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M II A II R II K May 29, 2008 1:44 AM

NEW YORK | Grand Central Tower | 1,497 FT | 108 FLOORS | 1956 | NEVER BUILT

Developers began seriously exploring the idea of building a skyscraper above Grand Central Terminal in the early 1950s. The idea for a skyscraper on the site, though, had been actually around since the Beaux Arts terminal was completed in 1913. Its architects, Reed & Stem, proposed their own tower which would have elegantly straddled the terminal’s main passenger hall.

Working for developers Webb & Knapp, I.M. Pei proposed an 80-story tower with a circular footprint and, thanks to a taper halfway up the shaft, an hourglass profile. Its facade was crisscrossed by structural supports; overall the building resembled a bundle of sticks. At the base of Pei’s building, and again in its upper levels, the floors were left open and the structure was left exposed. Grand Central Terminal would have been demolished to make room for the tower, just as Penn Station was demolished a few years later to make room for Two Penn Plaza and Madison Square Garden.
Although Pei’s design was passed up, the idea for a Grand Central skyscraper remained. In the late 1960s, the terminal’s owner sold the air rights to developer UGP Properties, which hired architect Marcel Breuer. By this point, however, the terminal had been designated a historic landmark, and with support from the nascent preservation movement, the Landmarks Commission rejected Breuer’s design. However, a skyscraper was built north of Grand Central Terminal: the Pan Am Building (now the Met Life Building), completed in 1963. This high-rise has been said to be the one New Yorkers would most like to see demolished, because it obstructs Park Avenue’s view corridor and dwarfs nearby buildings.

BrandonJXN May 29, 2008 4:52 AM about ahead of it's time. This is in Doha, Qatar. And people say that architects in the middle east are progressive. It's nothing more than a 50 year old design.

Aspire Tower

Patrick May 29, 2008 6:23 AM

Other proposals:

Wrightguy0 May 29, 2008 10:50 AM


Originally Posted by Patrick (Post 3580604)

I like the one on the left

latennisguy May 29, 2008 1:17 PM

left = :yuck: right = :tup:

JDRCRASH May 29, 2008 5:42 PM


The one on the left is classic!:D

scalziand May 30, 2008 5:00 AM

Are there any air rights left in grand central or were they pretty much used up by the bloomburg tower?

The proposal with met-life in the background is one huge ass int. style box.

Wrightguy0 May 30, 2008 10:07 AM


Considering that the PanAm was the largest building in the world at that time.

Complex01 May 30, 2008 4:08 PM

I like this one. I see a handful of projects out there that looks like this. It would have been awesome...

sabino86 Jun 21, 2008 3:59 PM


Originally Posted by Patrick (Post 3580604)

:yuck: :yuck: :yuck:

Apparently, this would have required gutting Grand Central. Now that would have been a loss...

NYguy Mar 8, 2010 2:31 PM

Some cool video...

Video Link

NYguy Mar 9, 2010 1:38 AM

NYguy Mar 9, 2010 1:50 AM

What now straddles Park Avenue...(March 6)

kickser Apr 29, 2010 10:01 PM

They should definately reanimate this design and build this tower somewhere at the hudson yards project, nearby the proposed hotel Penn tower.

Jasoncw May 4, 2010 3:31 AM

The Hyperboloid looks cool, and it's very ahead of its time to be proposed in the 50s. If it were being built today in Russia or the middle east or someplace, it would be considered cutting edge. But as far as I can tell it doesn't really have any specificity to the Grand Central Station site, maybe it would have been better off if it were built for a new station someplace else. I wonder if it had been built if we'd could consider it to be an important landmark or an incredible mistake (ala Madison Square Garden). Maybe we'd have mixed feelings over it.

I'm surprised at this proposal. It doesn't seem very monumental to me, it just seems like a very normal unspecial building. The modern towers were at least incredibly monumental. Such a massive and unrelenting building on that view on Park Avenue is definitely monumental.

Although if I were putting a tower there I'd probably have the narrow side facing Park Avenue. The MetLife building looks a lot better from the narrow side.

Does anyone know about any proposals from the 20s or 30s? I bet those would be pretty interesting.

TANGELD_SLC May 30, 2010 9:47 AM

Wow. Talk about hyper-futuristic. I love it! Too bad it wasn't ever built.

MolsonExport Sep 16, 2010 1:32 PM

Starts with U and ends with Y.

wrab Oct 3, 2010 3:07 AM

OMG what an amazing structure.

IMBY Dec 19, 2012 1:07 PM

The fact that this stunning tower was never built is enough to bring tears to my eyes! And why didn't Chicago go ahead an build it, or some other city?

Sad, sad, sad!!

CypressClinton Apr 14, 2014 7:15 PM

Ummm.... if You know anything about Grand Central TERMINAL, the 1950's tower would have destroyed the station, literally. THANK GOD IT WAS NEVER BUILT>

The fight to preserve Grand Central TERMINAL was epic leading all the way to the Supreme Court and made landmarking for design alone legal across the USA. The best of the best buildings in NY and elsewhere are still standing as a direct result of the Grand Central Tower never being built. I rather have all those other architectural wonders than the Grand Central Tower. Personally I think I. M. Pei was evil for even participating in this plot to destroy Grand Central TERMINAL.

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