The Museum Man

I saw Ted Hathaway, president and chief executive officer of Oldcastle Glass, recently at his midtown Manhattan offices. Those spacious, light-filled offices at Columbus Circle overlook Central Park and the new home of the Museum of Arts and Design.

Ted has a special attachment to this structure because he joined the museum’s board of trustees in 2004 and his company donated the glass for its recently installed new façade. While it is not scheduled to open until this September, the scaffolding is down except for at street level.

CLICK HERE for more information about the museum and Ted Hathaway’s participation with it.

The sleek new façade fits in well at Columbus Circle, next to the new Time Warner building. But the new look has not come about without controversy and its just another saga in the building’s controversial existence.

CLICK HERE for more information on the preservation controversy surrounding the structure.

I have always called the building the White Elephant. If memory serves me correctly, it was called that by one of the newspapers when it went through a period of disuse.

The original, white marble façade with its lack of windows, was designed by Edward Durell Stone. The architect for the redesign was Allied Works Architecture, which was founded by Brad Cloepfil in 1994 and is based in Portland, Ore.

Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on the structure: From 1964 to 2005 the site contained a 12 story modernist structure…to display the art collection of Huntington Hartford, heir to the founder of A&P Supermarkets. As Stone designed it, the building was marble-clad with Venetian motifs and a curved façade. It had filigree-like portholes and windows that ran along an upper loggia at its top stories. Stone’s building was often called “The Lollipop Building” in reference to a mocking review by architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable in which she called it a “die-cut Venetian palazzo on lollipops.”