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15 Gothic Inspired Skyscrapers to Visit in the USA

1. General Electric Building

A place where Art Deco and Gothic Revival merge to create a powerful design. It was built for the RCA Records radio company so you can find a lot of design details that symbolizes electricity and radio. The finest example is the neo gothic tracery on the top of the octagonal tower that represents electricity and radio waves. The tracery is lit by night so you can make some nice photos here. Designed by John W. Cross, completed in 1931.

Photo by Chris06

Location: 570 Lexington Avenue, New York

2. 75 Livingston Street, New York (Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Building)

Built as an office building it was converted into a residential tower in 1981. This corner building takes advantage of its position to build a mass of rotated and indented volumes that create a vertical tempo. Also, there are many interesting gothic details – take a look a the the building’s portal. The tower is part of the Skyscraper Historic District in Brooklyn and it was designed by Ukranian born architect Abraham J. Simberg.

Photo by GrissJr

Location: 75 Livingston Street, New York

3. Bush Tower

Initially it was built as a commercial meeting space but in 1938 it was converted to offices. The architects of this skyscraper wanted to make a model for a narrow building within the block so, naturally, they opted for Gothic Revival. The upper zone of the skyscraper makes an octagonal form so together with the lateral lightwell with a pointed arch it can resemble an unfinshed gothic cathedral. Designed by Helmle & Corbett and completed in 1918.

Location: 130-132 West 42nd Street, New York

4. 40 Wall Street, New York

For a brief moment in time it was the tallest building in the world (927 feet (283 m)) until it was surpassed by Chrysler building one month later. It is one of those skycrapers who suffered a plane crash – in 1946 a light aircraft crashed into the 58th floor making a hole in the wall. The building is really tall and all the gothic details are placed on the crown so prepare some long range photo lenses to enjoy the details. Designed by H. Craig Severance and Yasuo Matsui, completed in 1930.

Photo by ChrisRuvolo

Location: 40 Wall Street, New York

5. 90 West Street (West Street Building)

Notice how the building tries to achieve verticallity with facade piers and a grand steep mansard roof. Lots of gothic details in the roof zone. Designed by H. Thomas O’Hara, completed in 1907.

Photo by Fletcher6

Location: 90 West Street, New york

6. Randolph Tower

The tower was built for the Steuben Club to promote German-American heritage in 1929. It has a massive base and an elegant octagonal tower with buttresses that arises at the corner. The facade is clad in terra-cotta with elaborate gothic details. Designed by Karl M. Vitzthum, completed in 1929.

Location: 188 W. Randolph St, Chicago

7. Tower Life Building

This corner building has an irregular plan with an octagonal tower that has become the city crown of San Antonio. Gothic masters preffered octagons because it was the most efficient transition between a square base and a circular dome. Gothic Revival architects used it because eight edges would improve the vertical tempo and make the building appear more slender. The facade here is clad with brick and terra-cotta and it has gargoyles on the upper zone. Designed by Ayres–Ayres, completed in 1929.

Photo by Leaflet

Location: 310 S St Mary’s St, San Antonio

8. Cadillac Tower (Barlum Tower)

The Cadillac Tower could be described as an vertical box with a gothic terra cotta facade. Gothic details appear at the top of the building and t the ground floor where you can notice neo gothic arches resembling Tudor arches. Designed by Bonnah & Chaffee and Otto Misch Co., completed in 1927.

Photo by Andrew Jameson

Location: 65 Cadillac Square, Detroit

9. Cathedral Building (Federal Realty Building)

This building is one of those corner triangular buildings that seem to enchant tourists and photographers. It houses both condos and offices and despite its neo gothic facade it was built with concrete. The steep roof with turrets gave the building’s appearance that led to the „Cathedral Building“ nickname in 1969. Designed by  Benjamin Geer McDougall and completed in 1914. SocketSite has a small article on the building’s interior here.

Photo by Sanfranman59

Location: 1615 Broadway,Oakland, California

10. Cathedral of Learning

This 535 feet (163 m) tall Pittsburg landmark is know for being the second tallest gothic styled building in the world and the tallest education building in the Western hemisphere. Pretty good reasons to use steel frame structure. It is the administrative center of the Pittsburgh University campus. The Cathedral of Learning houses 30 Nationality Rooms that pay tribute to different cultures that influenced Pittsburg’s growth. Designed by Charles Klauder and finished in 1934.

Photo by Notyourbroom

Location: 4200 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh

11. McAllister Tower Apartments

What makes this skyscraper really interesting is the fact it was concieved as a church and a hotel. The investors had a plan to merge Methodist Episcopal congregations in San Francisco into one space and decided to add the hotel too. Unfortunately the hotel did not attract enough guests so the Church had to leave. In 1978 it was bought by University of California and refurbished into student apartments. Today you can still see the former church facade with pointed arches. The former church entrance is blocked with planters. Designed by Miller & Pflueger and Lewis P. Hobart, completed in 1930.

Photo by Beyond My Ken

Location: 100 McAllister Street, San Francisco, California (corner building)

12. PPG Place

This gothic revival jewel clad in glass clearly inspired by London’s Houses of Parliament was built as the headquarters of former  Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. Since PPG manufactures glass plates the choice to use glazed walls seemed obvious. This led to using almost one million square feet of PPG reflective glass. To further enhance the vertical tempo the whole facade has bay windows that end up as spires. If you are an architectural photographer you will love this building for its magnificent reflections during dawn and dusk. Designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee completed in 1984.

Photo by Derek Jensen (Tysto) 

Location: 600 PPG Place, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Website: http://www.ppgplace.com/

13. Tribune Tower

One of the most famous landmarks in Chicago is 462 feet (141 m) tall Tribune Tower, named after the most-read daily newspapers in the city. The design competition held in 1922 attracted many notable architects like Adolf Loos Walter Gropius and Bruno Taut. The winners were  John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood and the building was completed in 1925. The design was inspired by the south tower of Rouen Cathedral (Tour de beurre). To make it more interesting the lower levels have incorporated stones from the world’s famous buildings like the Great Pyramid or the Great Wall of China. Learn more on the offical website.

Photo by Potro

Location: 435 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago

14. New York Life Insurance Building

It is the second and the last building built in neo-gothic style by Cass Gilbert, the architect who is famous for designing the Woolworth Building. The skyscraper is  615 feet (187 m) tall and it is topped with a copper roof covered with gold leafs, later replaced by ceramic tiles. 72 gargoyles can be found on this skyscraper inspired by Salisbury cathedral. Completed in 1928.

Photo by ButtonwoodTree 

Location: 51 Madison Avenue, New York

15. Woolworth Building

One of the most famous skyscrapers in New York. At the time of completion in 1912 the skyscraper was the tallest building in the world (792 feet (241 m)) until the construction of 40 Wall Street and Chrysler building in 1930. The buliding resembles a squeezed gothic cathedral with a tower rising on the east facade. The whole structure was built with steel frames and clad in terra cotta. The ground level contains a richly ornate lobby with vaulted ceiling. Designed by Cass Gilbert and completed in 1912.

 

Photo by chrisinphilly5448

Location: 233 Broadway, Manhattan, New York

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