by Judith Dupré

Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers Inc., New York, 1996, pp. 128, $24.98.

Skyscrapers Higher and Higher

by Caroline Mierop in cooperation with Georges Binder and with the participation of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Norma Editions, Paris, 1995, pp. 223, $65.

By Carter B. Horsley

These two handsome books document the recent burgeoning of major new skyscrapers around the world that are challenging the American skyline.

Dupré's very tall and slim study is the best looking architecture book of the last few years.

Mierop's book, which has an introduction by Paul Goldberger, is much more lavish.

Both are sobering eye-openers for many Americans and are indispensable for any serious student of the genre.

The Dupré book has 50 two-page layouts on what the author considers the most important skyscrapers, it also has a list of the 100 tallest at the time of printing and 30 were not in the United States. More impressively, or frightening, is the fact that 12 of the 25 tallest are not in America.

The implications are obvious: America has fallen out of love with the skyscraper; the rest of the world has fallen in love with the skyscraper; America can't afford them any longer; the rest of the world can afford them, but the reality is that skyscrapers are among man's most impressive achievements.

"Deemed both avatars and annihilators of civilized life, they have been praised as efficient s[ace savers and denounced as rapacious consumers of light and air. In short, the skyscraper's bold visual gestalt, one layered with multiple meanings, has become a complex metaphor for all that is good and bad about the twentieth century," Dupré writes in her foreword to her book.

In an introductory interview, Philip Johnson, who is represented with several entries, states that "the skyscraper is finished…because there is no economic need for them," adding "It's pride."

The handsome book's black-and-white photographs are superb and the essays are short, but on the mark. There are no great surprises, but it is good to see included such wonderful buildings as Shipporeit -Heinrich Associates' Lake Point Tower in Chicago, shown at the left, Frank Lloyd Wright's Price Building in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's National Commercial Bank in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, I. M. Pei & Partners' First Interstate Bank Tower in Dallas, Kohn Pedersen Fox's DG Bank Headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany and 333 Wacker Drive in Chicago, and Stubbins Associates' Landmark Tower in Yokohama, Japan, shown below in a reproduction from the other book, which has some color photographs.

Mierop's book complements Dupré's book, filling in quite a few gaps. Among the major towers discussed and shown here and not in the Dupré book are John Portman's One Peachtree Center and Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo & Associates' NationsBank Plaza, both in Atlanta, I. M. Pei & Partners' CenTrust Tower in Miami, Auguste Perret's Tour Perret in Amiens, France, Studio BBPR's Torre Velasca in Milan, Italy, Skidmore, Owing & Merrill's Texas Commerce Tower in Dallas, Emile Aillaud's Tours Nuages in Paris, David Kenneth Specter's Galleria in New York, Foster Associates' Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Building in Hong Kong, Hiroshi Hara and Atelier's Umeda Sky Building in Osaka, Japan.

Of great interest in Mierop's book are renderings of some major unbuilt towers that are fascinating such as Paul Rudolph's Sino Land Company Tower in Hong Kong, shown at the right, Harry Seidler & Associates' Groll Tower in Melbourne, Australia, and Kajima Corporation's DIB-200 project for a 200-story tower in Japan.










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See The City Review article on "The Architecture of Skyscrapers"


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See The City Review article on "The Architecture of Skyscrapers," a book by Francisco Asensio Cerver

See The City Review article on "New Forms, Architecture in the 1990s," a book by Philip Jodidio

See The City Review article on "Skyscrapers, The New Millennium," a book by John Zukowsky and Martha Thorne

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