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Woolworth @ 100: Medieval or Modern?

In conjunction with the current exhibition The Woolworth Building @ 100, the Skyscraper Museum will present an afternoon of illustrated talks, inquiry, and dialogue inspired by the centennial of New York City’s great Gothic tower, “The Cathedral of Commerce.”

Tallest building in the world on its opening in 1913, the Woolworth Building was at once a marvel of early 20th-century technology and a masterpiece of the architectural arts. In an era when New York architecture communicated as much through the abundance of ornament, as through ambitious scale, the Woolworth Building represented an artistic creation of the highest order.

The free public program will bring together eight accomplished scholars and critics who have published widely on skyscraper history, and specifically on the Woolworth Building, with the goal of raising new sorts of questions to inform the coming decades of architectural and urban history.

The title of the afternoon’s inquiry “Medieval or Modern?” is intended as a provocation, or critique, of an old-fashioned obsession of art history with the “battle of styles”––but it also prompts, in our charge to the speakers, a consideration of the divergent lenses through which the “world’s tallest building” in 1913 can be viewed.

The program, on Friday, June 14 from 1:00-5:00 pm, is organized in two sessions, each with three speakers and one official respondent. The illustrated talks will be kept brief–15 to 20 minutes–so that a dialogue among the speakers, as well as with the audience, is built into the program. The session will be held in the lobby arcade of the Woolworth Building.

This program is free. RSVP is required to
Seating is limited: Skyscraper Museum members receive priority.