Lever House, designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and located at 390 Park Avenue in New York City, is the quintessential and seminal glass box International Style skyscraper. It is the pioneer curtain wall skyscraper in New York City. The 92 meters tall building features an innovative courtyard and public space. For better or worse, in 1952, Lever House marked a turning point in the International Style away from the idealism of the European avant-garde toward the commercialism of corporate America. Most of the headquarters of the corporations on and around Park Avenue adopted this style of building. The building featured a glimmering 24-story blue-green heat-resistant glass concealing the internal structure and stainless steel curtain-wall. The curtain-wall was designed to reduce the cost of operating and maintaining the property. Its curtain-wall is completely sealed with no operating windows. This meant that much less dirt from the city would get into the building. The heat resistant nature of the glass also helped to keep air conditioning costs down. Additionally, the property featured a roof-top window-washing gondola that moved about the parapet wall on tracks. The ground floor contained no tenants. Instead, it harboured an open plaza with garden and pedestrian walkways. Only a small portion of the ground floor was enclosed in glass and marble. It also offered space for displays and waiting visitors, a demonstration kitchen and an auditorium.
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