Rewriting Skyscraper History: Looking Back from the 21st Century | Downtown Alliance

Rewriting Skyscraper History: Looking Back from the 21st Century

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Sep 14, 2020
6:00 PM to 12:00 AM
Skyscraper Museum
39 Battery Place
New York, NY 10280-1501
Free
Over the fall of 2020, The Skyscraper Museum will present a series of webinar sessions designed as a free online course on the early development of the skyscraper as a distinct building type. This week's topic is New York and Chicago, From the 1870s: Thinking About Tall Buildings and New Technologies. Tonight is the first of a pair of lectures by two historians, Thomas Leslie and Lee Gray, who will focus complementary talks on very different subjects that raise issues about how technological inventions and the embrace of new materials impact the form and functions of buildings. Two kinds of elevators – passenger and grain – provide the points of comparison. In one case, the introduction of passenger elevators in office buildings in New York from 1870 – a delayed adoption, after more than a decade of use in stores and hotels – is often identified as the origins of the “skyscraper.” Lee Gray, the preeminent scholar of elevator history and author of From Ascending Rooms to Express Elevators: A History of the Passenger Elevator in the 19th Century (2002), will discuss the “dialogue of invention and need” that characterized the earliest examples of the design of elevator office buildings in both cities. The two lectures, each about 40 minutes, will be held on different nights, and will include dialogue and Q&A with the two speakers, as well as with Museum Director Carol Willis.
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Location Info

39 Battery Place
Ground Floor
New York, NY 10280-1501