Environment: A Little Fun

New York's celebrated concrete canyons and glittering skyscrapers, which many people consider exciting, are actually sterile, pompous and stupefyingly dull. At least that is Melvyn Kaufman's view—and he is doing something about it. A partner in the William Kaufman Organization, a prominent New York building firm founded by his father, he has launched a campaign "to humanize buildings through shock and disruption."

Kaufman's efforts began in earnest in 1970, when he opened a new office building in the Wall Street area. From a distance it looks like the other towers all around it—humdrum—but...