About Tower 49
Tower 49 is an office skyscraper in the Midtown Manhattan district of New York City. While nowhere near as illustrious as its neighbours at Rockefeller Center it is of principal architectural note because it provides an elegant solution to the problem of an irregular building lot. In this case the lot is fronted on both 48th Street and 49th Street between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue. The street frontages were offset by about the width of an NYC brownstone lot on both sides. To answer this design challenge, the firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill came up with a simple crystalline form of two chamfer-cornered masses joined by the central service core and wrapped in blue-tinted mirror glass. There are several buildings in the city with similarly irregular lots but this one shines because it looks like a design that didn't made compromises to the lot. A typical example of the offset lot design problem in New York City is the Squibb Building which occupies a midblock site between 5th & 6th Avenues and 56th & 57th Streets. As seen in this image the 56th Street side was only able to obtain half the frontage of the 57th Street side and even at that, was offset by several metres.