Manufacturer's Hanover Trust Bank

Added by Rosalind Streeter, last update: August 17, 2012, 2:02 pm

Manufacturer's Hanover Trust Bank
510 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY
United States
40° 45' 14.8392" N, 73° 58' 51.2256" W
Javascript is required to view this map.
Identity of Building / Site
Primary classification: Commercial (COM)
Secondary classification:
Federal, State, or Local Designation(s) and Date(s):
History of Building/Site
Original Brief:

It was designed as the Manufacturer's Trust Company's headquarters.

Dates: Commission / Completion:Completed 1954; Opened to the public October 4, 1954
Architectural and other Designer(s): Architectural firm - Skidmore, Owings, Merrill (Gordon Bunshaft) Landscape Architectural firm - Clarke & Rapuano
Others associated with Building/Site: Harry Bertoia (Barto, PA) - sulptor of the 70'-0' x 16' x 2' screen on the second floor, composed of 800 metal plates, also sculpted a metal mobile on the second floor Eleanor Le Maire - interior design consultant Horace C. Flanigan - president of Manufacturer's Trust Co. George A. Fuller Co. - builder
Significant Alteration(s) with Date(s):
Current Use: JPMorgan Chase Bank
Current Condition:
General Description:

The Manufacturer's Hanover Trust Bank is a five-story glass and steel structure, which has a 100' glass curtain wall on Fifth Ave. and a 125' glass curtain wall on Fourty-third St. The main vault is on the ground floor. The thirty-ton steel door is 16' thick and 7' in diameter. The glass panels in the curtain wall are set in aluminum frames. The second-story panels are 22' x 10' x .5" and weigh 1500 lb. There are no opening windows. The three dark gray glass spandrel courses divide the upper floors. In order to diffuse an even yellow light, the original ceilings were covered with ribbed plastic panels that were illuminated by cold-cathode lamps. The neutral-color spun-glass curtains are the only screen against the sun.

Construction Period:

steel frame, glass curtain wall

Original Physical Context:

It was built for $3 million dollars in 1954.

Technical Evaluation:

Scaffolding is built into the facades to facilitate window washing.

Floors are canilevered from columns that support the whole building.


Even though the Manufacturer's Hanover Trust had more humble beginnings, the bank on Fifth Ave. catered to the upper class. Early photographs show only well-dressed caucasian women and men.

Cultural & Aesthetic:
"glass lantern"

The glass panels on the second-story were the largest glass panels ever used in building construction at the time.

It is considered to be the first International Style bank in the United States.

General Assessment:
Text references:

SOM News 1953 No. 3, 1954 No. 8, 1955 No.11, 1955 No.15
New York Herald Tribune September 23, 1954
New York Times November 13, 1954

Recorder/Date: Rosalind Barr Streeter / March 4, 2008
P.O. Box 230977
New York, NY 10023
Terms of use | Contact | Privacy Policy | Credits
© 2017 DOCOMOMO US Google+