and achieve a more flexible interior.

So the facade of the builing is techinically load-bearing, yes, however, in between the load-bearing colums we find a curtain-wall type of facade, which by itself would not be cosnidered load-bearing.

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features protruding structural pillars, clad in aluminum panels, surround the facade and rise uninterruptedly from the ground, where they form a colonnade, to the top of the building. Each section between pillars contains 6 windows flanked by H-shaped aluminum mullions.

The pillars organize the facade into 9 bays on the long side of the building, and have not impact on the short side, where they are slightly retracted from the facade, allowing for the curtain wall to flow uninterrupted.

Above the 60th floor there is a four-level engine room that houses the large cooling fans.

At ground level, an elevated L-shaped plaza with a sunken circular garden transitions into the 9-meter-high lobby, surrounded by glass windows with silver and black frames.

Another material found at the One Chase Manhattan Plaza Building is travertine, found in the walls than enclose the six banks of elevators.