Skyscraper : The Search for an American Style 1891-1941

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9780071369701: Skyscraper : The Search for an American Style 1891-1941

This work chronicles the skyscraper's emergence and architectural importance. It chronologically details the ascension of the skyscraper as an artform from 1891. It is broken down into six major time frames each characterized by the tallest building of the time. Subcategories tie the architecture to other themes of the time including materials, visionary architecture, commerce, style and philosophy. The text also examines each building in depth - how its inhabitants feel about its interior space, how they function as public cultural artefacts, how their designers conceived of their projects, and how they see them now.

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From the Back Cover:

FOLLOW THE CRITICAL HISTORY OF THE MODERN SKYSCRAPER AS AN ART FORM

Designed and produced under the direction of Architectural Record, this stirring study follows the development of the American skyscraper from 1891 to 1941.

Divided into nine periods, each characterized by the tallest building at the time, the author examines the correlation between the structures and critical attitudes towards materials, technology, commerce, style, philosophy, and the education of the architect.

Utilizing original articles from Architectural Record accompanied by current commentary, Skyscraper looks at how these structures function in the eyes of the public, the context against which they were conceived, how their designers originally envisioned each project, and other fascinating bits of history.

With influential vintage articles by Montgomery Schuyler, Russell Sturgis, Frank Lloyd Wright, Lewis Mumford, and others, hundreds of illuminating period photos, and thoroughly informative annotations, Skyscraper provides an intimate inside look at an important moment in modern cultural history.

DELVE INTO THE EXCITING HISTORY OF:
* The Metropolitan Life Building
* The Flatiron Building
* The Chicago Tribune Building
* Rockefeller Center
* The Empire State Building
* And others

FROM THE BACK AND FRONT FLAPS

“Beauty or beast, the skyscraper is a major force with a strong magnetic field. It draws into its physical being all the factors that propel and characterize modern civilization.” — Ada Louise Huxtable, in The Tall Building Artistically Reconsidered

More than a building type, the skyscraper stands as both emblem and artifact. Pointing to the sky, it represents the achievements of a culture, while reflecting the values of its creators and occupants.

This exceptional consideration of the skyscraper explores the meanings, dimensions, and resonances of these notable structures — literally the highest achievements of our civilization. Featuring both historical and current commentary, Skyscraper offers a unique opportunity to see the tall building through the eyes of critics contemporary to their creation, as well as to evaluate its impact, influence, and development during the century-plus of its existence.

No publication has chronicled the skyscraper’s emergence and architectural importance the way Architectural Record has. With AR articles from Montgomery Schuyler, Russell Sturgis, Lewis Mumford, Frank Lloyd Wright, and other important critics and commentators, Skyscraper:
* Chronicles the ascension of the modern skyscraper during its first half-century
* Examines buildings considered by AR’s writers as most significant, from the Wainwright Building to Rockefeller Center
* Defines eras of importance in skyscraper development
* Offers a beautiful graphical resource of historical images, designed and produced under the direction of Architectural Record
* Examines each building, with attention to ideas of the time, designer’s original conceptions and later reflections; occupants’ reactions; public views; and cultural impact

A search for meaning as much as well as a record of events and creations, Skyscraper, like its namesake, reaches for lofty goals. As noted artist/author Roger Shepherd writes in his Introduction: “This book is not a history of the skyscraper. It is a look at how criticism works. It’s a compilation of some of the most pungent and effectual criticism written for one of the most influential architectural magazines ever published.”

Skyscraper is, in short, a rich mine of architectural gold, rewarding to the digger or casual browser, the professional or the architectural aficionado. Read it and enjoy.

About the Author:

Roger Shepherd is a multi-faceted artist and designer whose projects include book design, videos, murals, garden design, low-income housing, and web design. He holds the Henry A. & Louise Loeb Chair of Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design, where he directs the B.F.A. and M.F.A. programs in painting and sculpture. He also writes monthly online features for the Architectural Record’s website.

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