As a delineator, his task was to create a perspective drawing of a building or project. This was done either as part of the sales process for a project, or, more commonly, to advertise or promote the project to a wider audience. Thus, his drawings were frequently destined for annual shows or advertisements. After he had set up as a free-lance artist, he found himself much sought after. Daily News Building , NYC By , Ferriss had begun to develop his own style, frequently presenting the building at night, lit up by spotlights, or in a fog, as if photographed with a soft focus.
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The first edition, Ferriss developed a unique style, using chiaroscuro to depict brooding, monumental structures that gave his cityscapes an alien feel. His work continues to inspire architects and city planners, as well as artists, filmmakers, and comic book creators.
We recently obtained the copy depicted here, which still has the rare original dust jacket. Below, a selection of images and text from the book. The Metropolis of Tomorrow is divided into three sections. The first depicts buildings that had already been planned or constructed, including the Chicago Tribune Building: Chicago Tribune Building. The Metropolis of Tomorrow by Hugh Ferris. Hugh Ferris, The Metropolis of Tomorrow. In the second section, Ferriss discusses the evolution of skyscrapers based on contemporary trends in urban planning.
New York City and other municipalities had recently established laws regarding the heights and volumes of skyscrapers to prevent them monopolising the sky. This usually involved the incorporation of set-backs , the requirement that at certain heights the building lose some of its width to allow light and air to reach smaller buildings and the streets below.
The block is assumed to be two hundred by six hundred feet. The building rises vertically on the lot lines only so far as it is allowed by law in this case, twice the width of adjoining streets. Above this, it slopes inward at specified angles. A tower rises, as is permitted, to an unlimited height, being in area, not over one fourth the area of the property. Also, the uppermost steps are of too small an area to be of use: when the spaces necessary for elevators and stairs have been set aside, the remaining rentable area would not justify the expense of building.
Ferriss also comments on how these zoning requirements have improved architecture — no longer will buildings be constructed as large, characterless boxes. In this section Ferriss also describes other proposals for the future of city planning, such as the use of rooftop gardens and the construction of avenues directly through the bases of tall buildings. Above, he illustrates an imaginary district in which buildings are tall, thin, and separated by broad avenues to economise on space and simplify transportation.
Below, he beautifully illustrates the predicted development of the glass Curtain Wall , now a standard feature of modern skyscrapers. In the third section, Ferris takes account of all of these trends and technological advances to design his own city of the future, one characterised by broad avenues surrounded by smaller structures allowing light and air throughout the city, with a few skyscraper complexes for city management, industry, and the arts placed at strategic locations within regulated zones.
A glass-walled building inthe Science Zone at night. Walls of translucent glass… A mineral kingdom. Gleaming stalagmites. Forms as cold as ice. Wide roads to accommodate vehicle traffic. The Metropolis of Tomorrow by Hugh Ferriss. Here for our full selection of rare books on architecture.
The metropolis of tomorrow.
The Metropolis of Tomorrow by Hugh Ferriss
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