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488 Madison Ave. – former Look Building, proposed designation

WHEREAS, The former Look Building, 488 Madison Avenue (Corner of 51st Street), between East 51st and East 52nd Streets is a 23 story asymmetrical setback tower ("Wedding cake design") of white brick and continuous ribbon windows, built by the developers Harold and Percy Uris in 1948 - 50, designed by Emery Roth and Sons, one of the firm's first and finest commissions following the founder's death in 1947; and

WHEREAS, Richard and Julien Roth, the sons of the founder, broke sharply with their father's earlier work producing an innovative structure that was notable for its striking modernity, but also influencing future aesthetic trends; and 

WHEREAS, This building displays European modernism influenced particularly by the streamlined work of German expressionist architect, Erich Mendelsohn; and 

WHEREAS, This building positioned its architects as one of New York's leading firms and during the next two decades they would reshape the city's skyline and they would build about half of Manhattan's new office buildings; and 

WHEREAS, The building, built on speculation, leased nearly all its space prior to completion, attracting as tenants the building's architects and the prominent industrial designer, Raymond Loewy, and media companies such as Esquire and Look, for which the building was named and which occupied six floors from the opening in 1950 to 1971; and

WHEREAS, The Look Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the facade is subject to a conservation easement filed with the Trust for Architectural Easements; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the designation of the former Look Building, 488 Madison Avenue, Manhattan, as a New York City Landmark.

The above resolution passed by a vote of 40 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining.

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