In the 1950s developers proposed one. The tower design they commissioned had the space-age name the Hyperboloid: a wasp-waist, 80-story structure (at left) created by one of the century’s most innovative architects.
“Working for developers Webb & Knapp, I.M. Pei proposed an 80-story tower with a circular footprint and, thanks to a taper halfway up the shaft, an hourglass profile,” explains skyscraperpage.com.
“Its facade was crisscrossed by structural supports; overall the building resembled a bundle of sticks. At the base of Pei’s building, and again in its upper levels, the floors were left open and the structure was left exposed.
“Grand Central Terminal would have been demolished to make room for the tower, just as Penn Station was demolished a few years later to make room for Two Penn Plaza and Madison Square Garden.”
Plans for the Hyperboloid, of course, never came to pass. But it wouldn’t be the only tower proposed for the Grand Central Terminal site.
Air rights were sold to another developer in the 1960s, and architect Marcel Breuer came up with this (very Pan Am Building-like) skyscraper, which would sit on top of the terminal (at right).
By then, Grand Central had been deemed a historic landmark by the Landmarks Commission. A fight that went all the way to the Supreme Court in 1978 resulted in Breuer’s tower getting permanently derailed.
Tags: Beaux-Arts architecture New York City, Grand Central Terminal skyscraper, Hyperboloid building NYC, I.M. Pei in New York City, knocking down Grand Central Station, Marcel Breuer Grand Central, Plans for Grand Central Station, Torn down buildings of NYC