Talk:Early skyscrapers

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Good article Early skyscrapers has been listed as one of the Art and architecture good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
November 28, 2012 Good article nominee Listed
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Initial page created...[edit]

I've had a go at an article on this topic; any copyediting welcome! Given the theme, I've tried to go for US English throughout, but being British, I may have missed some: corrections are welcomed. :) Hchc2009 (talk) 19:52, 12 September 2012 (UTC)

A nice looking article. I have one question though, how did you decide on the title "Early skyscrapers"? Is it the predominant name for skyscrapers built during this era, similar to the name "pre history", or was it just a designation you thought fit the best? If it is the common name then that is fine, if not I wonder whether it might be better to use a date or something a bit more precise in the title. I admit to being quite ignorant of this topic (I just noticed it because it was nominated at WP:GA and it looked interesting), it is just that I have not seen too many titles here defined using early. AIRcorn (talk) 08:21, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
Cheers! Ref the name, it's used a fair bit in the literature as a label. Hchc2009 (talk) 21:04, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Early skyscrapers/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: SilkTork (talk · contribs) 09:58, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Pass. SilkTork ✔Tea time 22:43, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

I'll start reading over the next few days and then begin to make comments. I am normally a slow reviewer - if that is likely to be a problem, please let me know now. I tend to directly do copy-editing and minor improvements, though if there is a lot of work needed I may suggest getting a copy-editor. Anything more significant than minor improvements I will raise here. I see the reviewer's role as collaborative and collegiate, so I welcome discussion regarding interpretation of the criteria. SilkTork ✔Tea time 09:58, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks! Hchc2009 (talk) 18:59, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Tick box[edit]

GA review – see WP:WIAGA for criteria

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality:
    B. MoS compliance for lead, layout, words to watch, fiction, and lists:
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources:
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary:
    C. No original research:
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:
    B. Focused:
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are tagged with their copyright status, and valid fair use rationales are provided for non-free content:
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:

Comments on GA criteria[edit]

  • Images are legal. SilkTork ✔Tea time 19:30, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Not the most reader-useful citation style but meets GA criteria. SilkTork ✔Tea time 19:34, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Stable. SilkTork ✔Tea time 19:34, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Prose is clear, readable, informative; it is well constructed, conveying a wealth of technical information in a clear and lucid style, inviting continued reading, and assisting in the understanding of the topic. SilkTork ✔Tea time 13:52, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Meets all applicable MoS requirements. SilkTork ✔Tea time 13:54, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Major aspects. Article is rich in detail - it certainly appears comprehensive enough to cover the needs of most general readers, and I've not come upon any noticeable gaps. SilkTork ✔Tea time 15:52, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Neutral. Article is neutral. SilkTork ✔Tea time 15:52, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Sources. Article is well researched and amply cited to reliable sources. SilkTork ✔Tea time 15:54, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Original research. There is no evidence of original research - material remains close to sources. SilkTork ✔Tea time 15:54, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Images. The article is still a little image dense - there is still a possibility of readers losing interest in the images as they near the end of the article, and there is still work to be done on some of the captions; however, I feel it is not a significant issue to hold up the review any longer. Ongoing development would be to work on the images and captions. SilkTork ✔Tea time 22:19, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
  • Focus. There is still work to be done on sharpening the focus of the article by trimming down excess material; however, as with the images, I don't feel that it is of sufficient concern by itself to hold up the review any longer. Some good work has been done today, and I hope that will continue. It is not an easy job to cut away the interesting little tit-bits - or to always see what needs cutting; but as long as people are aware it needs doing, and are prepared to chip away now and again, the article will get better. SilkTork ✔Tea time 22:43, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

*Image captions are sometimes a bit longer than the three lines suggested in Wikipedia:Captions#Succinctness, and this contrasts with other image captions which are fairly terse: "The Tribune Tower in 2007", and others which may somewhat tease the reader with incomplete information: "The Bank of Manhattan Trust Building in 2010, showing the setback style" (what is the setback style?), "The centre of Chicago in 1911, showing impact of 1892 reforms" (how does it show the impact? what were the 1892 reforms?). A balance needs to be found in presenting the right information - not too much text as to distract the reader, neither too little as to either confuse the reader as to the meaning nor to trivialise the picture to the point where the reader wonders why the image was used. Though coming under WP:Layout, it's also worth at this point questioning the amount of images, and their positioning throughout the article. The article is image rich, but is it image heavy? And the image placement is sometimes alternating (left/right), and sometimes not. There are tall images and there are wide images. Not an obvious fail, but worth raising the issue. SilkTork ✔Tea time 19:30, 30 October 2012 (UTC)

