The Skyscraper Museum
Book Talks 2019
The Skyscraper Museum

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.

Thursday, June 13, 2019 6:30-8:00 pm


After the Tenements: Out or Up in the 1920s?

This discussion among urban and housing historians Richard Plunz, James Sanders, and Carol Willis will consider the early 20th-century alternative models of decentralizing the dense tenement districts of the Lower East Side through the construction of garden apartments in the boroughs or by the short-lived trend in the late 1920s to erect skyscraper complexes such as Tudor City and London Terrace in Manhattan. We posit: Could housing reformers and private development have replaced crowded tenement districts with high-density, high-rise housing communities?

Richard Plunz is Professor of Architecture at Columbia GSAPP, where he has served as Chair of the Division of Architecture, Director of the Urban Design Program, and currently, as Director of the Urban Design Lab, a research unit of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. His classic volume A History of Housing in New York City (Columbia 1992) was published in a revised edition in 2016.

James Sanders, an architect, filmmaker, and author of numerous books, including Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies. With Ric Burns, he co-wrote the Emmy Award-winning PBS series New York: A Documentary Film and its companion volume, New York: An Illustrated History. Among other projects, he serves as a Senior Fellow at Columbia University’s Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE), developing an initiative that explores the impact of tech culture and industry on the planning and urbanism of New York and other global cities.

The program started with an overview from Skyscraper Museum Director, Carol Willis, followed by Richard Plunz (14:00) and James Sanders (50:42).

The exhibitions and programs of The Skyscraper Museum are supported by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.