Mies-on-a-beam

Mies-on-a-beam

Seagram Building
New York, NY
1997

This landscape supplement for the Seagram Building returns function to the two anomalous, nonfunctional aspects in Mies van der Rohe’s New York masterpiece: the I-beams and the tree plaza. Mies-on-a-Beam (mise-en-abyme) transforms the ornamental curtain wall I-beams into wheel tracks for a pair of mobile grass platforms linked to the window washing hoist. The platforms rejuvenate the ineffective grove of trees at street level, in which the architect took great interest, by making them accessible to all floors of the building. With the foliage-enhanced plaza available at every level, Mies’s desire for the absolute sameness of each floor is brought closer to fruition. In addition to cleaning the windows, the surface serves as a smoking terrace, an executive putting green, and a cantilevered roof, complete with high-hats underneath for outdoor illumination. Each detail is designed to do more with less-is-more through a doubling of function.

Project team:  Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, David J. Lewis