The AT&T Building: Philip Johnson and The Postmodern Skyscraper

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The AT&T Building: Philip Johnson and The Postmodern Skyscraper

September 26, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm EDT


The unveiling of the design for the new headquarters for AT&T, then the largest company in the world, appeared on the front page of The New York Times on March 31, 1978 and was quickly dubbed “the first Postmodern skyscraper.” The tower’s architect was Philip Johnson, who had championed the minimalist and functionalist aesthetics of the European avant garde as a curator at MoMA in the 1930s and had collaborated with Mies van der Rohe on the Seagram Building in the 1950s. With its granite-not-glass facade and split-pediment “Chippendale” roofline, Johnson’s AT&T overturned – or at least undermined for a decade – the aesthetics of Modernism he had helped establish as orthodoxy.

Join us on September 26 at 6 p.m. for the first of two webinars to examine the original design and the recent renovation and 21st-century reinvention of the now-landmarked AT&T/Sony Building, now known simply by its address, 550 Madison. The first program will feature ALAN RITCHIE, who was the Johnson Burgee project manager for AT&T and later Johnson’s partner, and SCOTT JOHNSON (no relation), now of the California-based firm Johnson Fain, who as a young architect in the office, worked on the tower’s team. They will discuss the original design and construction of the AT&T headquarters in both theory and practice.

This program is presented in connection with the Museum’s current exhibition SKY MARKS | LANDMARKS. The AT&T/Sony Building, now renamed by new owners for its address, 550 Madison, was designated a NYC Individual Landmark in 2018.

To register for these FREE programs, click on the link attached. You will be redirected to Eventbrite where you’ll receive the Zoom link upon registering. The webinars are limited to 100 attendees, but will be livestreamed to our YouTube channel.


September 26, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm EDT


The Skyscraper Museum
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