Starrett-Lehigh Building

601-625 West 26th Street
Cory & Cory; Yasuo Matsui, associate; Purdy & Henderson, consulting engineers

The Starrett-Lehigh building was constructed in 1930-31 on the site of the Lehigh Valley Railroad rail yards. The massive concrete-framed structure occupied an entire city block and served as a freight terminal with rental warehouse and manufacturing space. Its influential design combines industrial and modernist sensibilities, incorporating functional elements like railroad tracks to receive trains directly into the building, freight elevators that conveyed entire trucks to upperfloor loading docks, and the curtain-wall technology that made possible the signature feature of unbroken ribbons of steel windows wrapping around the building. A pioneering work of architecture, it was one of only six American buildings featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s influential “International Style” exhibition in 1932. The curved forms and factory windows of many new buildings along the High Line reference this Chelsea icon. The Starrett-Lehigh Building is an Individual Landmark and located in the West Chelsea Historic District.