Woolworth Building

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Woolworth Building

Woolworth Building was the world's tallest building from 1913 to 1930.*

Preceded by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower
Surpassed by 40 Wall Street
Information
Location 233 Broadway, New York, NY, USA
Status Complete
Constructed 1910-1913
Technical Details
Floor count 60
* Fully habitable, self-supported, from main entrance to rooftop; see world's tallest structures for other listings.</font>

The Woolworth Building, at sixty stories, is one of the oldest — and one of the most famous — skyscrapers in New York City. More than ninety years after its construction, it is still one of the fifty tallest buildings in the United States as well as one of the twenty tallest buildings in New York City. It is also a National Historic Landmark, having been listed in 1966.

Constructed in neo-Gothic style by architect Cass Gilbert, who was commissioned by Frank Woolworth in 1910 to design the new corporate headquarters on Broadway, between Park Place and Barclay Street in Lower Manhattan, opposite City Hall, it opened on April 24, 1913. Originally planned to be 625 feet (190.5 meters) high, it was built to 792 feet (241 meters); construction cost was US$13,500,000, which Woolworth paid in cash.

For its splendor and resemblance to European Gothic cathedrals, it was labeled the Cathedral of Commerce by the Reverend S. Parkes Cadman during its opening ceremony. It was the tallest building in the world until the construction of 40 Wall Street (and, shortly thereafter, the Chrysler Building) in 1930. An observation deck on the 58th floor attracted visitors until 1945.

The building's tower, flush with the main frontage on Broadway, is raised on a block base that has a narrow interior court for light. The exterior decoration was cast in limestone-colored glazed architectural terra-cotta panels. Strongly articulated piers, carried — without interrupting cornices — right to the pyramidal cap, give the building its upward thrust. The Gothic detailing concentrated at the highly visible top is massively scaled, so that it reads well from the street level several hundred feet below. The ornate cruciform lobby has a vaulted ceiling, mosaics, and sculpted caricatures that include Gilbert and Woolworth. Woolworth's private office, revetted in marble in French Empire style is preserved.

The engineer Gunvald Aus designed the steel frame, supported on massive caissons that penetrate to bedrock. The high-speed elevators were innovative, and the building's high office-to-elevator ratio made it profitable. Tenants included the Irving Trust bank and Columbia Records, which had its main New York recording studio in the Woolworth Building.

The building was owned by the Woolworth company for 85 years until 1998, when the Venator Group (formerly the F.W. Woolworth Company) sold it to the Witkoff Group for $155 million [1].

After the September 11, 2001 attacks a few blocks away, the building was without electricity and telephone service for a few weeks; but it suffered no significant damage. Increased post-attack security meant that access to most of the ornate lobby, previously a tourist attraction, was restricted to those with business in the building.

Today the building houses, among other tenants, the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies' Center for Global Affairs.

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Woolworth Building

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Preceded by:
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower
Tallest Building in New York City
1913—1930
Succeeded by:
40 Wall Street
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fr:Woolworth Building he:בניין וולוורת' it:Grattacielo Woolworth ka:ვულუორზ ბილდინგი no:Woolworth Building pl:Woolworth Building pt:Woolworth Building zh:伍爾沃斯大樓 sv:Woolworth Building

Woolworth Building

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