German Desires of America

Jean-Louis Cohen 

New York, 1934

A skyscraper inscribes its geometric outline into the night sky of the metropolis. Its facade is punctuated by the rectangular openings of its tiers of windows, while its base plunges down into a checkerboard of streets lit by the beams of automobile headlights. This striking image of the modern metropolitan condition might seem to evoke the Seagram Building, on New York’s Park Avenue, yet it has nothing to do with Mies’s tower of steel and glass from 1954-1958; in fact the drawing, by Kurt Szafranski, illustrates a brochure published in 1912 by the Berliner Morgenpost, discussing the possibility of a “third dimension” for the German capital, namely, a city center of skyscrapers... [+]

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