New York’s iconic Lever House renovated by SOM

Image courtesy of SOM
Restoration work has been completed on Lever House, an icon of 20th-century modernism in Midtown Manhattan. The 94m-high office was completed in 1952 for soap company Lever Brothers, and the original building and the refurbishment were designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).

The renovation has restored the lobby and the ground-level public plaza, and has added modernised building systems.

SOM located the quarry used to source stone for the building, which allowed the original finishes of the elevator cab interiors to be extended and a tenant cellar entrance to be created. The plaza area was replaced by cast-in-place concrete that copied Lever House’s original exterior paving. A water-damaged ceiling was also replaced.

The tower’s third floor and 15,000 sq ft of terraces have been transformed into the Lever Club, an indoor-outdoor hospitality suite.

A dedicated outdoor ventilation system improves the building’s energy performance and maximises ceiling heights.

Lever House’s exterior (Lei Xu/Dreamstime)

The lobby, furnished by Los Angeles company Marmol Radziner, has sculptures by Ellsworth Kelly that extend across multiple floors.

The landscaping, which has been changed over the years, is now united with a birch tree canopy and native plantings.

Frank Mahan, a principal of SOM, said: “Our goal was to restore and modernise the building through a combination of material science and careful craftsmanship.

“From carefully calibrating the paving aggregate mix to cleaning the glass mosaic with a toothbrush, the approach is an expression of collective admiration for this architectural treasure.”

Callie Haines, Brookfield Properties’ vice president, said: “When Lever House first opened its doors, it redefined the modern workplace and set a new standard of excellence. Today, we raise the bar even higher, building upon that legacy through an impeccable restoration and reimagination of this Park Avenue icon.”

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