The Lever House

Lever House designed by SOM

Lever House designed by SOM

As part of my paper, I will be focusing on three case studies, here is one example. The Lever House was built by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, located in downtown Manhattan. The office building was originally a soap company by the Lever Brothers and contained an employee lounge, medical suite, general offices, mechanical spaces, additional offices and a penthouse suite. The Lever House was made of very simple curtain wall construction such as a stick system method in which construction surrounds components. The curtain wall was the most important feature of the Lever House and not because it portrayed a representation that was clear on the exterior but how it obtained an economical and aesthetic purpose with its chosen materials. Blue-green heat resistant glass and stainless steel were used to minimize cooling costs. All windows were completely sealed, none operable, in order to prevent dirt from entering in to the building. The facade was not used a representative tool, at least one that was identifiable and unique in which users would be able to perceive it on their own from the exterior unlike any other normal glass curtain wall facade. However, there is a hidden representation could have been connected to the facade which dealt with the Lever Brothers’ overall idea for their product and message they wanted to communicate to their consumers and community, the idea of cleanliness. This idea could have been connected to why the Lever Brothers chose to have all windows completely sealed rather than operable, to keep the dirt out! However, this is connection is not clear in the Lever Brothers’ agenda when designing the facade, at least it has not been stated in readings and research done on the building. If though it were, this building would still be a demonstration of a small and quiet representation of a facade.


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