9. The Frank Lloyd Wright Towers in the East Village That Were Never Built

Model of St. Mark’s-in-the-Bouwerie. Unbuilt project. New York, New York. 1927-31. Painted wood. 53 x 16 x 16″ (134.6 x 40.6 x 40.6 cm). The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York). From the exhibition Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive at The Museum of Modern Art.

The first all-glass towers in New York City were the United Nations Building and the Lever House, both completed in 1952. However, these were not the first plans for all-glass towers in the city. In 1927, prolific architect Frank Lloyd Wright conceptualized three to four all-glass towers to be built at 11th Street and 2nd Avenue. Reverend William Norman Guthrie of St. Mark’s Church on-the-Bowery commissioned Wright to build the apartment towers to provide funds for the church’s maintenance. But Wright’s investors were apprehensive about his revolutionary design and refused to back the project.