650 Fifth Avenue

Designed by John Carl Warnecke for the Pahlavi Foundation, a non-profit run by the Shah of Iran, 650 Fifth Avenue was at the center of a dramatic international legal battle when the Islamic Republic of Iran sought ownership of the building along with the deposed Shah’s other property.

A versatile architect who pioneered contextualism, Carl Warnecke worked closely with preservationists, including Jacqueline Kennedy, in the plans for Lafayette Square and Arlington National Cemetery. The New York grid seems to have defeated him: his work at 650 Fifth Avenue is physically imposing but otherwise unmemorable.

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