*Focus. Just parking this thought here. The article is very detailed, and I'm wondering if there is at times a little too much detail for a general encyclopedia article. The article is slightly over comfortable reading length if someone wanted to read the whole thing in one sitting, and I don't think the subject matter is that complex that it justifies requiring the extra effort from the general reader. Wikipedia:Article size has some advice on the matter. Examples of information that may not be needed are: "Many of these new banks were named after their owner, but in reality hosted a number of shops and other financial institutions, whose rents subsidized the operations of the main bank itself", "an area often associated with dilapidation and crime", "These early designs lacked safety features and risked catastrophic failure if the elevator's hoist rope snapped, a problem that was overcome when New Yorker Elisha Otis invented the first safety brake in 1851."

There is often a reluctance among us Wikipedians to removing information, especially if it is sourced, well presented, and has some association to the topic; however, what I am thinking here is about the culmative impact of a lot of information that is not directly relevant to the topic. The ability to comprehend and remember information diminishes with the amount of information presented, and the time needed to read all the information, so the educational value of the article is being lost rather than increased by each additional titbit of info that is added once the size threshold has been reached. SilkTork ✔Tea time 14:41, 5 November 2012 (UTC)
And, sometimes, the sheer visual size of an article can be daunting to the general reader. We can record the number of visitors to an article - I would love to have a stat that showed us the length of time each visitor spent on an article. SilkTork ✔Tea time 14:43, 5 November 2012 (UTC)

General comments[edit]

  • I've just had a quick look, and this seems an impressive article. Given the amount of detail, and the nature of the topic, it may take me a while to get through this review. However, if I've been quiet for rather a long time, please give me a nudge. SilkTork ✔Tea time 09:58, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
    • Nudge. Drmies (talk) 01:58, 27 October 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the nudge. I'm away from home at the moment - I'll make a start when I get home tonight. SilkTork ✔Tea time 08:56, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
I started looking at the article but got sidetracked by some other stuff that I'm afraid to mention. I'm going to come back to it as well. Thanks, Drmies (talk) 18:51, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
SilkTork, I noticed a few BE spellings and changed them, until I realized it was done consistently. Does the author get the prerogative or the topic? I think MOS:TIES should prevail, but I'll hold off for now. Drmies (talk) 14:37, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
As per the talk page, I'd been aiming for US Eng, but being a Brit, mistakes will have crept in. Please fix any that you come across! Hchc2009 (talk) 18:34, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
Hey, there's the author! Sorry, hadn't looked at the talk page yet--I just breezed by the GA page looking for something more fruitful to do. That's a mighty fine article you got there, Hchc. Drmies (talk) 18:41, 30 October 2012 (UTC)
  • Yes, as this is an American topic, then American spelling is appropriate. SilkTork ✔Tea time 18:58, 30 October 2012 (UTC)


This is a damn fine article, and the only quibbles are in the over-abundance of material. There are perhaps too many images for comfort and necessity, and the caption length at times can be a little long, and would benefit from tightening, and/or moving the information into the article mainspace. The article itself could also benefit from a little pruning. There is no rush to get the work done, though I will set the standard initial seven days timeframe. If the work hasn't been done after seven days I'll probably do it myself - I don't think it's significant - probably no more than a hour's work along the lines already suggested above. SilkTork ✔Tea time 16:09, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

  • SilkTork, I agree: there is a bit much here. It may be my Alzheimers or my short attention span, but on occasion I can't see the forest for the trees. Drmies (talk) 16:19, 13 November 2012 (UTC)


This is a really enjoyable, informative and fascinating article. It's worth taking it forward to FA. SilkTork ✔Tea time 22:43, 28 November 2012 (UTC)


The title seems informal (also hard to find, as it does not begin with the subject but an adjective.) Skyscrapers (History) would seem better. Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:53, 20 October 2012 (UTC)

