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New York City Architecture
New York City is home to many famous architectural feats, both old and new. The Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building are two famous examples that come to mind quickly, as the stars of the New York Skyline. With the amount of money and business in the city every day, it makes sense that some of it be poured into glamorous and functional buildings.
The Beacon Theater
Some of the most beautiful architecture in the city can be found in the Broadway theaters. The Beacon Theater, located on upper Broadway, is a classic example. Designed by the Chicago architect Walter W. Ahlschlager, it was originally intended for films and Vaudeville concerts. It was conceived to be part of a chain of movie palaces throughout New York City, the first of which was the Roxy Theater.
The Beacon was supposed to be called the Roxy Midway Theater. After it was almost completed, the owner lost his fortunes and the theater was taken over by Warner Theaters that renamed it the Beacon. It has 2,894 seats and three tiers. It is now one of the foremost venues for live entertainment in Manhattan.
The opulent style of the Beacon is toned in Grecian-style luxury including Greek Goddesses thirty feet tall. The floors are white marble, the bars are mahogany, the doors leading to the vestibule are bronze, and the details are exquisite, with gilded moldings and brass railing on the staircases. The stage is curtainless and can rise from the basement, and the corridors are painted with murals of Eastern trading caravans.
The Broadway Theater
The Broadway Theater, located in Midtown Manhattan, was designed by Eugene De Rosa. It too originally opened for movies and Vaudeville concerts. It was renovated extensively in 1956 and 1986. The theatre houses a very large stage, almost sixty feet deep, and a large seating capacity, with 1,761 seats.
The Winter Garden
The Winter Garden Theater, also located in Midtown Manhattan, was originally built in 1986 by William Kissam Vanderbilt as The American Horse Exchange. In 1911 it was remodeled by architect William Albert Swasey to be a theater.
It was fully redesigned by Herbert J. Krapp in 1922. The large stage is especially wide for a Broadway theater. The building is uniquely designed with the entrance and Marquee facing Broadway, and a long corridor connecting it to the stage which faces the side street. It housed the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Cats” for nineteen years, and the stage was completely redone to accommodate the junkyard look for the production. When the “Cats” run ended, architect Francesca Russo was hired to restore the theater to its 1920s look.
The Guggenheim Museum
Another well-known architectural landmark in New York City is the Guggenheim Museum. It was designed by world famous architect Frank Lloyed Wright and was completed in 1959. The task was to build an edifice that would be art itself without distracting from the art inside.
The design of the museum is essentially an upside-down spiral, with gaps in between the levels that absorb outside light. The look is clean, white and modern, while at the same time provoking intrigue. The major coup for the visitor is that one need not meander through exhibits, but one can view the entire collection from start to finish while walking up or down the spiral. This ingenious design also serves to display the art without distracting the viewer.
Location: New York City, USA
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63 Madison Avenue
photo courtesy of architects
63 Madison Avenue Manhattan
Guggenheim Museum, East Harlem
Design: Frank Lloyd Wright Architects
New Amsterdam Plein
New Amsterdam Pavilion
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