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30-story Lorillard Building. 200 East 42nd Street, east side of Third Avenue. Emery Roth & Sons, 1957-1959. View of the Lorillad Building looking southeast from 666 Third Avenue Building at 42nd Street, in the summer of 1966, with the Continental Can Building (Harrison & Abramovitz, 1961) at right and Daily News Building (Hood & Howells, 1930) at left.

Photo: Office for Metropolitan History, New York, N.Y.

Source: Stern, Robert. A.M. Mellins, Thomas. Fishman, David. “New York 1960. Architecture and urbanism between the Second World War and the Bicentennial” (New York. The Monacelli Press. 1997).

10

The Heroic Project

At a time when concrete buildings across the United States are widely disparaged and in danger of insensitive renovation or demolition, the Heroic Project surveys the original aspirations of the 1960s and 1970s, recorded through the lens of Boston’s transformation. After nearly eight years of research and advocacy, with your help we can complete fundraising for a book (scheduled to be published by The Monacelli Press in October 2015) documenting Boston’s unparalleled collection of concrete structures and an expanded web archive that will provide an ongoing platform to consider anew the legacies of these works and others like them across North America.

Often labeled with the misleading term “Brutalist,” these buildings were conceived with progressive-minded intentions by some of the world’s most influential architects, including Marcel Breuer, Henry Cobb, Araldo Cossutta, Gerhard Kallmann and Michael McKinnell, Le Corbusier, I. M. Pei, Paul Rudolph, Josep Lluís Sert, and The Architects Collaborative. We have commissioned essays by historians Joan Ockman, Lizabeth Cohen, Keith Morgan,and Douglass Shand-Tucci, and conducted interviews with Cossutta, Cobb, McKinnell as well as prominent local protagonists such as Peter Chermayeff, Tician Papachristou, Tad Stahl,and Mary Otis Stevens.

If you care about Heroic concrete architecture, we invite you to support this effort to reshape discourse around the importance of these buildings not only in Boston but across the nation.

Check out this Kickstarter!

Kurt Vonnegut described his artwork as a pursuit that liberated him from the oppressive work of writing. Take a look at some of his whimsical drawings: http://nyr.kr/1gL0YFh

Image from “Kurt Vonnegut Drawings” (Monacelli Press), edited by Nanette Vonnegut, out May 13th.

The 28-story Corning Glass Building. 717 Fifth Avenue, southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 56th Street. Harrison & Abramovitz, architects, 1957-1959.

View looking southeast of the Corning Glass Building from West 56th Street, in Spring, 1961, showing the new 555 Madison Avenue (John M. Kokkings-Morris Lapidus-Kornblath, Harle & Liebman, 1961) under construction.


Photo: Ezra Stoller.

Source: Stern, Robert. A.M. Mellins, Thomas. Fishman, David. “New York 1960. Architecture and urbanism between the Second World War and the Bicentennial” (New York. The Monacelli Press. 1997).

The 41-story First National City Bank Building. 399 Park Avenue, east block between 53rd to 54th streets. Carson & Lundin in association with Kahn & Jacobs, architects. 1957-1961.

View looking northeast of the new First National City Bank Building from Park Avenue and 52nd Street in Spring, 1961, showing the Seagram Building (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-Phillip Johnson-Kahn & Jacobs, 1958) at right, foreground, and the 425 Park Avenue Building (Kahn & Jacobs, 1957, partially demolished in 2015-16) at left, background. 

Photo: Ezra Stoller.

Source: Stern, Robert. A.M. Mellins, Thomas. Fishman, David. “New York 1960. Architecture and urbanism between the Second World War and the Bicentennial” (New York. The Monacelli Press. 1997).

The 52-story Union Carbide Building. 270 Park Avenue between Park and Madison avenue and 47th 48th Streets. Architect: Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. 1957-1960. View of the new skyscraper looking southwest from Waldorf-Astoria Hotel showing the Empire State Building on background. Summer 1960.

Photo: Ezra Stoller/ESTO

Source: Stern, Robert. A.M. Mellins, Thomas. Fishman, David. “New York 1960. Architecture and urbanism between the Second World War and the Bicentennial” (New York. The Monacelli Press. 1997).