The Skyscraper Museum is devoted to the study of high-rise building, past, present, and future. The Museum explores tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction, investments in real estate, and places of work and residence. This site will look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.
Model of the original Times Tower
Courtesy of The New York Times Company
This highly detailed model, created in the late-20th century, is a depiction of the 1903-1905 New York Times Building designed by the architecture firm of Eidlitz & McKenzie. Cyrus Eidlitz followed the suggestion of publisher Adolf S. Ochs in modeling the skyscraper on the late medieval campanile of the Florence Cathedral, which in his travels he had much admired for its slender proportions and rich inlaid marble decoration. The Times Tower fashioned its ornament of terra cotta, which was glazed to produce a soft creamy tone to match the limestone used for the lower floors. Both the upper zone of the main section and the tower above were richly sculptural, mixing Gothic and Renaissance styles. Details of the designs of the terra cotta can be seen in the architect's drawings and construction photographs at the right. u
Many turn-of-the-century commercial buildings used lavish programs of terra-cotta cladding and ornament designed specifically for the project--the Flatiron Building and Times Tower being notable examples-- to lift themselves above the norm and create an elevated civic character. Expressing his aspirations for the status of his tower, Ochs wrote to his mother of the elation he experienced on glimpsing it from the deck of an ocean liner:
"The new building loomed up in all its beautiful and grand proportions, out of mid-New York, as we sailed away, and my heart swelled as I thought of association with its erection, Then it stood foremost and most conspicuous among the best buildings in the Metropolis of the World--and I grew really sentimental. ...It is a beauty, and even though the $2,500,000 that went into it cost some anxieties, it is there and it will be a monument to one man's daring."
Meyer Berger, The Story of the New York Times, 1851-1951, 151.