The Milano School, 72 Fifth Avenue

The oldest commercial work on Fifth Avenue south of 14th Street, 72 Fifth Avenue is also arguably the most inventive.  The overall scheme follows the example of the great 19th century architect Henry Hobson Richardson, whose highly individualistic revival of the Romanesque led to the recognition of an eponymous style: the Richardsonian Romanesque.  Yet the structure also incorporates numerous classical details, including a handsome quartet of granite-pillared Doric columns and a Greek key motif dividing the third and fourth floors.  Serene female faces serve as cornice brackets.

Built in 1893 as the home of Appleton & Co., one of the country’s most successful publishers, 72 Fifth Avenue was later an early headquarters for the Phillip Morris tobacco company from 1917 through 1938. It is currently home to the New School’s Milano School of International Affairs, Management & Urban Policy.

The present appearance of the first floor façade is the result of a restoration that peeled back layers of modernization to reveal the original details.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.