Rewriting Skyscraper History Lecture Series

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Rewriting Skyscraper History Lecture Series

September 14, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm EDT


Contact: Carol Willis, Director & Curator
The Skyscraper Museum
39 Battery Place, New York, NY 10280
Office tel: 212 945-6324
For image inquiries please contact Kevin Rogan at or 212.945.6324.

The Skyscraper Museum begins its schedule of free Fall Virtual Programming on September 14 and 16 with the first of five weeks of paired talks on the theme “Rewriting Skyscraper History: Looking Back from the 21st Century.” Presented in a webinar format, the series brings together ten professors from different universities, all experts on high-rise history.What was the first skyscraper? That FAQ yields a page of returns in Google that point to Chicago’s Home Insurance Building of 1884, because, it’s always claimed, it pioneered metal skeleton construction. These series of lectures, though instigated by this question, will not answer it. Instead of “first,” we’ll talk about “early,” by which we mean 1870 to c. 1900 – a period in the United States, and especially in New York and Chicago, of rapid industrialization and urbanization.

Week 1 features Professors Thomas Leslie and Lee Gray in two talks called, “ELEVATORS (Passenger) & ELEVATORS (Grain).” Their work explores how technological inventions and new materials impact the form and functions of buildings. Other speakers include Andrew S. Dolkart, Gail Fenske, Donald Friedman, Kathryn Holliday, Joanna Merwood-Salisbury, A.K. Sandoval-Strausz, and Carol Willis.

The schedule of weeks, with their paired or single talks, is:

9/14 & 9/16     NEW YORK & CHICAGO from the 1870s: Tall Buildings and New Technologies
9/29 & 9/30     MASONRY TO STEEL, 1870s-1890s: How Masonry Construction Transitioned to Steel
10/12 & 10/14 BUSINESS BUILDINGS: Corporate vs. Commercial Skyscrapers
10/28               THE TALL (NOT) OFFICE BUILDING: Hotels and Lofts

Registration for the free webinars is now open via the RSVP platform Eventbrite on the Rewriting Skyscraper History series page. All programs are limited to 150 attendees.

The Skyscraper Museum is temporarily closed to the public. The earliest date for reopening the gallery for public hours is mid-October, pending evaluation.
The exhibitions and programs of The Skyscraper Museum are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Copyright © 2016 The Skyscraper Museum, All rights reserved.

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