Skyscrapers: A History of the World's Most Extraordinary Buildings

Overview

Skyscrapers

Rising majestically above the hubbub of crowded cities or standing in stately solitude against a natural backdrop, skyscrapers captivate the eye, excite the imagination, and inspire awe and reverence. Wonders of artistic creativity and engineering ingenuity, of hard work and playful dreaming, they embody the best of our practical achievements and reflect our highest aspirations.

This magnificent tour presents a fascinating look at ...

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Overview

Skyscrapers

Rising majestically above the hubbub of crowded cities or standing in stately solitude against a natural backdrop, skyscrapers captivate the eye, excite the imagination, and inspire awe and reverence. Wonders of artistic creativity and engineering ingenuity, of hard work and playful dreaming, they embody the best of our practical achievements and reflect our highest aspirations.

This magnificent tour presents a fascinating look at fifty of the greatest skyscrapers in the world. Breathtaking photographs capture details often missed by the naked eye; architectural drawings and pictures of works-in-progress take you behind the scenes and enrich your understanding of the efforts involved in erecting many of the buildings; facts-at-a-glance charts give you the vital statistics, including the location of the structure, its height, the primary architect, the date of completion, materials used, and information about its place in architectural history.

From a church built to the glory of God to monuments that symbolize national or civic pride, to buildings vaunting the material accomplishments of commercial enterprises, Skyscrapers reveals the full story behind the design and construction of each structure. You'll learn about the many social, political, and economic obstacles that delayed the construction of the serenely beautiful Washington Monument; travel to Paris for an intimate look at the Eiffel Tower, the graceful intricate web of prefabricated iron girders that was both touted as proof of French engineering superiority and protested as a threat to individual creative expression; and to Ulm, to behold the filigreed tower and incomparable interior of the great Gothic cathedral, an edifice made possible by the invention of the flying buttress, which freed walls from their load-bearing roles and allowed them to be pierced so that light could flood in.

You'll encounter such architectural pioneers as William Le Baron Jenney, who took advantage of new technologies like fireproofing, elevators, and electrical lights to create, in 1885, the Home Insurance Building in Chicago, generally acknowledged to be the first skyscraper; Daniel Burnham, who, inspired by the irregular building site, designed New York's Flatiron Building, a dramatic triangular structure that exuberantly mixes Gothic and Renaissance motifs; and Mies van der Rohe, whose elegant, monumental Segram Building epitomizes the ideals of the modernist movement.

From the ancient pyramids of Egypt to the extraordinary Chrysler Building in New York, an unparalleled melding of art and engineering, every civilization has expressed in buildings both sacred and secular the eternal quest to reach ever upward towards the sky. Skyscrapers invites you to enjoy the stunning works born of that quest.

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Editorial Reviews

Chicago Sun-Times
“Talk about an ideal match of subject and form….the stunning array of black-and-white photographs that accompany Dupre’s incisive, fact-filled text capture both the mass and soaring aspirations of the structures…”

— Hedy Weiss

The New York Times
“Judith Dupré skillfully couples a narrative with stunning photographs and factoids that distinguish this skyscraper-shaped book from so many others.”

— Sam Roberts

Dallas Morning News
“Skyscrapers is ingeniously shaped…this tall and skinny volume…is the perfect canvas for full-page black-and-white photographs and illustrations of well-known classics….But this isn’t just a celebratory picture book. Ms Dupré is a scholar interested in the aesthetic and environmental issues raised by supertall architecture. Skyscrapers is chock-full of historical context as it projects the implications and future prospects of metal and glass that reach for the sky.”

— Manuel Mendoza

The Edmonton Journal
"Unique in scale and design, and packed with eye-popping photographs…”

— Richard Helm

Chicago Sun-Times - Hedy Weiss
“Talk about an ideal match of subject and form….the stunning array of black-and-white photographs that accompany Dupre’s incisive, fact-filled text capture both the mass and soaring aspirations of the structures…”
The New York Times - Sam Roberts
“Judith Dupré skillfully couples a narrative with stunning photographs and factoids that distinguish this skyscraper-shaped book from so many others.”
The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC) - Bill Thompson
“…[A] handsome compendium, which is as witty in its lanky format as it is fascinating within.”
Dallas Morning News - Manuel Mendoza
“Skyscrapers is ingeniously shaped…this tall and skinny volume…is the perfect canvas for full-page black-and-white photographs and illustrations of well-known classics….But this isn’t just a celebratory picture book. Ms Dupré is a scholar interested in the aesthetic and environmental issues raised by supertall architecture. Skyscrapers is chock-full of historical context as it projects the implications and future prospects of metal and glass that reach for the sky.”
The Edmonton Journal - Richard Helm
"Unique in scale and design, and packed with eye-popping photographs…”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579127879
  • Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 18.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Judith Dupré is the author of numerous books, including Bridges (published by Black Dog & Leventhal), Churches, and Monuments. She lectures and teaches widely on the subjects of art and architecture. She lives in New York.

Adrian Smith is considered the foremost architect of supertall skyscrapers in the world. Formerly with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, his buildings include Burj Dubai, the Jin Mao Tower in Shanghai, and the Trump International Tower in Chicago, where he lives and works.

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