Broadway-Chambers Building, 1900
Gilbert’s first New York work, the 1900 Broadway-Chambers Building, proudly advanced that aesthetic-building as classical column. Distinct materials and shapes clearly define its parts, but it was his radical use of color that made this one stand out. A pink granite base (well, it used to be pink) supports an eleven-story red-and-blue brick shaft. A four-floor capital of colorful terra cotta completes the imagery. But this accepted solution also came with a “use-by” date. As rising land values and new technologies pushed Manhattan buildings ever upward, any agreed-upon architectural expression was a moving target. What was an appropriate design for a ten-story building was no longer appropriate for a thirty-story one and would certainly not be appropriate for those reaching eighty stories. A new aesthetic had to be found.
Woolworth Building, 1912
90 West Street, 1905