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Cass Gilbert's pioneering buildings injected vitality into skyscraper design, and his Gothic skyscraper, epitomized by the Woolworth Building, profoundly influenced architects during the first decades of the twentieth century. Now, as the New-York Historical Society mounts a major exhibit documenting his architectural career, the full breadth of Gilbert's achievements is visible in one lavishly illustrated volume. Architect of the Broadway Chambers Building, the US Custom House, the Minnesota State Capitol, the St. Louis Art Museum, and large-scale projects like the city plan for New Haven, Connecticut, Gilbert is most famous for his skyscrapers -- symbols of our national genius and unrestraint -- monuments of the Beaux Arts City Beautiful aesthetic he embraced throughout his career.Containing essays by major Gilbert scholars, Inventing the Skyline documents fascinating details about the buildings: the color scheme of the main entrance of the Minnesota State Capitol, made to resemble the Byzantine tomb of Galla Placidia in Ravenna; the controversy that erupted over the use of female nudes on the relief of the Essex County Courthouse; and the ill-fated plans for the George Washington Bridge as a Beaux Arts monument with elaborate plazas, fountains, and sculptures.
Margaret Heilbrun is the library director of the New York Historical Society.