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Rise of the New York Skyscraper: 1865-1913 Paperback – 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300077394
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300077391
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 7.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #998,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A confluence of technology (the elevator), social change (the increase in the number of office workers), and geology (a downtown limited in area by surrounding water) transformed New York City from an expanse of low buildings to a forest of skyscrapers. Landau, an art history professor at New York University, and Condit, a professor emeritus of art history at Northwestern, explore the development of the skyscraper from the 1868 Equitable Building, the first to use elevators for people rather than freight, to the Woolworth Building, which was called the "Cathedral of Commerce" and for which President Woodrow Wilson traveled to New York to activate the building's lights during its grand opening. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

"Before us is spread the most exciting, wonderful and instructive view to be had on our continent.... Certainly not elsewhere in all New York can such an unobstructed bird's-eye view be had." The New York Sun was not referring to the World Trade Center but, in 1869, to the newly built eight-story Equitable Building, the tallest commercial building of its time. It is also one of the first skyscrapers covered in this scholarly work. The raw energy and burgeoning commerce of New York in the late 19th century, the tremendous egos and avaricious appetites of the CEOs and speculators that gave rise to these monuments, along with the political and public controversy surrounding them, give this book both meat and spice. Chronicling building construction from the pre-skyscraper days of the 1860s, through the extraordinary growth period of the 1890s, it culminates with the Woolworth building and, coming full circle, with the "new" Equitable building, completed in 1915. The most fascinating details concern the unprecedented feats of engineering. The invention of the elevator, the complex foundations needed for such heavy structures, the evolution of fireproofing, the development of iron and steel structures (which lightened masonry loads and radically diminished the wall dimensions needed to support such great heights), combined with the architect's and entrepreneur's vision to make skyscrapers possible. Extensively illustrated with 206 photographs, this is a delight to read. Despite it's size it would have also been useful for walking tours, had it included a quick reference to remaining sites.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By saskatoonguy on October 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
As the title indicates, this book covers New York 'skyscrapers' (loosely-defined) from 1865 to 1913. The book begins with 5-story masonry buildings of the late 1800s and culminates with such landmarks as the Woolworth and Singer Buildings. The authors highlight the technical angle, and explain the developments that occurred in steel framing, foundations, and elevators, although the exterior aesthetics of these buildings also receive attention. Some space is allocated to hotels and apartment buildings; however, most of the book is devoted to office buildings. Best of all are the magnificent period photographs of early high-rises, about a hundred in all. Also, there are twenty floor plans.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Fernando Levy Hara on January 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am a very apassionated researcher about the development of the great American and Latin American cities. I have found this book very useful for my researchs, with a very great amount of information and a very serious investigation on the issue . The main critic I have found is that the same thing could have been done in a more narrative and amusing way, to keep the reader interested in the reading.The story of New York has been dinamic and full of force, and nothing of that has been reflected on this book. Outside of that, I have really learned a lot about the issue, and it has really been very useful for my own investigations about the issue. I am an architect with a Master on Urban Economics in Buenos Aires, and all this literature is really important for my researchs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Silver on September 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
As a practicing Structural Engineer in California, I was involved in a project that required rapid determination of structural systems of buildings in and around New York City based on viewing photographs. This book, along with "Historical Building Construction" by Friedman, provided a fairly complete description of structural systems used over the years in the New York area. I would imagine that the audience for both books would tend to be primarily architects, engineers, or other construction professionals but both books have useful bits of information that might be interesting to even the layperson that just enjoys buildings.

Doug Silver, S.E.
Los Angeles, CA
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By C.J. Hustwick VINE VOICE on August 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book really has to be considered a failure, for although it is full of great old photographs, just reading a single paragraph is like listening to Ben Stein in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". Typical of a dry academic treatise. Still, there are so few books out there on the subject... it is worthwhile.
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