June 8th 2021

SOM’s One Chase Manhattan Plaza is reminiscent of Mies’ Federal Buildings in Chicago. Probably done by a student of his, the plaza is an elevated stone plinth with stairs that lead up through the space on either side. The front elevation meets the street grade with a double set of stairs. The facade appears to be stainless steel in a characteristically SOM kind of way (in the best way) yet the structure and facade appears to be identically Miesian down to the revolving doors and travertine elevator cores. 

Refreshingly a taste of Chicago in New York and a bit more playful and lighter than the Federal Building Plaza. A circular fountain resembling a zen garden lies empty, but evidenced is one sign of life.

A soccerball that had not quite made it into the hole. Or perhaps fell in but was lifted out and placed gently on the edge with the flooding of rain. These kind of moments when ordinary life meets high design only suggest that life goes on within and without these monumental spaces.