Archtober Building of the Day #7: IAC Headquarters

Archtober Building of the Day #7: IAC Headquarters

Frank Gehry's IAC Building in Manhattan. (Reto Fetz / Flickr)
Frank Gehry's IAC Building in Manhattan. (Drew Dies / Flickr)

IAC Headquarters
550 West 18th Street
New York, NY

The IAC Headquarters is Frank Gehry’s first building in New York. Neither a symphony hall nor an art gallery clad in riveting titanium that creates its own economic system, it is rather a diminutive swell of faceted glass with a graded white frit. Compared to most big-name office buildings, the IAC is built at a much more personal scale. Built as-of-right and opened to little in the way of the usual starchitect fanfare, some might notice it’s hard to find the front door. What you may not know, however, is how bird friendly the building is.

A bird in hand. (Laura Trimble / Center for Architecture)

Glass buildings are responsible for 100 million to 1 billion bird deaths every year in the United States. New York City is on a major migratory route, and our tall glass buildings kill millions every migration season. The New York City Audubon Society has created a handbook for architects to help them avoid design decisions that prove deadly to our avian companions. One such design tactic is to include a frit pattern on a buildings windows so birds don’t confuse the glass with the open sky. With a highly-fritted facade, the IAC is just fine for our feathered friends. (But with that hidden front door, you might see more humans walking into the glass building than birds!)

Each “Building of the Day” has received a Design Award from the AIA New York Chapter. For the rest of the month—Archtober—we will write here a personal account about the architectural ideas, the urban contexts, programs, clients, technical innovations, and architects that make these buildings noteworthy. Daily posts will track highlights of New York’s new architecture.