Look Up: That Time a Hurricane Almost Destroyed the Citigroup Center

Beyond its 45-degree angled top (originally intended for a solar panel array, but abandoned because the building is not oriented correctly), the building has several histories that make it one of the most curious structures built in the late 1970s. The first has to do with its unique cantilevered base. Unlike so many hulking structures in the neighborhood, the Citigroup building appears to float above a sunken plaza. Under the northwest corner of the building sits a modern church for St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran.

The church had been on the site since the mid-1900s, and when the land deal was made for the new banking center, it was contingent on the new church be constructed such that none of the building’s columns would pass through it.

The engineer William LeMessurier decided that by setting the tower in four massive columns, each over 110 feet tall, he could soar above each corner. Rather than support each corner directly like a simple table, the cross-shaped cantilever allowed LeMessurier to span the new church with a system of stacked chevron shaped braces concealed within the building.

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