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Streamline Moderne | by drp
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Streamline Moderne

The McGraw-Hill is a transitional building in terms of styling. Many aspects of the building suggest Streamline Moderne, the final phase of Art Deco. This 33 stories tall skyscraper was built in 1930, and is located at 330 West 42nd Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues. It is the first major building to be clad with machine-made blue-green terra cotta and glass cladding over a steel frame. Often referred to as the "jolly green giant", the McGraw-Hill dominated the skyline in its neighborhood for most of its life.


Architect Raymond Hood designed the building with numerous setbacks on the north and south sides. From those angles, the building appears as a slab. But from the east or west, the building appears as a stepped tower. Each floor of the north and south sides consists of 7 sets of four double-hung windows, separated by green painted metal strips. These window bands on each floor are separated by continuous courses of bluish-green terra cotta brick, which vary in size and tone to create an almost sparkling effect from street level. There use was considered a totally radical one at the time, said to have been chosen by John Herbert McGraw himself.


The top two stories have horizontal ribs that almost resemble wings, which form a simple, clean, yet distinctive crown. The form of the building also follows the usage of its interior - with the lower floors housing the company's printing plant, office floors occupying the tower above, and executive floors at the top.


As always, Hood combined the practical constraints of the 1916 setback law with his unique vision and created a masterpiece. The McGraw-Hill is two great buildings in one. From two sides it is a graceful Art Deco tower, from the other two sides, an International Style Slab.



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Taken on November 7, 2005