The Skyscraper Museum is devoted to the study of high-rise building, past, present, and future. The Museum explores tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction, investments in real estate, and places of work and residence. This site will look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.
"100-Story City in the 'Neo-American Style'", Plate CXXIV from Francisco Mujica's 1929/30,
History of the Skyscraper.
"Hundred Story City in the Neo-American Style" is the creation of Francisco Mujica, a Peruvian-born architect, artist, historian, and archeology professor who proposed a historical link between the distinctive ìsetbackî shape of American skyscrapers and the pre-Columbian pyramids of Central America. Visiting New York in 1926, he became fascinated by the parallels in the ancient and modern forms, and he spent the next three years traveling the United States, researching skyscraper history and meeting with prominent architects. In 1929, he published the impressive and rare folio History of the Skyscraper, on view in the exhibition, which is both a history and a thorough survey of recent high-rise buildings. In it, he included many of his own archeological drawings and he wrote: "the structural form the skyscraper has come to adopt is next of kin to our Indian pyramids."
The desire to find an appropriate historical style in which to dress the tall building was a deep concern among architects from the 1880s into the early 1920s and was a key point of the famed Chicago Tribune Tower competition in 1922. By 1929, though, the issue seems moot, as a style of simplified forms without historical reference became the direction of modern architecture. Mujicaís vision of regimented and hyper-rationalized city of towers and grid of elevated bridges, which, clearly owes a debt to the superblocks of Ferriss and Corbett, is one of the starkest and most alienating of the twenties.