Wandering around Manhattan, the number of corporate glass-and-steel boxes can lead to a form of building fatigue, known as the International Style Syndrome. But once upon a time, say in the Fifties, such buildings were fresh and new and, yes, beautiful. The very finest example of these is the Seagram building, built as the headquarters of Joseph E. Seagram’s & Sons, purveyors of fine liquor. The architect was none other than Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who, working with Philip Johnson, designed the perfect corporate structure. Serious, expressive of its construction, expensive, well-positioned and imposing. And it retains a cool elegance that speaks volumes about its time.

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