The Rise of the Skyscraper City

Fri, Mar 10, 2017

The second Friday afternoon session explores new narratives in nineteenth-century New York. Speakers focus on lesser-studied typologies of commercial architecture, hotels, and lofts, and on the extraordinary importance of Broadway as a high-value corridor, made visible by the Ten & Taller survey.

0:00 – 4:02Introductions by Carol Willis
4:03– 31:53Hotels: Big and Tall
Tom Mellins, architectural historian and independent curator
31:54 – 51:09Broadway: The Tallest Street in the City
Michelle Young, Adjunct Professor, Columbia, GSAPP and founder of Untapped Cities
51:10 – 1:17:20Lofty Lofts and the Broadway Bridge to Midtown
Carol Willis, Director, The Skyscraper Museum
1:17:21 –1:23:37Questions and Colloquy
All symposium speakers


Carol Willis is the founder, director, and curator of The Skyscraper Museum. She is the author of Form Follows Finance: Skyscrapers and Skylines in New York and Chicago (Princeton Architectural Press, 1995), among other publications. An Adjunct Associate Professor of Urban Studies at Columbia University’s GSAPP, she teaches in the program Shape of Two Cities: New York and Paris.

​​Michelle Young​​ is Adjunct Professor at Columbia GSAPP, where she leads the Urban Studies Studio in the New York/Paris: Shape of Two Cities program. The founder of Untapped Cities, a popular urban discovery and exploration website, she is also the author of ​​Broadway​​ (Arcadia Publishing, 2015), as well as other publications on New York City.

Thomas Mellins is an architectural historian, author, and independent curator specializing in New York City. He is the co-author, with Robert A. M. Stern, of New York 1880, New York 1930, and New York 1960. He has organized exhibitions at the National Building Museum, Yale University, and, most recently, “Affordable New York: A Housing Legacy” at the Museum of the City of New York.

Fran Leadon is an Associate Professor at the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York. He is a co-author, with Norval White and Elliot Willensky, of the fifth edition of the classic guidebook, AIA Guide to New York City (Oxford Univ. Press, 2010). He is at work on the forthcoming volume Broadway: A History of New York City in Thirteen Miles (W. W. Norton).