Citigroup Center

153 East 53rd Street & Lexington Avenue
New York City NY United States

Construction Dates
Floor Count59
Basement Floors3
Building Uses
 - office
 - religious
 - restaurant
 - retail
Structural Types
 - highrise
 - atrium
 - tuned mass damper
 - narrow base
 - stilts

 Heights ValueSource / Comments 
Roof915 ftCTBUH
Top of Slanted Crown
Lower roof755 ft
Bottom of Slanted Crown
Switch heights to

DESIGN: Hugh Stubbins & Associates
ASSOCIATE: Emery Roth & Sons
CONSULTING: Edward Larrabee Barnes Associates

Developer: Citicorp - Citibank Group

• Owner: Citicorp - Citibank Group
Facts & Description:

• Cost: US$195 million (USD).

• Counting spires and antennas the Citigroup Center is the 6th tallest building in New York City and 5th tallest in Midtown. Not counting spires and antennas the Citigroup Center is the 4th tallest in the city and 3rd tallest in Midtown. The inclinated part was originally intended to hold solar power conversion panels.

• Being one of the first buildings in NYC to break out of the International 'box' style, the structure is supported by four exterior megacolumns at the center of each side and an octagonal core. This arrangement permited the developers to construct a large tower overtop of St. Peter's Lutheran Church where columns would otherwise reside. Additional air-rights were purchased from the church and allowed the tower to become one of the tallest in the city. The four corners are cantilevered 72' beyond the edge of the columns which rise 114' above the plaza to the first office floor.

• This column arrangement is not without its problems though and the behaviour of the lateral load resisting system was unwittingly changed as a result of the contrator's suggestion to substitute bolted for welded connections.

• It was only after completion of the tower that the original designer suspected a potential danger in the bolted connection and convinced the owners to undertake strengthening the joints. The tower's bolted joints were too weak to withstand 70mph wind. During the summer of 1978, work crews welded plate reinforcing to key diagonals to make the structure safe. Six weeks into the repair Hurricane Ella heading right for New York City and the tower was only half done with the repairs. The City was just hours away from disaster but luckily Hurricane Ella turned eastward away from the city giving the constructon workers enough time to fix the tower. Even though nothing happened the crisis was kept hidden from the public for almost 20 years.

• The 160' (48.8m) "crown" above the 59th floor was originally intended to provide high-rent condominium units but zoning bylaws prevented this development. The designers also contemplated using the sloped surface as a solar energy collector, but this proved unfeasible and the southerly orientation remained as part of the final design. The crown also houses one of the first Tuned Mass Dampers used in a tall building design (see also John Hancock Tower in Boston). The TMD comprises a solid 400-ton block of concrete resting on oil-film bearings and electronically controlled actuators over 800'(240m) above the ground for building stability.

• The Double-decker elevator cars reduce the area devoted to the vertical circulation core, leaving more space available for offices first also thought to have residents, but abandonned due to zone laws.

• The architects were recognized with an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects in 1979 because the condition first skyscraper in the U.S. to be built with a tuned mass damper ontop narrow base above the old church.

• Renovations are undertaken in 2004 at roof and 1997 in lobby.

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