Famous Architects Dress as Their Famous New York City Buildings (1931)

On Jan­u­ary 13, 1931, the Soci­ety of Beaux-Arts Archi­tects held a ball at the Hotel Astor in New York City. Accord­ing to an adver­tise­ment for the event, any­one who paid $15 per tick­et (big mon­ey dur­ing the Depres­sion) could see a “hilar­i­ous mod­ern art exhi­bi­tion” and things “mod­ernistic, futur­is­tic, cubis­tic, altru­is­tic, mys­tic, archi­tis­tic and fem­i­nis­tic.” Atten­dees also got to wit­ness more than 20 famous archi­tects dressed as build­ings they had designed, some of them now fix­tures of the New York City sky­line.

In the pic­ture above, we have from left to right: A. Stew­art Walk­er as the Fuller Build­ing (1929), Leonard Schultze as the Wal­dorf-Asto­ria Hotel (1931) , Ely Jacques Kahn as the Squibb Build­ing (1930), William Van Alen as the Chrysler Build­ing (1930), Ralph Walk­er as 1 Wall Street (1931), D.E.Ward as the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Tow­er and Joseph H. Free­lander as the Muse­um of the City of New York (1930).

A 2006 arti­cle in The New York Times notes that the event, now con­sid­ered “one of the most spec­tac­u­lar par­ties of the last cen­tu­ry,” was cov­ered by WABC radio. A few pho­tographs remain (like the one above — click it to enlarge). As does a tan­ta­liz­ing short bit of video.

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via NYT

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The His­to­ry of West­ern Archi­tec­ture: From Ancient Greece to Roco­co (A Free Online Course)

David Byrne: How Archi­tec­ture Helped Music Evolve

Ten Build­ings That Changed Amer­i­ca: Watch the Debut Episode from the New PBS Series

A Tour Inside Sal­vador Dalí’s Labyrinthine Span­ish Home

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.