430 Park Avenue: Hoffman Auto Display Room (interior)

(8) Hoffman Auto Display Room (interior), 430 Park Avenue Frank Lloyd Wright, 1954   Built FAR:  16.39 proposed 21.6
DEMOLISHED

Hoffman Auto Display Room interior
430 Park Avenue
Frank Lloyd Wright, 1954

430 Park Avenue had been an apartment building designed by Warren & Wetmore and was redesigned by Emery Roth & Sons in 1954 into offices, partially in order to hold on to its massive, pre-zoning size. The building was again reskinned in recent years, but fortunately it is what is on the inside that is of most interest.

The former Hoffman auto display room sits in the northeast corner of the base of the building. One of the original tenants of the 430 Park in its Emery Roth & Sons incarnation, the auto showroom, under different names, continued for nearly 60 years in this location until the end of 2012. Maximilian Hoffman hired Frank Lloyd Wright to design his Jaguar showroom. By the time it opened, Hoffman had begun importing Mercedes-Benz automobiles and Jaguar opened its own showroom.

The centerpiece of the low-ceilinged space is a large turntable on which three or four cars could be displayed and ramp curving up beside it ending in a cantilevered balcony. The ramp, which was seen by the public five years before they would enjoy a much larger version at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, provided more room to display cars and a vantage point from where they could be viewed. Other features typical to Wright’s designs such as planters and built-in seating dot the room, and mirrored walls greatly expanded the relatively small space and allowed for multiple views of the cars.

Although expanded and renovated in 1982 and 2002, the space retains its Frank Lloyd Wright aura and feel distinct from any other auto showroom.

References:

Stern, Robert A.M., Thomas Mellins, and David Fishman, New York 1960: Architecture and Urbanism Between the Second World War and the Bicentennial (New York City: The Monacelli Press, 1995), 336.

http://www.steinerag.com/flw/Artifact%20Pages/PhRtS380.htm

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