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The Grace Building Essay

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Emerging from the subway station at the corner of 42nd Street and 6th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan there is a sight that can’t be missed, the imposing presence of the Grace Building. Fifty-stories high and located at the northeast intersection of both streets, this office building has a side entrance facing 6th Avenue and a main entrance opposite Bryant Park on 42nd Street. It towers over this park with a monolithic stance, distinctly visible in the Manhattan Skyline when it is observed from the southern tip of the island. Grace Building can be seen in the same frame as both the Pan Am and Chrysler Buildings, which stand to its east side, and also the Empire State Building, which sits to the south of it.
Located in the heart of Midtown, it is situated in a huge, nearly rectangular plot of land, taking over almost half the block between 6th and 5th Avenue and occupying the whole length between 42nd and 43rd Streets. Since the plot is wider than it is deep, Grace Building was placed facing the longer side, which also has the advantage of having a park in front of it, guaranteeing no future obstructions to its front views. Instead of being centered on the width of the lot, the building is aligned with its left east side, leaving it further inset unto 42nd Street, right up to the property division line. Besides it, occupying the plot right at the corner of 42nd and 6th Avenue, we see a smaller building reaching nearly one third of Grace building’s height and about half of its width. The corner of 43rd and 6th belongs to the Grace and features a Public Access Plaza, providing a space for pedestrians to congregate, complete with tables, benches and two food kiosks, along with a side entrance into the building. Considering all this, th...


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.... Or you can even drive to it, and park on the garage located in the building.
Aside from its functionality as an Office building, centrally located in the city, Grace Building provides pedestrians in Midtown with space and services that they can use while going about their daily routine. Its imposing and solid design balances the airiness of its travertine skin, which keeps the building even more visible by making it lighter than all its surroundings, with the accentuated height perception created by a combination of the slope construction with the dark tinted windows. It’s clear that form was as important as function in creating this particular design, intended to add a statement architectural piece that would be prominent in the Midtown skyline. Its design provides an interesting, clean and modern, contrast to all the older skyscraper buildings that surround it.



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