Joanna Merwood-Salisbury


On her book Chicago 1890: The Skyscraper and the Modern City

Cover Interview of January 03, 2010

Editor’s note

Originally, this interview ran on the Rorotoko cover page under the headline

“An architectural history of contention about the future of the industrial city.”

We highlighted two quotes.

On the first page:

“As much as architects justified the skyscraper as the finest product of the city, socialists and anarchists denounced it as a symbol of class oppression and economic inequality.”

On the second:

“John Wellborn Root imagined an entirely new aesthetic for crowded Chicago streets.  He discussed the possibility of an architecture whose effect depended on color rather than ornament.  The business block should be monolithic and plain, he said, since metropolitan dwellers were too busy to appreciate fine detail.”