The Future of the Past on Park Avenue:
Lever House and the Waldorf Astoria

Tue, Jul 18, 2023
Lever House and the Waldorf Astoria. Images courtesy of SOM.

Separated by just 21 years and three blocks on Park Avenue, the Art Deco Waldorf Astoria and the clean corporate Modernism of Lever House occupy different eras and worlds. The massive hotel maximizes a full city block site, rising like a limestone cliff, while Lever House, the first postwar glass-box office building, floats above the street. Both are designated New York City Landmarks that endure as emblems of the city’s architectural history, and both are undergoing significant restorations led by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).

SOM architects Amy Garlock and Frank Mahan will discuss the ongoing restoration and transformation of both buildings, drawing parallels, contrasts, and comparing lessons learned. New owners are repositioning the Park Avenue landmarks as the heart of a revitalized East Midtown, so the future of the past on Park Avenue prepares them for their next 100 years.

Frank Mahan

Frank Mahan is an architect and global leader of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s adaptive reuse practice. His projects have revisited several of SOM’s midcentury landmarks, including the U.S. Air Force Academy, Manufacturers Hanover Trust, and One Chase Manhattan Plaza. Frank’s recent adaptive reuse portfolio includes restoring the Waldorf Astoria, repositioning two buildings for Citi’s Global Headquarters, and converting the Farley Post Office into Moynihan Train Station and offices. Frank is a member of Building Design+Construction’s 40 Under 40 class of 2017, and winner of the AIA’s 2019 Young Architects Award.

Amy Garlock

Amy Garlock is an Associate Principal in the New York office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. She specializes in adaptive reuse and renovation projects and has recently worked on several New York City Landmarks including the Waldorf Astoria and Lever House. A leader in the SOM community, Amy leads the New York office hiring efforts and is a past chair of the SOM Women’s Initiative Committee. Outside SOM, Amy has taught at Harvard Graduate School of Design and served on juries at Harvard GSD, Syracuse University, and NYIT.


After a brief introduction by Museum Director Carol Willis, Frank Mahan discusses SOM's ongoing restoration of the Waldorf Astoria. Amy Garlock then describes SOM's restoration work at Lever House.