Skyscraper Façades of the Gilded Age

Fifty-One Extravagant Designs, 1875–1910

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SKU: 9780786470723 Category:

About the Book

This book is about the design of the façade of 51 of America’s most extravagant early skyscrapers. Included are the biographies of noted architects and the aristocrats who financed America’s first skyscrapers. This book discusses the influences of European aesthetic values in America—and scandals, rogues and class distinctions. Interpretations by contemporary critics are sprinkled throughout the text. Woven throughout the book are inquiries about the validity of Greek and Roman mythologies and their relationships to “modern” America and its spirit of invention and progress. Foreign traditions were challenged by some architects but then accepted by most. Why was it necessary for the long-dead hero of a faraway civilization to be included on the façade of a newly invented American skyscraper? This book tells why.

About the Author(s)

Joseph J. Korom, Jr., retired architect, is a Chicago historian, photographer and artist.

Bibliographic Details

Joseph J. Korom, Jr.
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 244
Bibliographic Info: 198 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7072-3
eISBN: 978-0-7864-9326-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Preface 1

Introduction 3

One. Ways and Means 7

Basic Questions 14

Traditional Options 19

Options for Tired Eyes 21

Two. Hopes and Dreams 28

Monadnock 30

Rooftop Dialogs 33

Building Walls and Mythology 41

Three. Togas and Parasols 48

Classicism and the Renaissance 50

Of Myths and Merriment 55

The Beaux-Arts 59

World’s Columbian Exposition 62

Four. A Time for Funny Hats 101

Variations on a Theme: The Neo-Baroque Skyscraper 102

Five. Towers, Dragons and the Stuff of Dreams 153

The Medieval Inspiration 154

The Pious Ones 155

Scary Things 157

The Great Migration 161

The Tower in Madison Square 163

Six. Eclectic Explorations 188

American Heroes 190

Conclusion 216

Chapter Notes 217

Bibliography 225

Index 229