a look inside the art deco landmark in new york

a look inside the art deco landmark in new york


completed at the peak of new york’s love affair with art deco architecture, ‘one wall street’ still stands today as a landmark to a bygone era. occupying an entire block in the city’s bustling financial district, the building was originally designed by ralph walker, who, in 1957, was hailed as ‘the architect of the century’ by the new york times. constructed for irving trust, an american investment bank, the skyscraper opened at the start of the 1930s and continued to serve as an office building until 2015.

 

now, with the building currently being transformed into residences — the largest office to residential conversion in the history of the city — designboom delves into the archives for an inside look at the historical structure and some of the features hidden behind its limestone façade.

one wall street: a historical look inside ralph walker's art deco landmark in new york
image courtesy of the ralph walker archives

 

 

the photos show the bold and distinctive form of one wall street, with its numerous step-like recessions that became a defining feature of the art deco style. walker, who had already designed other art deco buildings in the new york city area, sought to incorporate decorative elements and motifs at ground level to humanize the skyscraper and leave a positive impression on the site’s numerous passersby.

one wall street: a historical look inside ralph walker's art deco landmark in new york
image courtesy of the ralph walker archives

 

 

the building’s ornate and grand entrance leads inside the building where hildreth meière, one of the most prominent muralists of her time, was asked to provide ‘an inviting and friendly’ reception area for the company’s clients. as part of the building’s renovation, this triple-height space — known as the ‘red room’ — has now been completely restored and will soon be used for retail. as explained by the international hildreth meière association, the room’s warm colors shift from a deep oxblood at the floor to orange with gold higher on the walls — an effect clearly visible in the images below.

one wall street: a historical look inside ralph walker's art deco landmark in new york
image courtesy of the ralph walker archives

 

 

in 2014, macklowe properties acquired the property and tasked architecture firm SLCE with converting the landmark building into residences with retail outlets at its base. in total, the renovated building will house 566 condos and a suite of amenities that includes an athletic club, a full-floor event and entertainment space, and spa services. residents are expected to begin moving in in late 2021, with the project’s full completion scheduled for late 2022. see more historical photos from ralph walker’s archive below, as well as images detailing the red room’s restoration, and renderings of the soon-to-be-complete development.

one wall street: a historical look inside ralph walker's art deco landmark in new york
image courtesy of the ralph walker archives

one wall street: a historical look inside ralph walker's art deco landmark in new york
image courtesy of the ralph walker archives

one wall street: a historical look inside ralph walker's art deco landmark in new york
image courtesy of the ralph walker archives

one wall street: a historical look inside ralph walker's art deco landmark in new york
image courtesy of the ralph walker archives

one wall street: a historical look inside ralph walker's art deco landmark in new york
image courtesy of the ralph walker archives

one wall street: a historical look inside ralph walker's art deco landmark in new york
image courtesy of the ralph walker archives



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