Upcoming Programs

The book talks and lectures below are held at The Skyscraper Museum from 6:30-8 pm and are free of charge, except when noted. The gallery and exhibition are open for viewing from 6 pm. To assure admittance, guests must either use the RSVP form on this site or send an email to [email protected] with the name of the program you would like to attend.

Please be aware that reservation priority is given to Members and employees of Corporate Members of The Skyscraper Museum. Not a member? Become a Museum member today!

Book Talks continue to be presented as webinars through the fall. Past lectures are posted on our website and YouTube channel for full online access. Curator's tours are held in-person in the gallery.


RSVP Wed, Sep 29, 2021 at 6:00 PM

Najib Abboud, Managing Principal & Applied Science Practice Leader, Thornton Tomasetti

Stephen E. Flynn, Founding Director of the Global Resilience Institute at Northeastern University

The second program of ENGINEERS’ STORIES takes a view that deals in decades rather than days and which looks back to assess what has changed as a consequence of 9/11.

In the months after the removal of the steel and clearing of material from the “bathtub,” the additional engineering analysis of the causes of the collapse of the towers began. That investigation consumed the next decade.

One of the leaders of the forensic analysis was structural engineer Najib Abboud, a Managing Principal at Thornton Tomasetti, who will explain the focus and stages of the study. He will be joined by Stephen E. Flynn, the Founding Director of the Global Resilience Institute and Professor of Political Science, Northeastern University’s School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs. Their paired presentations will discuss the extent to which the forensic analysis changed how tall buildings are designed, then expand into the broader topic of risk and resilience in the built environment – a concept that expands beyond a singular focus on security to all hazards that disrupt the functioning of our environment.

Curator’s Tour of SUPERTALL 2021

RSVP Fri, Oct 8, 2021 at 3:00 PM

The Museum’s director, Carol Willis, will offer a gallery tour of SUPERTALL 2021 that surveys 58 supertalls worldwide and highlights a dozen recently completed towers that represent some of the most stunning new forms and innovative approaches to structural engineering around the world today. Curator’s tours are FREE, but you must book a timed ticket at 3pm on Eventbrite, through the RSVP button.

American Hotel:
The Waldorf-Astoria and the Making of a Century

RSVP Thu, Oct 28, 2021 at 6:00 PM
In American Hotel: The Waldorf-Astoria and the Making of a Century, historian David Freeland recounts the history of not just an American hotel, but, arguably, the American hotel. From the opening as the Waldorf at its first location at Fifth Avenue at 33rd Street in 1893, then more than doubling in size in 1897 into the Waldorf-Astoria, the hostelry rose to prominence on the local, national, and international stage. Opening for business on October 1, 1931, the new uptown Waldorf-Astoria struggled through the Depression, but rose to unparalleled prominence in the postwar years. Functioning like an American palace, the Waldorf served as a favored venue for United Nations diplomats and the hotel of choice for American Presidents until its shuttering in 2017. The Waldorf-Astoria’s story, Freeland writes, “is that of America in the twentieth century, and it would be difficult to imagine any hotel bearing the same degree of influence again.”

The Barbizon:
The Hotel that Set Women Free

RSVP Tue, Nov 2, 2021 at 6:00 PM
Completed in 1928, at the height of the Roaring Twenties, the Barbizon Hotel was designed as a luxurious safe haven for the “Modern Woman” hoping for a career in the arts. Over time, it became the place to stay for any ambitious young woman hoping for fame and fortune. In her new book , professor of gender, and media studies at Vassar College, Paulina Bren “unpacks” the luggage of several generations of women, mostly young and new to the city, who found a home in the hotel that became a legend.

The American Construction Industry:
Its Historical Evolution and Potential Future

RSVP Wed, Nov 17, 2021 at 6:00 PM
Brian Bowen retired as president of Hanscomb Inc. in 2000, after a long career in the construction industries of England, Canada, and the United States. In a second career as a Professor of Practice in the College of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Bowen developed a course that became the basis of his important new book, The American Construction Industry: Its Historical Evolution and Potential Future (Routledge, 2021). As Thomas Leslie notes in the back-cover testimonial, the volume adds an important perspective to standard architectural histories: “Relying on his background in the industry and using illuminating examples of contracts, correspondence, and other key documents across eras, Bowen explains the combined effects of economics, the law, labor, and professional organization, among others, in realizing both grand monuments and everyday dwellings.” The American Construction Industry, he opines, “is essential as a reference and enlightening as a narrative.”

The Architectural Models of Theodore Conrad

RSVP Tue, Dec 7, 2021 at 6:00 PM

In her new book The Architectural Models of Theodore Conrad, historian and curator Teresa Fankhänel offers an alternative history of American modern architecture, highlighting the often-overlooked influence of architectural models and their makers. Fankhänel focuses on the work of Theodore Conrad (1910-1994), the most prominent and prolific American architectural model-maker of the 20th century, whose innovative work was instrumental in the design and realization of many icons of American Modernism, from the Rockefeller Center to Lever House and the Seagram Building. Conrad revolutionized the production of architectural models and became an entrepreneur. Fankhänel’s research is based on the recent discovery of his fully-preserved private archive-models, photos, letters, business files, and drawings.

In praise of her book, Barry Bergdoll writes: “Fankhänel pulls back the curtain in the theater of American modernist architecture to reveal the behind the scenes contributions of the star performer of a novel career path: the professional model maker. Theodore Conrad not only made models, he helped make careers with miniatures that could win over clients, dazzle exhibition goers, and sit for camera portraits that would travel the world in newspaper and magazine illustrations. A glimpse behind the scenes offers a whole new vantage point on the culture of mid-20th century architecture at nearly every scale.”

Teresa Fankhänel is a curator at the Architekturmuseum der TUM in Munich, Germany.