define your terms

Just hanging out on Wall Street drinking coffee and fussing with slides for tomorrow’s New York/Chicago skyscraper debate with ace NYC preservation engineer Don Friedman.  I thought it might be useful to start off with a history of the term–and what those who have tried to define “skyscraper” thought might constitute the first one.  So, not to give too much away, but here’s what I’ve come up with.  There’s a missing fifth column, and some of you may have a pretty good idea who and what goes in there.  But no spoiler alerts–you can find out tomorrow morning at the Skyscraper Museum in Battery Park City when Don and I unpack this and other complexities about the “first skyscraper.”  See you there…

2 thoughts on “define your terms

  1. Tom, hope your debate went well and that you’ll be bringing those interesting looking slides to Cambridge next month. I’m a huge fan of Carol Willis, by the way. You could check out The Western Architect 32 “Who designed the First Steel Skyscraper?” (November 1923) p125, which mentions the Chicago architects, of course, but also mentions Cars Gilbert. The article is also significant because picked up by Giedion in Bauen in Frankreich. Best regards Andrew Rabeneck >


    • Thanks, Andrew–Will absolutely check out the article, which I don’t think I know. The debate went well, especially since they forgot to take a vote….! Will miss Cambridge this year, as I’m teaching in Bologna during the conference, but hope to catch up soon.


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