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
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.