The Ford Foundation was a new, exciting site for the 2011 OHNY Weekend, which took place on October 15 & 16. Since the OHNY staff did not have the opportunity to explore and visit participating sites during the Annual Weekend, itself, the Ford Foundation was gracious enough to let them tour the building in late October.

Ford Foundation atrium

The building was design by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and completed in 1967. The trademark feature is the exposed Cor-ten steel frame that creates a square interior space with surrounding offices.

To invoke the spirit of the mission of the Ford Foundation, the architects wanted to create a warm, welcoming public space in the heart of the building. They designed a central atrium that spans the height of the 12-story building.

In the 1960s, this unique feature set the precedent for creating open public spaces in privately owned office buildings. After first being planted with blooming local foliage, the plants were unable to handle the unseasonal climate controlled environment of an office building. To remedy this problem, the atrium now features tropical plants.

The offices surrounding the atrium are afforded a gorgeous view with the added advantage of natural sunlight. Because of its unique character, this interior atrium space (along with the building’s exterior) was designated as a national landmark in 1997.

conference room

A surprising aspect of the building is that a majority of the original office furniture and decoration are still used today, including the brass details on the chair legs, the thick carpeting and the ornate wall coverings.


Stepping into the Foundation’s theater, with it’s impressive brown leather chairs and gold accents, makes you feel like you are stepping into an episode of Mad Men.

Each chair still has the original ashtray that can be pulled out from underneath the right arm.

12th floor offices

The office of the director and conference rooms are located on the 11th and 12th floors.


Also on the 12th floor, is the staff cafeteria – brass detailing existing throughout. This may look like your average humdrum cafeteria…

…but no other cafeteria has a view like this! In the distance, you can see the U.N. along with Tudor City just next door.

Tour group during OHNY Weekend. Photo credit: Sean Hemmerle


OHNY is delighted that the Ford Foundation participated in this year’s OHNY Weekend. We are very grateful to them and we hope that they will participate again next year!

The atrium of the Ford Foundation is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:30am – 4:30pm.

Ford Foundation
320 East 43rd Street



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