Elegant, Artistic Urbanity — the Woolworth Building

July 15, 2011 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series

When completed in 1913, Cass Gilbert’s Woolworth Building was the world’s tallest skyscraper and the jewel of Manhattan, but today its majestic crown is barely visible behind a maze of glass and steel towers. “I wonder whether, indeed, the new skyline taking shape before us will possess the same magic, elegance, artistry and glamour — the same urbanity — as the old,” says Gail Fenske, professor of architecture at Roger Williams University and author of “The Skyscraper and the City: The Woolworth Building and the Making of Modern New York.” Upstaged by more famous neighbors like the World Trade Center, and new structures like Frank Gehry’s Beekman Tower, the Woolworth building and the era it represents may be at risk of being forgotten, says Prof. Fenske in the City College lecture series, “New York, New York: Place, Culture And Urbanity,” sponsored by the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture.
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