FLATIRON COWCATCHER, MADISON SQUARE

In August and September 2013 I worked in the Madison Square area, and so got a daily look at the Flatiron Building, one of the first skyscrapers built with an iron frame. Its elevators helped usher in the Skyscraper Era in Manhattan, and soon buildings like the Singer Tower and the Woolworth Building would start setting world building height records. At one time, NYC had the tallest buildings — we have since ceded that ambition to Middle East and Southeast Asian dictatorships.

The glass-walled “cowcatcher” space at the front of the building was not part of the original design, but was added in order to maximize the use of the building’s lot at the insistence of Fuller CEO Harry Black (against the judgment of architect Burnham) and produce some retail income to help defray the cost of construction. The space has been used in recent years as both retail space and for art installations.

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10/7/16


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