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October 9th, 2013 through April 19th, 2014
SKY HIGH examines the recent proliferation of super-slim, ultra-luxury residential towers on the rise in Manhattan. These pencil-thin buildings-all 50 to 90+ stories-constitute a new type of skyscraper in a city where tall, slender structures have a long history.
Sophisticated engineering and advances in material strengths have made these spindles possible, but it is the excited market for premium Manhattan real estate that is driving both heights and prices skyward, Reported sales seem almost inconceivable: some penthouses in the buildings featured here are in contract for $47 million to $95 million.
The rarified geographies of where these projects take shape and the economics of high land costs, high-style design and construction, and stratospheric sales prices are deconstructed.… Read the rest
Lower Manhattan in the Sixties was a mature business district trapped in the fitments of an earlier age. A corset of finger piers bounded the island’s edge, constraining growth. The downtown waterfront had been rendered obsolete, first by larger ships with deeper drafts, and from the late 1950s, by containerization which drove shipping to relocate to the vast, vacant expanses of the New Jersey lowlands. Of 51 piers, only 18 were active in 1966. The remnants of the working waterfront still exaggerated congestion, as cargo was unloaded onto the street. Elevated highways intended to improve traffic flow further segregated the public from the rivers.
The reclamation and reinvention of the waterfront became a chief focus of plans for Lower Manhattan. Strategies included demolishing the decaying piers and enlarging the island, either by landfill, as at Battery Park City, or by platforming over the water, as intended, but not executed, on the East River.… Read the rest
The models of Burj Khalifa, Taipei 101, and Shanghai World Financial Center, all created at the same 1:500 scale, represent the three tallest buildings in the world in 2012. At 828 m/ 2717 ft., Burj Khalifa is the tallest manmade structure in every refereed category, which includes highest roof level or occupied floor; highest integral architectural feature; and highest additional structure/ antenna.
Burj Khalifa exceeds by more than one thousand feet the next tallest occupied building, Taipei 101. In other building categories-in particular TV and broadcasting towers, which often double as tourist sites-two new structures, Canton TV tower and Tokyo Sky Tree, recently topped out at heights of around 2,000 ft.
The red model of Taipei 101 is a wind-tunnel model, created to test the structural design and performance of the tower before it is constructed.… Read the rest
FEBRUARY 27, 2013 through SEPTEMBER 15, 2013
Eighty thousand incandescent bulbs illuminated the New York night on April 24, 1913, when the Woolworth Building opened with a ceremony attended by 800 dignitaries. Witnessed by multitudes and wired to press around the world, the brilliant spectacle was a career-crowning achievement for the tower’s owner, the five-and-dime store king Frank W. Woolworth, who paid for the skyscraper with his personal fortune and took a hands-on role in every decision of its design. The great Gothic tower-the Cathedral of Commerce-became the preeminent silhouette on the New York skyline and took the title of world’s tallest office building.
The Skyscraper Museum’s permanent gallery features a 36-foot long mural that presents selected episodes in the history of height from the pyramids to the present, highlighting themes and buildings that relate to the evolution of the skyscraper and point the way to 21st-century supertalls. It examines the ambition to build high, the technological advances and engineering innovations that enabled that desire, the economics that drove commercial development, the influence of outstanding architectural designs, and the codes and regulations that shaped buildings and skylines.
On the top row is a lineup of the successive structures that held the title of “world’s tallest building.” On the lower range these are scaled in silhouettes that chart that ascent through the traditions of building in masonry, metal, and concrete, leading up to the first skyscrapers in New York and Chicago in the 1870s and 1880s.… Read the rest
July 25, 2012 through January 20, 2013.
The largest concentration of skyscraper factories in the world, the 18 blocks that were the heart of New York’s Garment District, once supported more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs and produced nearly 3/4 of all women’s and children’s apparel in the United States. The rapid development of the district–the area of west midtown from 35th to 41st Streets and from Seventh to Ninth Avenues–occurred almost entirely within the boom decade of the 1920s, when more than 125 stepped-back “loft” buildings took the pyramidal forms dictated by the city’s new zoning law.
Most of the high-rises were erected and owned by immigrant entrepreneurs who had begun their climb from clothing manufacturers, to builders, to real estate moguls. Some made and lost fortunes as boom turned to bust in the Depression, and their names–Lefcourt, Adler, Bricken, among others–have faded.… Read the rest
Through several past exhibitions, The Skyscraper Museum has examined the history of the World Trade Center complex in its conception, design, and construction from the 1960s through the mid-1970s– and their destruction on the morning of 9/11. A special section devoted to the Word Trade Center and rebuilding at Ground Zero occupies a portion of the Museum’s galleries.
