In Progress Thoughts

About guiding principles

My Tours-Tour is not a subject catalogue.

I’m not looking for an absolute exhaustiveness, neither a systematic analysis of a model, a program, a material, an execution or even a typical American know-how.

Many books have ever classified, sized up, and listed all the towers of the world. With plenty of superlatives and comparatives.

My aim is a Travel in the Sky.

Below, the practical and handy conditions of my trip.


A few words of introduction

Skyscraper: Use of the word

1788: Earliest occurrence of the word. Name given to a horse that in 1789 won the Epsom Derby; in 1826 high-standing horses were referred to as sky-scrapers.
1794: Triangular sky-sail.
1800: Hat or bonnet.
1857: Very tall man.
1866: Fly balls in baseball and cricket.
1883: In “American Architectural Form of the Future”, John Moser discusses the need for a towering structure to distinguish monumental public buildings: “This form of sky-scraper gives that peculiar refined, independent, self-contained, daring, bold, heaven-reaching, erratic, Quixotic, American thought… […] I should trust to American constructive and engineering skill to build it strong enough for any gale”.

1891: A sky-scraper or skyscraper is a building, especially used in Chicago.

Framework of the travel/study

I. The architectural model: birth & growth

a. Early beginnings

1. Technological preparations

2. The commercial building

3. Architectural outcome of the fire

b. Offices in the sky and skyscraper

1. Form follows structure – and vice versa

2. “Form follows finance”

3. “Form follows function”

II. Preserving the old ones

a. The building is getting old: an Heritage

b. Safeguarding

1. The city and the skyline

2. The building

3. Philosophy

c. Expertises and Investigations

1. Structure and material

2. History

d. Projects

1. Structure and material

2. Building laws

4. New guidelines for environmental issues

5. Adaptative reuse

6. Building sites

III.  Building the new ones

a. The symbol

b. Municipal and building codes

c. Contemporary Projets

1. Form (still) follows structure

2. Form follows security?

3. New designs

4. Sustainability?

IV. Personnal Inquiries about changes and transformations of the city

a. Budget issues: form (still) follows finance

b. Light and colours

c. Style

d. Lexicon English/French

e. Density – Vertical Urban Life





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ALOFSIN A., Prairie Skyscraper, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Price Tower, Rizzoli International Publications, 2005.
ARTEAGA R.F., The Building of the Arch, Eleventh Edition Printing, 2010.
AUSTIN D., Lost Detroit, The History Press, 2010.
BASCOMB N., Higher, A historic race to the sky and the making of the city, Doubleday, 2003.
BIRKMIRE W., The Planning and Construction of High Office Buildings, 1898.
BORK R., Great Spires: Skyscrapers of the New Jerusalem, Kvlner Architekturstudien, 2003.
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JSAH, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Volume 69, Number 2, June 2010
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WILLIS C., Form follows finance, Skyscrapers an d Slylines in New York and Chicago, Princeton Architectural Press, 2005.
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Guide to:
Baltimore architecture, Third Edition, 1997.
Architecture in Cincinnati, 2006.
Dallas, With Regional Highlights, 1999.
Houston, Second Edition, 1999.
New York City Landmarks, Fourth Edition, 2009.
The WPA Guide to New York City, 1939.
Philadelphia Architecture, Third Edition, 2009.
The Architecture of St. Louis, 1989.
AIA Guide to:
Boston, Third Edition, 2008.
Chicago, Second Edition, 2004.
Detroit, 2003.
New York, Fifth Edition, 2009.
Washington, D.C., Fourth Edition, 2006.