Goelet Building – Exterior and Interior

STATUS Designated Exterior and Interior Landmark

608 Fifth Avenue

ARCHITECT: Victor L. S. Hafner; Edward Hall Faile

DATE: 1930-32

STYLE: Art Deco

Art Deco Manhattan Midtown West

The ten-story Goelet Building at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 49th Street, built in 1930-32, was designed by Victor L. S. Hafner in the Art Deco style but modified to exhibit the supporting skeletal frame devised by the engineering firm of E. H. Faile. The spare horizontality of the lower stories’ glazed curtain walls suggest that, stylistically, this building is a transitional monument between the Art Deco and the International style.

The design and craftsmanship within the spaces Goelet Building make it among the finest examples of an Art Deco commercial interior. The marble polychromy, the horizontal and vertical battens, the inlay, and the aluminium leaf, characteristic components of the Art Deco, effectively define the sequence of these spaces.

Robert Goelet, a financer and real estate developer wished a building that would be comparable in architectural merit and prestige to the family mansion it replaced and would also complement the use and appearance of the buildings of the adjacent Rockefeller Center, the under construction. The decoration of the ceilings covered with aluminum leaf, with the exception of the Goelet swan, a specific and realistic referent to the client, offers a broad range of stylized and geometricized Art Deco elements.

STATUS Designated Exterior and Interior Landmark

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