Upon their completion in 1971 and 1973, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were the tallest and largest skyscrapers in the world. Innovative engineering carried the structures to 110 stories- 1368 and 1362 feet (417 and 415 meters) -creating floors an acre in size, with more than 4 million square feet per building. Except for the contemporary Sears Tower in Chicago, nearly 100 feet taller, but slightly smaller in total area, no skyscraper has ever matched their scale.… Read the rest
The Skyscraper Museum
in the GARMENT DISTRICT
A FREE EXHIBITION at 1411 Broadway, corner of 40th St.
August 5, 2013 – October 31, 2013
Once home to the largest concentration of skyscraper factories in the world and more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs, New York’s historic Garment District has changed dramatically in the past 50 years, but remains one of the city’s most authentic neighborhoods. Constructed almost entirely in the boom decade from 1921-1931, the “Art Deco” district contains more than 125 stepped-back “loft” buildings that took the pyramidal forms dictated by the city’s then-new zoning law.
From August 5 through October 31, The Skyscraper Museum is presenting a FREE exhibition on the architecture and urban history of the Garment District in a pop-up space at 1411 Broadway. The installation reprises the exhibition The Skyscraper Museum originated last year in its lower Manhattan gallery. … Read the rest
A tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, America’s model for sustainable urban manufacturing, will be held on the afternoon Thursday, June 2. See the City-landmarked dry dock and industrial spaces. Please meet at York Street – F Train stop at 5:15 pm to meet the shuttle bus. The suggested contribution is $35 to be paid online at: www.verticalurbanfactory.org –– Contribute, or bring a check made to New York Foundation for the Arts to the event. Ending at Re-Bar in Dumbo for a drink after. Rain or shine.
RSVP by May 31 to jamie.chan[at]gmail[dot]com.
In conjunction with its 2010 exhibition, The Rise of Wall Street, The Skyscraper Museum presented a series of lectures extending public access to the exhibition’s themes. These lectures gathered leading historians, architects, public servants, developers, and community organizers to discuss both the past and the future vision of America’s most iconic street.
THE RISE OF WALL STREET charts the architectural evolution of one of the world’s most famous locales. “Wall Street” is a broad metaphor for the American center for global finance and a real place with an inordinately rich history layered into every lot of its nearly half-mile length, stretching from Trinity Church on Broadway to the East River.
From colonial times, when the first bastions were erected to mark the edge of town, Wall Street has been continuously transformed, both in function –from commercial and residential to financial –as well as in scale.… Read the rest
The great Art Deco tower of 1 Wall Street culminates architect Ralph Walker’s 1920s skyscraper designs. More expensive and elaborate than his firm’s many previous telephone and telegraph buildings, 1 Wall Street epitomized Walker’s concept of “humanism,” a modern approach to the integration of hand-craft and machine work, expressed inside and out in the building’s rippling curtain walls and dramatically draped interior spaces.
Kate Holliday is an architectural historian and Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington. Her research focuses on American architecture and theory, particularly interactions with Europe. Her book Leopold Eidlitz: Architecture and Idealism in the Gilded Age (W. W. Norton, 2008) won the 2008 Book of the Year Award from the southeast chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.… Read the rest
On the rise from the desert sands of Dubai, one of the seven United Arab Emirates along the southern shore of the Persian Gulf, is the world’s tallest building: Burj Dubai. Released in January, the spire that stretches above its 160 stories of apartments and office suites will climb to 2,683 feet -more than twice the height of the Empire State Building.
The ambition to erect the world’s tallest tower is as old as the ages, and like the pyramids or gothic cathedrals, Burj Dubai is an architectural and engineering marvel typical of its times. The burj -the word simply means tower in Arabic- represents the collective effort of ninety architects and engineers in the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP and a team of consulting companies. An army of 3,000-6,800 construction workers labor daily on the siteâ€”or work night hours when seasonal temperatures of 100-120 degrees become too extreme.… Read the rest
Wall Street in the Mid-19th Century
As seen in the rare 19th-century print genre, urban panoramas showed the transformation of Wall Street precisely and minutely recorded. Today they offer us the opportunity for time travel into the textures of the once-new city. Architectural historian Jeff Cohen of Bryn Mawr College led a virtual walk down these early corridors of commerce.