Daily digest: CBS sells Eero Saarinen’s only skyscraper, the Obama Presidential Center breaks ground, and more

Moving Along

Daily digest: CBS sells Eero Saarinen’s only skyscraper, the Obama Presidential Center breaks ground, and more

The exterior of the Eero Saarinen-designed CBS Building in Manhattan as of July 2021. (Epicgenius/Wikimedia Commons/Accessed under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license)

Welcome back to another Tuesday news roundup, one rife with art and design stories to catch up on.

Here’s what you need to know today:

ViacomCBS is offloading its Eero Saarinen-designed Manhattan headquarters

The 38-story, Eero Saarinen-designed Black Rock, also known as the CBS Building after the broadcasting network that originally commissioned it and called the building home since its construction in 1964, is changing hands. The Midtown Manhattan skyscraper at 1300-1316 6th Avenue, clad in vertical, triangular bands of Canadian black granite, has been sold by ViacomCBS to the international real estate investment firm Harbor Group International for $760 million. Harbor Group will reportedly renovate the tower’s lobby, cafeteria, and other amenity areas.

H/t to The Wrap

The Obama Presidential Center breaks ground

It’s been a long and twisty road for the Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects-designed Obama Presidential Center in Chicago’s Jackson Park (and one not exempt from legal challenges), but the OPC finally broke ground yesterday. The project’s total cost has ballooned to about $700 million, $500 million of which is reportedly for “hard costs” such as construction. The City of Chicago only formalized turning over 19.3 acres of the Olmsted and Vaux-designed, National Register of Historic Places-listed South Side park to the Obama Foundation on Friday, August 13. A more ceremonial groundbreaking event is expected to take place later this fall.

H/t to the Chicago Tribune

New York’s vaccine mandate begins for cultural institutions and restaurants

Yesterday, August 16, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced vaccine mandates for both museum and cultural institution visitors and employees. Although the mandate goes into effect today, those venues won’t be required to actually enforce it until September 13 to give the public time to get informed about the campaign. This comes on the heels of similar restrictions at gyms, restaurants (for those dining indoors), movie theaters, and more in the Big Apple as COVID’s Delta variant continues to spread explosively across the country.

H/t to the New York Times

Ann Beha Architects creates the new Philip Roth Personal Library at the Newark Public Library

The Boston-based Ann Beha Architects has announced the completion of the Philip Roth Personal Library, a double-height research and exhibition center for displaying the late author’s 7,000-plus strong book collection and personal objects. The new center at the Newark Public Library is not only an examination of the man himself but his connection to the New Jersey city.

A bungled Monet heist in the Netherlands leads to gunfire

Art and design robberies have surged during COVID as cultural institutions closed to the public, but that doesn’t mean they’ve all been successful. On Sunday morning, August 15, a would-be thief tried looting the Zaans Museum in the Netherlands, running off with Monet’s 1871 De Voorzaan en de Westerhem under their arm. After getting on a motorcycle driven by an accomplice and struggling with a bystander who attempted to stop them from escaping, the burglar dropped the painting on the ground and sped off; it’s not clear which but one of the two reportedly also fired shots to cover their escape. The motorcycle was later discovered abandoned. The museum will assess the painting, last valued at $1.4 million, for damages and will proceed with repairs if necessary.

H/t to Artnet News

EA Vancouver’s campus expansion moves into the city’s first large mass timber office building

Electronic Arts is expanding its Vancouver operations and moving into a 120,000-square-foot mass timber office building, the city’s first of that scale. The four-story, LEED Platinum building, designed in 2014 for MEC along Great Northern Way, sits just a stone’s throw from the video game developer’s central campus in Burnaby.

H/t to VGC