8. Kips Bay Towers were designed by I.M. Pei
Kips Bay Towers is a two-building condominium that takes up the entirety of East 30th to East 33rd Streets between 1st and 2nd Avenues. The brutalist-style buildings were completed in 1965 and were designed by none other than I.M. Pei, the mastermind behind New York’s Four Seasons Hotel, Silver Towers, and The Centurion, in addition to dozens of other famous structures globally including the Louvre Pyramid. Pei collaborated with S.J. Kessler and James Ingo Freed, the latter of whom collaborated on the Javits Center and the U.S. Air Force Memorial.
The project was conceived as middle-class housing, though it was converted to condominiums in the 1980s, despite some logistical challenges. Pei tried to get a Picasso sculpture on-site, though he settled on 50 trees instead. Kips Bay Gardens, a park and playground that is now part of the Towers, was built in the 1960s. It was closed to the public in the 1980s. Today, the Towers host about 4,000 residents, and both buildings rise to 20 floors.