It's an interesting point. Though I'm not sure that article titles are covered in the GA criteria - except maybe under NPOV - criteria 4. Did you intend to make this point in the GA review, or was it aimed at the article talkpage? SilkTork ✔Tea time 00:08, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
Talk page moved now. Alanscottwalker (talk) 01:04, 21 October 2012 (UTC) However, your point about neutrality may broadly cover it: is the article about skyscrapper history (eg. encyclopedic in scope) or some selected early skyscrapers. It seems to aim is for the former but the title suggests a lesser (perhaps arbitrary) coverage. In addition to the other title issues. (Lots of good effort on the article by the by (so thanks to the primary contributor for that) Alanscottwalker (talk) 01:16, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
I'd avoided "skyscrapers (history)", as it deliberately doesn't go beyond 1939. The academic literature usually breaks at the that date, producing detailed histories (which is what I was initially aiming at here) on either the "early" period, or alternatively "modern skyscrapers" (or a variant like "modern/post modern skyscrapers", "post-war skyscrapers" etc.) An article that aimed to do the overall history of skyscrapers would be a great article - but it would almost certainly need subarticles for those broad periods, just because of length. I considered something like "skyscrapers (history, 1870-1939)" - or a MOS compliant variant thereof! - but I'll admit it felt less natural and less in accordance with the language used in the literature. If folks feel that the current version doesn't fit with the MOS, we do need to change it though, and I'm definitely not an expert in MOS titles! :) Hchc2009 (talk) 07:43, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
Well, perhaps you just chose the best one. "Early" seems vague but there you go. Seems "Skyscrapers (1870-1939)" would be better but I can't see it as required. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:14, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
I'm possibly right! I wouldn't stand in the way of a title change though if you wished to make it. Hchc2009 (talk) 18:49, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
Even more shocking, I'm possibly wrong! But I will think longer about it and mayhap discover that's not possible after all. Thanks. Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:12, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

"Early skyscrapers" was a common term I found when doing a bit of background reading. It is the term used in reliable sources, and has the advantage of being WP:NATURAL. SilkTork ✔Tea time 16:22, 13 November 2012 (UTC)



I've taken the discussion to the talk page, as per WP:BRD. A couple of bits:

  • The lead of an article should summarise the contents - see WP:LEAD. It doesn't need to be cited (with some exceptions, such as direct quotes) provided the material is cited later on in the article. Just editing the lead of an article, by for example bringing in the concept of Classicism in 1980s skyscrapers, without working on the text in the main sections, causes some difficulties.
  • As per WP:LEAD, the intro should not typically have more than four paragraphs.
  • Citations do matter, and they need to be accurate; the web site being referred to to support the statement that "With the movements of Postmodernism, New Urbanism and New Classical Architecture, that established since the 1980s, a more classical approach is taken on skyscraper design by various architects", for example, makes no reference to New Urbanism or Postmodernism that I can see.
  • In terms of the weighting to the classical theme in 1980s+ skyscrapers, the reference given doesn't seem to say that a more classical approach is taken by most architects of current skyscrapers - only 2-3 named individuals. Given this, and the fact that this is an article on skyscrapers up to 1939, I'd also suggest that we'd need to explain the link between these events in the 1980s, and early skyscrapers - what are we trying to capture or say about the theme in the article? (e.g. did early skyscraper design drive or encourage this later approach? If so, and referenced, I'd support it forming part of the legacy section)
  • The weight given to aspects of a lead should reflect the article as a whole. I think that mentioning the Seven Sisters later in the article is a good idea, and was a good spot by yourself, but I'd dispute that it belongs in the lead (given that it was built in 1947, eight years after the end of the period being covered in the article) - it isn't a prominent example you'd find in the opening paragraphs of most books about early skyscraper design. Clearly happy to discuss further.
  • On mundane wiki issues: Over-wikilinking. Have a look at WP:OVERLINK.
  • Similarly mundane: The citation style of additions should be consistent with the rest of the article (as per WP:CITE); have a look at how I've formatted the reference for Paperny later in the piece.

