Ralph Walker of Voorhees, Gmelin and Walker
New York City, 1926
In 1916 New York City enacted the "set-back law" which decreed that buildings over a certain height must include proportionate setbacks so that light and air could reach the street below. The "Barclay-Vesey building reflects this law with its wide base and various set back portions leading to a tower. The ornate ornamentation of theWoolworth Building and the Chicago Tribune has been left behind in the NY Telephone. Although it still had a slightly gothic ornamentation, much of the interior decor was full of low-relief stylized designs that would later come to be known as Art Deco, one of the most popular styles of the 1920's and 1930's.
The Woolworth Building
Cass Gilbert, 1913
New York City
The woolworth building reigned as the tallest structure in New York City for over 17 years. It was called the "cathedral of commerce"because it adapted the gothic style to the form of the skyscraper. The Gothic style was typical of many early skyscrapers, with its ornate ornamentation and vertical thrust.
The Chicago Tribune Building
John Mead Howells & Raymond Hood, 1925
The Chicago Tribune held a famous competition in 1922 for a design for their new headquarters. Many renowned architects from all over the world entered with designs varying from Modern to outlandish. Hood and Howells' design copies the gothic motifs found in the Woolworth building, but uses a new form--a tower shooting directly up from the base. Though the stone cladding of this Chicago skyscraper is very conventional, the rounded corners with windows, rather than columns, are very innovative, using the freedom of steel frame construction to create prime offices. Compare these corners to those of the Woolworth Building.