Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Skyscraper Museum

From the permanent exhibition in
Skyscraper museum
 What is a skyscraper?   There is actually no clear or exact definition of ‘skyscraper’ .    In Wikipedia you can read:  "A skyscraper is a tall, continuously habitable building of over 10 floors, mostly designed for office, commercial and residential uses. A skyscraper can also be called a high-rise, but the term skyscraper is often used for buildings higher than 50 m".

The  Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, an international organization that tracks and certifies skyscrapers, takes into account a range of criteria in determining the definition of tall buildings, from "height relative to context" and "proportion" to "tall building technologies" such as wind bracing and elevators.  "Super tall" buildings are defined as being over 984 feet in height.
Originally, the term skyscraper was a nautical term for a tall mast or sail on a sailing ship. In the late nineteenth century, the term was first applied to tall buildings, reflecting public amazement at the structures being constructed in Chicago and New York City.




100 Broadway
Most early skyscrapers emerged in the land-strapped areas of Chicago, London, and New York toward the end of the nineteenth century.       The first skyscraper was for many years thought to be the Home Insurance Building built in Chicago, Illinois in 1885.  After an early competition between New York City and Chicago for the world's tallest building, New York took a firm lead by 1895 with completion of the American Surety Building, a historic skyscraper located at 100 Broadway,   opposite Trinity Church.


Skyscraper museum

More than any other style of architecture, the skyscraper defines New York City's skyline. So it is logical that the skyscraper museum, founded in 1996,  is located in New York.  in 1997 New York Times published an article with the title  "A Natural for New York: A Skyscraper Museum" : "The inaugural show, ''Downtown New York: The Architecture of Business, the Business of Building,'' was  spread among six rooms and features 100 objects, including rental brochures and advertisements from the 1920's and 30's . 


There were also tools used by a typical riveter's gang in the 30's and a plastic-and-wood model of the World Trade Center that survived the 1993 bombing intact, even though it was located just 100 feet from ground zero."  By the way- ground zero in this article was used four years before 9/11.

From the permanent exhibition in
Skyscraper museum


 The original site of the museum was located very close to the World Trade Center.  After the September 11 attacks, the museum was forced to close temporarily as its space was commandeered as an emergency information c enter.  In 2004 the museum moved    to the current and permanent location in Battery Park City.    Museum   occupies the lower floor of an office building  and  from my view  for a city that invented the skyscraper, the permanent  exhibition is  very limited.

From the permanent exhibition in
Skyscraper museum
Here you can see old articles, architectural plans, 3D models, photos and more about all the famous skyscrapers.  It's very wordy - lots of info panels to read but no interactivity.

Museum hours are 12-6 PM, Wednesday-Sunday.  General admission is $5, $2.50 for students and seniors. 


An  interesting  exhibition  " Garden City"  is on view  now in museum.  "Garden City"  showcases the built and  projected  works of Singapore-based   architecture firm that specializes in designing for the world’s tropical urban areas.