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.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 6:30-8:00 pm

JUST DO IT: Documentaries and Documenting
Modern Architecture and Engineering

Oral histories and film documentaries can be daunting projects that require the apparatus of library science and expert skill in grant-writing and persuasive fund-raising. Whether massive, multi-part series, intensely-focused portraits, or do-it-yourself videos, they capture images, interviews, and information that often would otherwise be lost.

An expert panel that includes both the makers and subjects of the films and videos will discuss the value of documenting stories of modern architecture and engineering. The program will feature a discussion, illustrated by excerpts from several documentaries: speakers include Leslie E. Robertson, subject of the 2018 film “Leaning Out - An Intimate Look at Twin Towers Engineer Leslie E Robertson,” James Sanders, co-writer of the Emmy Award-winning PBS series New York: A Documentary Film, architectural historian Annice Alt, who created a video interview of architect Richard Roth, and Museum Director Carol Willis. Richard Roth will join the discussion via Skype from his home in Florida.

Annice Alt, an architectural historian and author of Boak & Paris / Boak & Raad: New York Architects, interviewed Richard Roth II in 2018 to create a video oral history, of which excerpts will be shown.

Leslie E. Robertson, one of the world's leading structural engineers, collaborated closely with architects to create the innovative designs of the original World Trade Center, the U.S. Steel Tower in Pittsburgh, the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, Shanghai World Financial Center, and Lotte World Tower in Seoul. He retired as a partner in the firm Leslie E. Robertson Associates (LERA) at the end of 1994, continuing to work on LERA projects through 2012. He now practices as See Robertson Structural Engineers, LLC and also serves as a Design Director with the Robert Bird Group, a global consulting engineering firm.

Richard Roth, Jr., who will participate in the discussion via a video Skype connection, practiced architecture from the early 1960s through the 1990s as part of the third generation of the family firm Emery Roth & Sons. Rising to chief architect, Richard led the designs for many major high-rises in the booming post-war development of Manhattan, including 55 Water Street and the Palace Hotel, and as the architect of record for the World Trade Center and the Pan Am (Met Life) Building

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.

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.