Building 51 | Building 51 | rockefeller center rca building “70th floor skyview” bronze and glass freestanding tourist informational lobby plaque – raymond hood, architect
8990
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rockefeller center rca building “70th floor skyview” bronze and glass freestanding tourist informational lobby plaque – raymond hood, architect

51-18903-13

Category

Non-Chicago Artifacts

About This Item

very rare late 1930’s or early 1940’s documented double-sided heavy cast bronze and glass freestanding interior general electric building lobby tourist informational sign plaque mounted on a three-legged gold enameled stand. the remarkably heavy bronze and plate glass sign provides visitor information concerning guided tours, which includes the popular 70th floor skyview – often referred to as the “top of the rock.” the exact sign or plaque fabricator is not known. the encased sign consists of grooved boards with black felt. the molded plastic letters are all original and in great shape. minor discoloration evident. the ge building (known as the rca building until 1988) is an existing art deco skyscraper that forms the centerpiece of rockefeller center in midtown manhattan. the 70-story building was designed by noted art deco architect raymond hood. completed in 1933 as part of the rockefeller center, it was named the rca building for its main tenant, the radio corporation of america, formed in 1919 by general electric. it was the first building constructed with the elevators grouped in the central core. during construction, photographer charles clyde ebbets took the famous photograph lunch atop a skyscraper on the 69th floor. national broadcasting company, also owned by general electric, leased space in the building. the office of the rockefeller family occupied room 5600 on the 56th floor. the ge building is one of the most famous and recognized skyscrapers in new york. the frieze located above the main entrance was produced by lee lawrie and depicts “wisdom”, along with a slogan that reads “wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times”, from isaiah 33:6 (kjv). the vertical detailing of the building’s austere art deco facade is integrated with a slim, functionally expressive form. the present exterior is recognized for the large ge letters at the building’s top. unlike most other tall art deco buildings constructed in the 1930s, the ge building has no spire on its roof. below the building is a shopping concourse, connected to the lobby via an escalator. the open lobby’s rich materials and reduced black and beige ornamental scheme is enhanced by dramatic lighting. granite covers the building base and the shaft has a refined facade of indiana limestone with aluminum spandrel panels. the 65th floor of the ge building was an event room and restaurant named the rainbow room. it was revamped and reopened to the public with new operators until it closed in 2009 due to the economic downturn. the interior of the rainbow room holds landmark status, awarded by the new york city landmark preservation commission in 2012.