Skyscraper Quotes


  • What is the chief characteristic of the tall office building? It is lofty. It must be tall. The force and power of altitude must be in it, the glory and pride of exaltation must be in it. It must be every inch a proud and soaring thing, rising in sheer exaltation that from bottom to top it is a unit without a single dissenting line.
    o Louis Sullivan, The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered (1896)

  • Crowned not only with no history, but with no credible possibility of time for history, and consecrated by no uses save the commercial at any cost, they are simply the most piercing notes in that concert of the expensively provisional into which your supreme sense of New York resolves itself
    o Henry James, The American Scene (1907), Ch. 2: New York Revisited, pt. I


  • A chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier. That is why Chippendale is famous.
    o Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

  • A skyscraper is a boast in glass and steel.
    o Mason Cooley

  • The skyscraper establishes the block, the block creates the street, the street offers itself to man.
    o Roland Barthes

  • Manhattan has no choice but the skyward extrusion of the Grid itself; only the Skyscraper offers business the wide-open spaces of a man-made Wild West, a frontier in the sky.
    o Rem Koolhaas

  • As the twentieth century fades, North America is ceding skyscraper supremacy to Asia.
    o Emily Mitchell in Time, (1994)

  • The tall building ought to participate in the city as both a facade, connecting the walls of the street, and as an object against the sky.”
    o William Pedersen in Process Architecture, 1986

  • Architecture is the alphabet of giants; it is the largest set of symbols ever made to meet the eyes of men. A tower stands up like a sort of simplified statue, of much more than heroic size.
    o Gilbert Keith Chesterton

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