Mount Sinai Hospital
Middle of block between Fifth and
Madison Avenues and 101st Street
of Mt. Sinai Hospital and new apartment tower just to the north from
the reservoir in Central Park
By Carter B. Horsley
Fifth Edition of the AIA Guide
to New York City by Norval
White, Elliot Willensky wth Fran Leadon described this building as
a "great, rusty, cadaverous blockbuster, an incursive bulk."
was designed in 1976 by Roy Allen of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and
sits in a large mid-block plaza. Mr. Allen designed One Liberty
Plaza downtown on Broadway for US Steel, a slimmer and more attractive
similar tower in 1972.
Annenberg Building at Mount Sinai Hospital
viewed from 96th Street and Madison Avenue
structure is a dark-brown monolith whose few widely space angular piers
suggests the possible influence of Eero Saarinen's dark office tower in
a sunken plaza for CBS in midtown.
That tower, however, was much more elegant and surrounded by other tall
structures. This tower's bulk is much more menacing.
In their great book, "New York 1960,
Architecture and Urbanism Between the Second World War and the
Bicentennial," Robert A. M. Stern, Thomas Mellins and David
Fishman, provide the following commentary about the hospital:
"Mount Sinai Hospital's medical complex was concentrated on a
superblock bounded by Fifth and Madison avenues, Ninety-eighth
and 101st streets, but the hospital maintained buildings on nearby
blocks as well. In the 1950s and 1960s, the hospital erected a
series of buildings that vastly expanded the complex's facilities and
fortified its presence in the neighborhood, although they were rather
banal exercises in Modernist aesthetics, largely indistinguishable from
the most mediocre post-war office and apartment buildings.
"The best of the new buildings were Kahn & Jacobs's nine-story
Klingenstein Pavilion (1952), a maternity facility at 1176
Fifth Avenue, and the firm's adjacent Atran Laboratory and Berg
Institute for Research (1954), extending east to Madison Avenue.
"Less satisfying were Eggers & Higgins's twelve-story Klingenstein
Clinical Center (1967), a psychiatric facility at 1450 Madison Avenue,
and Brown & Gunther's List Nurses Residence (1962), a twelve-story
red-brick at 3 East 101st Street. The most distinguished of the
lot was Pomerance & Breines's narrow seventeen-story,
balcony-studded Baum-Rothchild Staff Pavilion apartment tower (1967) at
1249 Park Avenue, on the southeast corner of Ninety-seventh
Street. The design added a lively if somewhat incongruous note to
the avenue, mediating between the dominant uniformity of the
stylistically restrained, Classical prewar luxury apartment buildings
to the south and the tenements to the north.
the early 1970s Mount Sinai succeeded in having the city demap
Ninety-ninth and 100th streets, thus creating a site for its largest
postwar addition, the thirty-one-story Annenberg Building (1974), which
housed the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, founded in 1968.
Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, with Roy O. Allen serving
as partner in charge of design, this behemoth of Cor-ten steel and
dark-tinted glass towered above its surroundings, a jarring and ominous
intruder on the skyline when viewed from either Central Park or East
View from the north on Madison Avenue
ground level the building was no more benign, rising from a banal plaza
relieved only by a sculpture by Arnaldo Pomodoro titled Large Sphere
(1967)....Paul Goldberger was equally biting in his criticism:....'In
true Skidmore, Owings & Merrill fashion, this is a box,
making no concessions whatsoever to anything around it, but bursting on
the neighborhood and thrusting itself onto the skyline like the town