Dylan Sang Here: Modernist Look Building Landmarked

look building 2 Dylan Sang Here: Modernist Look Building Landmarked

The Landmarks Preservation Commission today unanimously added the 21-story “Look Building” to its list of midtown landmarks. The white-brick, multi-tiered office tower, located at 488 Madison Avenue, between 51st and 52nd streets, was under consideration by the commission after its staff completed a survey of around 500 midtown buildings.

Designed by architecture firm Emery Roth & Sons, and named after one of its first tenants, Look magazine, the structure is one of nine modernist city buildings that have been stamped with the landmark designation over the past seven years.

Esquire magazine, Pocket Books, and music publisher Witmark & Sons—which had a studio where a young Bob Dylan produced demo recordings in the 1960s—have been tenants in the building, which was completed in 1950.

The Look Building features tightly rounded corners, multiple setbacks, and bands of ribbon-like windows, giving it a strong horizontal emphasis. Now owned by the Feil Organization and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the building was originally sold to the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in 1953.

“The Look Building helped establish European Modernism as a fashionable, though practical, approach for office towers that were constructed in Manhattan’s business districts after the Second World War,” Landmarks chairman Robert B. Tierney said in a press release sent out this morning. (The Observer‘s Emily Geminder profiled the building in March.)

In other landmark news, the commission also unanimously approved landmark status for the Beaux Arts-style Middleton Burrill House, a five-story Murray Hill mansion at 36 East 38th Street, between Madison and Park avenues.

The commission made some advances in Brooklyn, too, agreeing to hold public hearings on proposals for two historic districts—the proposed Wallabout Historic District (55 houses along Vanderbilt Avenue), and the Park Place Historic District (a group of 13 Romanesque Revival row houses in Crown Heights).

slevin@observer.com