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, June 11, 2019 6:30-8:00 pm

The Decorated Tenement

How Immigrant Builders and Architects Transformed the Slum in the Gilded Age

University of Minnesota Press (2019)

In The Decorated Tenement: How Immigrant Builders and Architects Transformed the Slum in the Gilded Age, historian Zachary Violette counters the standard narrative of crowded tenements and crusading urban reformers to reconstruct the role of tenement architects and builders in improving housing for the working poor. Drawing on research and fieldwork that surveyed more than 3,000 extant tenement buildings in New York and Boston, Violette uses ornament as an entry point of his study, employing both new contemporary photography and many never-before-published historical images. His work complicates the monolithic notions of architectural taste and housing standards, while broadening our understanding of the diversity of cultural and economic positions of those responsible for shaping American architecture and urban landscapes.

Zachary J. Violette is a preservation consultant and lecturer at Parsons/The New School of Design.His book is based on his dissertation in American and New England Studies at Boston University.


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.