The “Long Lines Building” is the only windowless skyscraper in the world. Why was it built without windows?

Credits: @jpjackster IG

New York City is known for its skyscrapers. In fact, the largest city in the United States boasts 6,472 architctural giants whose height exceeds 100 meters.

We usally admire the modernity of completely transparent “crystal towers”. That’s why one unusual skyscraper stands out among all others: it is the only one without windows.


# The “Long Lines Building” is the only windowless skyscraper

Credits: @missjeziersky IG

A 170-meter high building made of concrete and granite is located in the middle of New York, in Lower Manhattan. It certainly isn’t the tallest in the city: there is a skyscraper that reaches a height of 541 meters.

However, tourists and New Yorkers remain enchanted before this building that has been a dilemma for everyone since it was built in 1974.

The reason is simple: the Long Lines Building is the only skyscraper that has no windows and no lights at night.

# The “Long Lines Building” was designed to be the safest “brutalist” building in America

Credits: @lamartinyc IG

This building is a perfect example of “Brutalist” architecture: its architect, John Carl Warnecke, was a follower this movement, born in the 1950s, which often employed the roughness of exposed concrete. In fact, the exterior walls are made of precast concrete panels and covered with fire-textured Swedish granite faces.

Thanks to this structure, the American urban planner William H. Whyte defined the Long Lines Buildings as “the largest wall in the world“. Moreover, it was designed to be self-sufficient and to withstand any nuclear fallout for up to 2 weeks after the atomic explosion, which makes it the safest building in America.

# Is it a telephone exchange, a nuclear bunker or a secret place used to spy on Americans?

Credits: @bkparch IG

When the Long Lines Building was built, it was supposed to house a telephone exchange with the 3 main switches used for interchange telephony. According to official information, it was also supposed to serve as a nuclear bunker to protect New York residents in case of attacks.

However, there are several theories about this mysterious building. In fact, some believe that this Manhattan skyscraper was actually a tool to spy on Americans. There are also documents revealed by Snowden, a mole of the National Security Agency, that confirm this theory: in the huge building located at 33 Thomas Street, the NSA would wiretap millions of phone calls and emails.

# It is a uniquely styled skyscraper

Credits: @t_gomozova IG

Architecturally, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a telephone exchange or an NSA surveillance center. it’s definitely a unique building.

Although many people still look at it with doubt, its style is praised by the New York Times: in fact, the building successfully blends “more smoothly into its surroundings than any other skyscraper in its vicinity”.