DOI link for The Philanthropoids
The Philanthropoids book
The ford foundation offices at 477 Madison Avenue were designed by the firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which did Lever House, and are in the most discreetly expensive modern style. Chastity is carried to the point of antisepsis, with gray and beige the dominant colors. All the offices, and even the corridors, are carpeted—an arrangement that is at once sumptuous and democratic, and thus a true expression of the Foundation’s personality. (It is also painful, for the carpet causes every door handle to administer a slight, waspish shock of static electricity.) Some members of the staff feel that this elegance is not appropriate to a foundation that deals with scholars, scientists, and other persons of modest income, and would prefer a more rundown setting in a less glittering quarter of the city, or even in some outlying college town. But the Ford Foundation is a $2,500,000,000 proposition, and it is hard for so much money not to dress the part.