Lever House – Curtain Wall Replacement

SOM designed the curtain wall remediation for one of its most iconic towers, Lever House, located on Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. Built in 1952, SOM partner Gordon Bunshaft's innovative design for this corporate headquarters established a new architectural vocabulary and set standards for office design around the world.

One of the first sealed-glass buildings to be constructed, the tower's curtain-wall detailing defined industry fabrication methods. Over the years, however, the curtain wall had deteriorated due to material and fabrication limitations and weather conditions. Water damage resulted in the bowing of horizontal mullions, breakage of spandrel glass panels and some vision glass, and the cracking of wired spandrel glass due to thermal stresses.

To preserve the modern landmark without changing its appearance, old materials and systems were successfully replaced with state-of-the-art solutions in modern wall technology, including concealed aluminum glazing channels, stainless steel mullions and caps, and new panes of heat-strengthened PPG solex glass. Once again, this 20th-century icon is a glittering jewel in the Manhattan cityscape, expressing how enlightened design can make a work of art out of office space. The project also set a precedent for restoring a modern landmark.