215 Park Avenue South was designed by Maynicke & Franke, who at the time of its construction in 1914 were considered the pioneers of modern loft buildings in New York City. Located at the corner of 18th Street and Park Avenue South, it is perfectly situated between Union Square Park and Gramercy Park. This character-filled building is surrounded by some of Manhattan’s top restaurants, including Eleven Madison Park and Gramercy Tavern, and trendy boutique shops. Original bay windows on the upper floors offer dramatic views, while 215 Park Avenue South’s recent renovation includes an updated lobby, new elevators, new corridors, restrooms, and an ENERGY STAR label. A classic in every sense of the term, 215 Park Avenue South is Manhattan loft office space at its finest.
Chief architect at Maynicke & Franke, the German-born American Robert Maynicke was one of the first designers in New York to address the new technologies of the elevator and its implications for mixed-use development in America – and indeed the world. A gifted draftsman, he was able to provide his clients with light-flooded interiors, open plans and flexible spaces made possible by new advances in steel and concrete support systems. His style was a deft mix of traditional and abstracted elements and the best of his buildings have clarity of form that puts them at the top of the architecture of their period.
215 Park Avenue South rises 20 stories and crowned by an impressive copper cornice. The division of the tower into the base, shaft and capital shares the approach pioneered in Chicago by architects such as Louis Sullivan while restrained Beaux Arts detailing reflects New York’s then-preference for the beauty of classically-derived ornament. The fine copper bays at the upper four floors are especially notable for introducing a sense of modeling and texture as well as providing natural light and an impressive range of views across the Ladies’ Mile and beyond.
A cutting-edge building then and now, 215 Park Avenue South rises from the site of the former Clarendon Hotel, where yet another breakthrough moment in American technology occurred: in 1854 Peter Cooper and Cyrus Field met with other investors at the hotel ballroom to raise money for the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable, one of the greatest engineering triumphs of the 19th century.