The Seagram Building is an icon in the New York City horizon and one of the most notable of creations of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a founding father of modern architecture who on this day would celebrate his 129th birthday. Because the man isn't here to do that himself, we will commemorate the late architect whose buildings of glass and steel, as Curbed National puts it, "helped define modern architecture as we know it."
The Seagram Building on Park Avenue between 52nd and 53rd streets came into being in the late 1950s when Phyllis Lambert, the visionary daughter of Seagram's founder Samuel Bronfman, took the reins for the tower's design and ascent. During its extensive planning process, architects like Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Le Corbusier were overlooked in favor of Mies van der Rohe, whose minimalist design of glass and bronze won Lambert's favor. The 515-foot, 38-story building began its ascent in 1957, was dedicated in 1959, and is hailed to this day as a precedent-setting structure for modern corporate architecture with its imposing 100-foot entry plaza and marbled corridors. Described by the New York Times as one of the "millennium's most important buildings," the Seagram Building remains an icon of 20th century industry and the rise of corporation.