Terra-Cotta Skyline


By Susan Tunick
Photographs by Peter Mauss

Terra cotta brought a new expressiveness to the architecture and skylines of cities across the United States. Since the 19TH century, building facades and rooflines have been highlighted by decorative terra cotta in natural clay colors as well as by brightly glazed terra cotta. Vivid glaze colors including yellows, greens, cobalt blues, and metallic lusters frequently emphasize lavish detailing. For more than one hundred years, terra cotta has been an integral -but often unrecognized -- part of America's architectural legacy.

Terra-Cotta Skyline presents the history, manufacture, and art of architectural terra cotta through documents, drawings, archival photographs, and brilliant new color images commissioned for this book. Lively accompanying text based on extensive research provides anecdotes and insights into the working methods of the architects, sculptors, and artisans who designed with terra cotta -- and the entrepreneurs and laborers involved in its production.

Terra-Cotta Skyline also tells of the efforts of determined current-day preservationists to protect this threatened part of our architectural heritage. Also included is a concise guide to two hundred existing terra-cotta buildings in New York City, and a listing of terra-cotta manufacturers and preservation organizations.

Published by Princeton Architectural Press, IO X /2 inches, 176 pages, 77 color and 90 black and white photographs, hard cover, $45.00 (plus $3.50 shipping).

Photograph: Fred F. French Building, 551 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, © Peter Mauss/ESTO.

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rev. 7/17/96
by David Goldfarb