Take I.M. Pei’s plans with a mix of relief and regret. Imagine an alternative-universe New York City, where a hyperboloid skyscraper; a narrow, vase-shaped tower stands proudly over the Midtown skyline. Standing haughty, unique, and unforgettable—right on top of what used to be Grand Central Terminal.
The video is beautifully done and it certainly does more justice to the building than any of the renderings I’ve seen of it. (And I do like the creative touches the director added like the kitschy, Mad Men interior decorating from 1:36 to 1:49.) Perhaps Robert Moses would have approved the plan if he saw that video instead of the image below. And thus, would have probably made this the most hated building in NYC.
The plans for I.M. Pei’s Hyperboloid date to 1956, which by my account predates Charles Luckman’s plans for replacing Penn Station with the latest incarnation of Madison Square Garden. Strange to think of an alternative universe where the public outcry toward the demolition of Grand Central Terminal lead to the survival of Penn Station. And as the sun rises on this New York, long shadow of the Hyperboloid is cast over the granite eagles of Penn Station. It seems that one of them had to be martyred for the cause of landmarks preservation.
It would still be a nice building to have…off of any priceless, well-maintained and irreplaceable landmarks thank you very much. An ongoing discussion about the building can be found on this forum.