Kaufman Conference Rooms Interior, Manhattan
Address: 809 United Nations Plaza
LPC Action:Calendared: 2001
LPC Backlog Hearing: Prioritized for designation
Removed from the calendar on December 13, 2016
Alvar Aalto was the most important Finnish architect of the 20th century and a central figure in International Modernism. The Edgar J. Kaufman Conference Center is the only example of his work in New York City and one of only four Aalto structures remaining in the United States. Designed by Aalto, along with his wife Elissa Aalto, the space is an artistic entirety; everything in it was designed and produced to create a harmonious effect. Serene and light-filled, the curved forms of ash and birch create an abstract, forest-like sculpture of sinuous bent wood. Combined with blue porcelain tiles and modern lighting, the Conference Center is an architectural gem. Located on the 12th floor of the Institute for International Education, the intact rooms are some of the most significant post-World War II spaces in the city. The rooms were commissioned in 1961 by Edgar J. Kaufmann Jr., a scholar and patron of Modern architecture and design, whose family also commissioned “Fallingwater” from Frank Lloyd Wright.