I'd welcome your thoughts. Hchc2009 (talk) 12:00, 4 April 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for the constructive approach HCHC. Now I'm willing to get into this in more detail. The main trigger for me to add the postmodern and related movements is this line that leaves the reader without any context on counter-developments: "Skyscraper projects after World War II typically rejected the designs of the early skyscrapers, instead embracing the international style; many older skyscrapers were redesigned to suit contemporary tastes or even demolished" While this is certainly true, it should be put into context. Classical architecture language never ceased to exist, it was just that it was grinded down by modernist academics. And the Seven Sisters perfectly illustrate that the classical skyscraper period extended well beyond 1939. You could steam it down to saying that "during Socialist Classicism, classical style skyscrapers were constructed" but I don't feel that's more convenient than giving the 7 Sisters as the prominent example.

So that's where I'm getting at the 1939 barrier. It's true the War brought skyscraper construction around the world to a halt. But we shouldn't conclude it immediately changed the way skyscrapers were constructed. This needs to be put into context as well, and especially in the lead. So I think the restriction of the topic to this period is legit, but should also allow for additions beyond that. After all, it also serves as the main article on classical architecture skyscrapers. We could create a separate article on that, but I think it'd create too much confusion and parallels, a waste of effort. This article could and should have a wider scope. -- All the best Horst-schlaemma (talk) 12:43, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks! I've got some (real world!) work to finish off over the next hour or so, but will reply properly in a bit when I'm free from that. Thanks again, Hchc2009 (talk) 13:09, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
I think your points about the 1939 barrier are really interesting; when I did the first draft for this one, dealing with the disjuncture at the end of the period was one of the challenges that kept coming up in terms of structure (and is reflected in the books etc. on the topic). I'd welcome the idea of, say, adding an additional paragraph to the legacy section to further capture some of the lasting impact of the early designs on later constructions/design.
I'm perhaps more sanguine than yourself about being able to tackle classical-style skyscrapers separately from early skyscrapers; the two are, in my opinion, rather different themes, albeit inevitably overlapping during the time period under discussion. I'd envisage that an article such as "Classical skyscrapers" or "Classical architecture in skyscrapers" would run from the 19th century up until the present day, and would focus much more on the architecture, and considerably less on the social history and technology, perhaps making use of that additional space to explore the aesthetic and design issues in much more depth. (NB: having typed this paragraph, I've realised that there's a redirect from Classical skyscrapers to here; I'd be enthusiastic about someone turning this from a redirect into a proper article on classicism in skyscraper design!)
In terms of a way forward, would you be up for the two of us working up an additional, cited paragraph on the talk page, with the aim of it then going into the legacy section, and then working through the lead to ensure that it reflected the additional material adequately?
Separately, I'd be quite supportive of the idea of us using some of this article as a core for a separate "Classical architecture..."; I'm not very strong on more recent skyscraper design, though - my love of the architecture stops around the 1930s! Hchc2009 (talk) 14:33, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
Very good thoughts and I agree with your proposal to properly include the contextual information here and create a seperate article on classical skyscraper design that prevails until today. Though I'm not bursting of leisure time, we could go into this soon. Thanks! -- Regards Horst-schlaemma (talk) 16:08, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
Cheers. I'm a bit knackered tonight, but will a try and take a stab at the contextual bit tomorrow night. Hchc2009 (talk) 15:42, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

OK, I've been having a think about this. I suspect a good paragraph in the legacy could run something like this: (NB: not word-smithed!) "Architectural themes from the early skyscrapers have been drawn on by various modern skyscraper architects. The classical themes have been used by... Post-modern skyscrapers such as... have used... from the 1920s etc." This would bound the issues to the topic of the article (early skyscrapers) but still pull out the architectural continuities beyond the period. The trick may be finding decent sources to support each of the statements. I'm back home on Thursday night (I'm currently travelling with work) and will have a scout through my book collection then. Hchc2009 (talk) 17:20, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

That'd be lovely Hchc2009, thank you! Cheers Horst-schlaemma (talk) 20:05, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
OK, had a look through Sheppard. He generally argues that the later skyscrapers took the international style as their starting point, rather than earlier themes, although draws parallels between the Panhellenic House and the CBS buildings, and between the PPG and HRB and Saarinen's Chicago Tribune design. Will have a look through a couple more and see what they've got. Hchc2009 (talk) 17:17, 15 April 2014 (UTC)