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THE SKYSCRAPER.

NEW YORK'S AMAZING WALLS. BEAUTY OF THE BIG BUILDING. The Pan-American. Association are considering plans for the erection of the tallest building in the world on Broadway, New I'ork. It will be called "Las Americas," be 801 feet high, and will cost £3,700,006.

All who have visited New York will dices against the American skyscraper dices against th eAirierican skyscraper were changed into wonder at the majesty of those monstrous piles that have superimposed four or five ordinary cities on the island of Manhattan. They must have dreamt that London, too, will some day realise the economy of concentration, and that the returned exile, standing on Waterloo Bridge, will be astonished by vast and tuJrreted walls towering over the square roofs of present-day London, humbling our now highest buildings to the lowliness of shacks. -

!| Is the idea so vandalistic ? Wherein ■J are those mammoth towers of New | York, on some of which has been lavlished the engineering genius of a Forth {Bridge, the craftsmanship of a cathe'dralj'. more derogatory to a capitol's \ comeliness and more hurtful to the senjsitive eye than our jumble of the Strand, the dreary monotony of Victoria Street, the pettiness of Oxford Street or Cheapside, or the botch—-de-j spite all the dreams of an Imperial (avenue—that is always being made of j the opportunities of Kingsway ? Are the deep gorges of Broadway or Fifth Avenue—-Rembrandtesque in their charoscuro of light and shade, mystic in their starry gleam at night—less seemly than the stocky facades; that make" London, much as lie may love it, seem suddenly small and provincial to the Londoner returned from America ? THE WOOLWORTH TOWER. One assumes that the chief objection to the skyscraper is not so much against against its incongruity with lowlier neighbours, Perhaps any sky-scraper —unless it be such an inspiration as New York's Woolworth Tower-—is un- ( lovely if it stands alone in an underi growth of five-story buildings. But ' when an old building comes down on the priceless space of Lower Manhattan a mammoth building goes'up as a matter of course. The steel and stone giants are no longer nakedly alone. They cluster in kingly groups and line whole streets like halls of the Nibelungs. No one who has seen them—like a ser- { rated coast itself—from his approachj ing Atlantic liner, wandered under i their amazing walls, or travelled by a lift to their aerial summits, will call this hj'perbolic. ■•'... No single unit of man's audacity and skill, the leviathan ship, the Nile dam, the Somplon tunnel, is more triumphantly self-complete and ' self rjustiii kl than that beautiful Woolworth Tower, with its flying buttresses, its giit-to'.( fried roof, its. spire of crocketer gold, us white uplift by day and its sky beacon by night. It captures your imagination when you see it from afar, it dra'vs you again^ and again while you remain, it is your abiding memory n.,d symbol of New York. ' The Woolworth Tower has been likened to a commercial cathedral. I see no irreverence in', the comparison, nor any reason—apart ,from the sheer exigency of having to soar for space^ —why' New' York should not exalt, embellish, and worship these arks of the energy, spirit, and rivalry that have made her what she is. Just as Cologne raised of old her then incredible spire to the new impetus of spiritualism, New York has raised this monument to the new world impetus of human efficiency.

TOWNS IN MINIATURE. The conception of a New York skyscraper is often of a stark, rectangle rearing up in unbroken lines, almost showing its geometrical steel ribs m.jjer a lean flesh of unrelieved stone. There are enough, of such buildings in New York, but they were only the raw beginnings out of which have been evolved the Metropolitan Tower, the astounding massiyity of the Plaza Hotel, the great horseshoe of the new civic buildings, .the Bankers'*. Trust | Buildings with its air-borne pilasters and pyramidal roof, the Candler Building, rocketing above Times Square at night in lines and cornices of fire, the cloud-aspiring Singer Building, and—last of all—until the next ..daring—this Woolworth Tower, the highest inhabited building in the' world, 780 feet in all, whose summit I have known literally hidden in • October storm-scud. And they are towns in themselves, these New York office buildin*gs, housing two, five, and ten thousand people under one roof. Their vast height is often based on; a whole city block. They have within them the organisation of a municipality, their own electric light, water, and power plants, and a. firefighting equipment' that is almost a supererogation; because they are as nearly fire-proof as the wit of man can devise. In the'whole of the Woolworth Building there is no woodwork. ; The doors and partitions are of steel,'terracotta and wire-glass. The frame of the building; is a gigantic and homogenous steel cage, the beautiful walls and ornal ments are laid on as a skin. Beams and ceiling, arches are; of steel, floors are concrete, stairways are stone or metal. The fiercest blizzard of New York s harsh winter .would not shake the skyscraper by a tremor, for it has been built to withstand the impossible pressure of a wind of, 250 miles an hour.. # What ever you may think of thenexternal artistry you cannot fail tobe conquered by the internal complexity, efficiency, and completeness of these commercial palaces of New York. It has been truly vaunted that a tenant need not go from•'.under his roof for almost any civilised want.. He has, of course, the enviably competent telephone service of New York, and he can mail his letters in a chute on his floor. He has a pbst and telegraph office, a restaurant' a' bank, an insurance office, a safe deposit, and even his own uniformed police. He can visit his physician, lawyer, broker, tailor, tobacconist, barber, and shoeblack. He can buy papers, books, stationery, theatre tickets, hosiery, hats,' fruit, flowers, and candies without passing his main entrance. Some of these vast buildings are open day and night, the cost of maintenance alone reaching £20,000 a year, J and the; one item o? water, suppjv I £1000. The Woolwich Building 'has 40 acres of floor space, 3000 extern- windows, 80 000 electric lights, and 28 lifts. Twenty-four thousand tons of stepl went into the construction.' 17,000,000 bricks, 87 miles of electric wiring, and 4.3 miles of piping. ,i

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG19140223.2.3

Bibliographic details

THE SKYSCRAPER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8801, 23 February 1914

Word Count
1,060

THE SKYSCRAPER. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIII, Issue 8801, 23 February 1914

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