Modern Living: Prestige Value

The building which Paul Rudolph—and most other architects—acknowledges as the "most beautiful curtain-wall building" in America was paying a penalty for it. Park Avenue's Seagram Building, designed by Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, has been judged by New York City's Tax Commission to be so expensively elegant that it should be taxed on a basis about 50% higher than if it were one of the bleak glass boxes that surround it.

Bronze-sheathed and thrusting out of a fountained plaza, the 38-story Seagram Building cost $36 million—more than twice as much as a...

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