Tamara Moscowitz | December 26, 2012
An essay on the renaissance in commercial architecture by C. Matrlock Price appeared in the May 1912 issue of Architectural Record, in which he wrote, "It is fortunate that no attempt has been made by [the] architectural dilettanti to talk of an ‘American Style' in city architecture...our city buildings based upon European prototypes are too obvious."
The completion of New York's 31-story Bankers Trust Building, the world's tallest bank, exemplified Price's sentiment toward austere decorative schemes and architectural Greek motifs that pay tribute to Neoclassicism. Yet, as a nod to American ingenuity, the building's architects, Trowbridge and Livingston, added a ziggurat granite tower topped by a large stepped pyramidal roof modeled on Macedonia's portico at Palititiza, a structure unanimously praised by critics for its innovation.
While sleek skyscrapers graced city skylines, sprawling public buildings were a marvel of Beaux-Arts architecture beautifully realized in James Reilly Gordon's majestic Bergen County Court House, a granite and marble building of power and dignity flanked by statues symbolizing history and the law.