WAN Awards 2015


WAN Mobile
WAN Mobile
Previous Next

980 Madison Avenue, New York, New York, United States

Sunday 25 Oct 2009

Third time’s a charm

Foster and Partners third attempt successfully approved 
Your comments on this project

No. of Comments: 0

Add comments | More comments

Be the first to comment


Foster’s 980 Madison wins approval, finally! 

Two years after rejecting Foster and Partners' controversial 30-storey glass tower proposal for 980 Madison Avenue, the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) has approved a smaller, less intensive expansion of the five-storey gallery building. The new design, Foster’s third, tops out at 108 feet, is set back along Madison Avenue, and features a light bronze coloured scrim. The design is a tame one for Foster, who is known for creating buildings that break the rules rather than follow them, but the changes were necessary for the project to go forward.

The road to the project’s approval has been a long and arduous one for developer Aby Rosen and his architect Norman Foster, who are both associated with great projects in the city. Foster’s Hearst building is much admired and Rosen is the owner-cum-curator of a distinguished group of properties that include the Lever House, the Seagram Building and 40 Bond. Yet, in spite of their architectural good deeds elsewhere in the city, the team’s tower design was met with a firestorm of opposition from neighbourhood residents and a cool reception from New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff that doomed it to the archive of good ideas gone bad. The design was ultimately denied by the LPC as being too ambitious for its historic Upper East Side location. Two and a half years hence, Foster returned to the LPC with a second scheme- this one a five storey box wrapped in a dark bronze coloured scrim set atop, yet back from, the existing gallery building. It too was rejected by the LPC as being out of scale for the neighbourhood. The third design, approved last night by a vote of 7-to-1 is like the second one, only a storey shorter and with a redesigned scrim that is lighter in colour and feel.

In a statement expressing strong support of the proposal, AIA NY Chapter President James McCullar and Executive Director Rick Bell called the design, “an appropriate addition to an existing building in an historic district”…"a modern complement to the brick upper level that makes up many of the elegant buildings in the neighbourhood”.

In spite of losing the opportunity to create an iconic piece of architecture in the district, Aby Rosen thanked the board for its approval. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to demonstrate that you can build with distinction in a historic district if you respond responsibly and work collaboratively with the Landmarks Commission", he said.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

Key Facts

Status Design
Value 0(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?
Foster + Partners

More projects by this architect

Mexico City International Airport

RMK Headquarters

Yacht Club de Monaco

Hankook Technodome

30 St Mary Axe

First and Mission Towers

Maggie’s Centre at The Christie

551 West 21st Street

Norton Museum of Art

Bund Finance Centre

Faena House

SSE Hydro Arena

The Bow

Lenbachhaus Museum

Apple HQ

Queen Alia International Airport

Vieux Port Pavilion

ME Hotel

Faena Aleph Residences

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts

New York Public Library

50 United Nations Plaza

Interview: Vishaan Chakrabarti

Grand Central Terminal Masterplan

425 Park Avenue Tower

Hongqiao Vantone SunnyWorld Centre

Cuba School of Dance

Musee de la Romanitee Narbonne

Shanghai Bund International Financial Centre

Datong Art Museum

Vieux Port

Hearst Tower

Masdar City

Jameson House

Thames Hub

Thames Hub

Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space

Kuwait International Airport

Edmond J. Safra Campus, Hebrew University


Slussen Waterfront

CITIC Bank Headquarters

Washington Convention Center

BMCE branches

Zayed National Museum

Harmon Hotel

Art of the Americas Wing, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Faustino Winery

VietinBank Business Centre

Sperone Westwater Gallery

Banco Ciudad de Buenos Aires

Fortaleza Hall


Langley Academy


Quatermile Phase 1

Campus Biometropolis


Vivaldi Tower

Incheon Free Economic Zone

Beijing International Airport

Heathrow Terminal 2

Walbrook Square

Spaceport America

Russia Tower

The Zénith

Slussen Regeneration Masterplan

Aurelis Mixed Use Complex

Camp Nou

Riva Hotel

UAE Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010

Capella Resort

Hermitage Plaza

The John Spoor Broome Library


Russia Tower

Hearst Tower

Al Faisaliah Tower 2

Robert and Arlene Kogod Courtyard, Smithsonian Institution

The Aleph

The Walbrook

Ruskin Square

U2 Tower

Clarence Hotel

Black Sea Gardens

Rimini Waterfront

State Street Corporation Fenway Entrance

Ernst & Young Headquarters

Elephant House, Copenhagen Zoo

Parke-Bernet Gallery, Upper East Side

The Willis Building

The Dolder Grand Hotel

The Index

Beijing Airport

Capella Singapore

Crystal Island

Black Sea Gardens

Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

United Arab Emirates Pavilion

Abu Dhabi Plaza

Beach Road

Camp Nou Stadium

Capital Airport

The New Mexico Spaceport Authority Building

Dresden Station Redevelopment

Living Wall

Mixed use tower

Faustino Winery, Gumiel de Izan

Masdar Development

Editorial - Wembley Stadium

Seattle Civic Square

Clarence Hotel, Dublin

980 Madison

Khan Shatyry Entertainment Centre

980 Madison

The Bow

Lenbachhaus Museum

Serrenia residential resort and hotel

Elephant House at Copenhagen zoo

Hearst Tower

Central Market scheme

Leslie L. Dan Pharmacy Building

Tower Two

Palace of Peace

Milano Santa Giulia

St Paul’s Church, Onslow Square

Walbrook Square

Sainsbury Center for Visual Arts


Click here to view the NEWS IN PICTURES tablet site