‘New York Skyscrapers and the Terra Cotta Revolution’ Webinar
Before New York’s skyscrapers were sheathed in glass, they were clad in clay. Terra cotta, an ancient building material made of baked clay, became a sought-after fireproof skin for some of New York’s earliest skyscrapers beginning in the early 1900s. It’s time to get fired up about fired earth, and see how this revolutionary lightweight and highly malleable material came to define the New York City skyline (and keep it from burning down).
Join New York Adventure Club as we explore some of New York City’s most prominent terra cotta structures from across the five boroughs, and the eminent 20th-century architects who chose to get creative with clay.
Led by writer, historian, and New York City tour guide Lucie Levine, our virtual experience will include:
- A deep dive into terra cotta, and why it became the favorite building material of New York’s budding skyscrapers
- A look at some of the city’s most iconic terra cotta facades, such as the Flatiron Building, Woolworth Building, and Plaza Hotel
- The famed architects who worked with terra cotta, including Cass Gilbert, Henry Hardenbergh, George B. Post, and Ely Jacques Khan
- How this stunningly versatile material moved from monochrome to multi-colored, and helped shift the city from Beaux-Arts beauty to Art Deco splendor
- Stories from inside some of these iconic landmarks, from tales of government spies inside the Woolworth Building (the word’s tallest Terra Cotta building) to young Franklin D. Roosevelt’s time as a lawyer inside the Liberty Tower (which was also the site of the Zimmerman Telegram, which helped catapult the United States into WWI)
- Why terra cotta is making a comeback in 21st-century New York architecture
Afterward, we’ll have a Q&A with Lucie — any and all questions about espionage in NYC are welcomed and encouraged!
Can’t make it live? Don’t worry, you’ll have access to the full replay for one week!
See you there, virtually! $10.Buy tickets/get more info now