Why do so many of New York's older skyscrapers have a similar design?
The answer can be traced back to a monumental 1916 zoning law, which established “setback” requirements for buildings above a certain height. In the heart of the Financial District, the Equitable Building, a historic skyscraper that predates the law, remains a symbol of the excesses of the pre-zoning era.
Video by Raymond Schillinger
Camera: Brian Schildhorn
Additional Production: Ren Potts, Jordan Oplinger, Maya Greene
Graphics: Christian Capestany
Special thanks to:
Carol Willis - Founder, Director, and Curator of The Skyscraper Museum
New York City Department of City Planning
Archival Photographs from Getty Images, POND5
same ole, same ole....dull, lifeless,static bland building projects...glass curtain wall....too boring.......we need a new approach....a new theme and style...I new mind set....since the beginning of skyscrapers it has always been to honor business and industry....or religion....
How about honoring the women and females of the world....the women who bore us .....
don't they deserve an honor , and statement in architecture ???....to do them proud??
I give you proudly 👉👉👉👉 One Ovary Place
a 167 floor...2154 foot tall building in the shape of an ovary.....located near Sutton Place in new York. ......mixed use. ..maternity hospital
it's sure to raise some discussion💁💁💁💁
Aka top down government central planning produced a policy that had unforeseen consequences: Extreme shortages of city housing and zoning that separates residential/business/industry so far apart communities get broken up and car infrastructure is required.
Bloomberg .. That makes sense. I think the vertical faces of the twins contributed to their skyline prominence. For example... they always looked much bigger than the Empire State Building from far away. This was an interesting video. Thank you!
Thanks for your comment! The original World Trade Center towers (which were built after the updated 1961 Zoning Resolution) were built on a large, multi-block plaza. This meant the towers were technically "set back" from the street far enough to be built to their record-setting heights without a visible setback in the structure.
Wow. Learned something, nice video. Glad to see that the Zoning Resolution was very well thought out and worked out for the city. Yeah, here in Europe skyscrapers were proposed in some cities in Germany (of course we barely have need for them), but in many cases we also don’t want them.
These ratios are not enough. There is a need for a plot ratio. Higher you build, lower percentage of your plot you can build on. Remainder is ground level plaza. Go above forty stories, then 20% of your plot must be plaza and so on.
That's a great question. There are provisions in the 1961 zoning code that allow developers to purchase and transfer "air rights" from adjoining lots, allowing supertall skyscrapers like 432 Park to exist without an apparent setback. There's a good explanation of this provision here: http://www.skyscraper.org/EXHIBITIONS/SKY_HIGH/shearwall_invmonopoly.php
I feel like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Seattle and most North American cities are the only cities in the whole world that did skyscrapers the right way. When European cities try to add skyscrapers, they look so out of place, look at London's skyline. Pretty ugly tbh. When Asian cities do skyscrapers, they tend to "over-do" them and it just looks like an unorganized mess of buildings.
Actually if you ever get to walk around the area the equitable building and Wall Street area has a distinct feeling to it, like walking in a canyon. If you than compare that to other areas like empire state, grand Central or WTC etc. it feels much less massive.