Friday, February 24, 2012

Singer Building

Taken between 1910 and 1920, this photo shows the Singer Building, the next building in New York City to hold the record for the tallest building in the world. It held the record for only two years though, from 1908 to 1909, before being surpassed by the Metropolitan Life Tower in Midtown. It was the world headquarters for the Singer Manufacturing Company, of sewing machine fame.

Unlike most of New York's other early skyscrapers, the Singer Building was constructed with a large base, but a relatively narrow tower. This went along with the common architectural technique of building setbacks for skyscrapers, but it also meant that the 35-story tower above the 12-story base was tall, but had very limited office space.

In 1961, Singer sold the building and moved their headquarters uptown. Because it had such limited office space, it was demolished in 1968 and replaced with 1 Liberty Plaza, a nondescript 54 story skyscraper with much more space, but much less aesthetic appeal. Located directly across from the World Trade Center, 1 Liberty Plaza received light damage when the Twin Towers fell. Incidentally, the Singer Tower set the record for the tallest building ever demolished, a record that was only broken when the Twin Towers fell in 2001. The Singer Tower remains the tallest building ever peacefully demolished.

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