Monday, December 05, 2005

A Pioneer of the Modern Skyscraper

If you're planning to visit New York City before New Year's Eve, you may want to pay a visit to The New-York Historical Society, located at 170 Central Park West. Among its current exhibits is one that should be of special interest to alumni of Madison Central High School: "Thou wondrous dizzy pile!" Selections from the Cass Gilbert Collection.

Here's how the the society describes the exhibit, which runs through December 30, 2005:

Cass Gilbert is perhaps best remembered as the architect of the Woolworth Building, for years the tallest building in the world. Yet, his work also included such monumental public buildings as the U.S. Custom House in Lower Manhattan and many state capitols. He created ornate Classical buildings but was also a pioneer of the modern skyscraper. This small exhibition in the library showcases material from the Cass Gilbert Collection from the Society's library collection. It features early twentieth century photographs, drawings, letters, brochures, and ephemera from Gilbert's extensive collection of personal and professional papers.

So, to ask again the questions posed in my November 19 post, what's the connection between the architect of the Woolworth Building and a high school in Madison, Wisconsin that closed its doors in 1969? Very simple: Cass Gilbert was the architect who designed the building on Wisconsin Avenue that housed Madison Central High School -- a building demolished in 1986 to create space for an MATC parking lot.

Cass Gilbert also was the architect for the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C. He's the Central connection I was looking for in my November 28 post (as well as the model for the figure on the other side of Order).

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