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Object Timeline

-0001

1922

  • Work on this object began.

1969

  • We acquired this object.

1991

1995

2013

2014

2017

2020

  • You found it!

Drawing, Study for Maximum Mass Permitted by the 1916 New York Zoning Law, Stage 4

This is a Drawing. It was created by Hugh Ferriss. We acquired it in 1969. Its medium is black crayon, stumped, pen and black ink, brush and black wash, varnish on illustration board. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

The skyscraper, symbol of New York City and emblem of American culture, is envisioned in this charismatic architectural rendering by Hugh Ferriss, one of a series of four drawings that show how the city's landmark 1916 "set-back" law would produce the stepped architectural silhouette now familiar from iconic structures such as the Waldorf Astoria and the Empire State Building. The limitations imposed on maximum mass were designed to allow light into city streets, and to allay public fears that the new monoliths would turn city streets into canyons of darkness.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Mod Metropolis.

This object was donated by Mrs. Hugh Ferriss.

Our curators have highlighted 8 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Skyscraper Radio, 1935
  • compression-molded plaskon, metal, glass, woven textile.
  • Gift of George R. Kravis II.
  • 2018-22-20

Cite this object as

Drawing, Study for Maximum Mass Permitted by the 1916 New York Zoning Law, Stage 4; Hugh Ferriss (American, 1889–1962); USA; black crayon, stumped, pen and black ink, brush and black wash, varnish on illustration board; 1969-137-4

We have 1 media file that features Drawing, Study for Maximum Mass Permitted by the 1916 New York Zoning Law, Stage 4.

"Sugar Foot Stomp," Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra (1925)

The Hugh Ferriss drawing, Study for Maximum Mass Permitted by the 1916 New York Zoning Law, Stage 4 seemed to call out for the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra with Louis Armstrong. In “Sugar Foot...

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibitions The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920sMaking Design and The Cooper-Hewitt Collections: A Design Resource.

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18468717/ |title=Drawing, Study for Maximum Mass Permitted by the 1916 New York Zoning Law, Stage 4 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=22 September 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>