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Columbia University Digital Knowledge Ventures The Architecture and Development of New York City with Andrew S. Dolkart
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The Art-Deco Appeal
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Keeping Them in the City
The Art-Deco Appeal
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In the late 1920s and the early 1930s during a final wave of apartment-house construction before the beginning of the Depression, builders began experimenting with the opposite of what we've been talking about. In order to keep people in the city, they're exploiting the dynamics and the excitement of the city, and instead of using suburban styles they're using the modern, very urban art deco as a way of appealing to people and having them stay in the city.

And you have some of the twin-towered buildings on Central Park West, like the Century, which you see here, and one of the great projects both built and designed by builder-architect Irwin Chanin. And art-deco apartment houses also appear in very large numbers in the Bronx and in Brooklyn, usually on a more modest scale with fire escapes to them. The art deco, which we've seen on commercial architecture, uses some conservative French Beaux-Arts ideas but ornaments these buildings with dynamic zigzag ornaments and stylized design, often using interesting materials. Here in orange brick with polychromed terra-cotta on an apartment house in the Bronx.


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