Cass Gilbert is one of the most prominent American architects to contribute in the skyscraper industry and the postmodernist age. He is the designer of Buildings like Woolworth Building in New York City, States Supreme Court Building in Washington and many more. Gilbert was a conservative and believed that architecture should reflect historic traditions.

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“To become an Architect in the right sense of the word means that a man shall give his life to it and nothing else, and shall study the work he has to do with enthusiastic interest in every detail pertaining to it, and content himself with nothing less than complete success.” – Cass Gilbert, 1888

Here are 15 Iconic Projects by Cass Gilbert listed below:

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1. Woolworth Building

Woolworth building is a neo-gothic skyscraper built-in 1913. The steel building is a reflection of the progressive architecture of civilization then. It is also known as the Cathedral of Commerce due to its resemblance to European Cathedrals. With a U-shaped base plan and pyramidal roof, the building stands tall with a height of 420 feet and hence, is one of the prominent structures in the New York skyline.

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Woolworth building ©www.skyscrapercenter.com
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Woolworth building ©www.newyorkyimby.com
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Woolworth building ©www.timfisherphotos.com

2. Minnesota State Capitol

This structure was a turning point in Cass Gilbert’s career as it gave him nationwide recognition. It has a resemblance to the St. Peters Basilica in Rome, with the dome being the largest unsupported marble dome in the world. It has influences from Beaux-Arts and Italian Renaissance in terms of style. It consists of elegant ornamentation especially the golden statutes in front known as the quadrigas.

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Minnesota State Capitol ©www.rivertowns.net
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Minnesota State Capitol ©www.fineartamerica.com
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Minnesota State Capitol ©www.nga.com

3. 90 West Street

Another adaptation of the Beaux-Arts and Neo-Gothic style, the skyscraper has a height of 324 feet. The facade consists of terracotta and granite cladding drawing inspiration from the gothic architecture of Belgium.
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The highlights of the building are its balconies with iron railings, crown, and cornice ornamented with intricate floral motifs and its copper mansard roof.

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90 West Street ©www.levinebuilders.com
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90 West Street ©www.untappedcities.com

4. Detroit Public Library

This winning design is again an adaptation of Beaux-Arts style and Italian Renaissance built-in 1913-1921 and underwent further expansion in 1960. The major features of its design are the symmetric walls of white Vermont marble around a barrel-vaulted hall decorated with murals.

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Detroit Public Library ©www.modeldmedia.com
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Detroit Public Library ©www.modeldmedia.com
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Detroit Public Library ©www.modeldmedia.com

5. Broadway Chambers Building

The skyscraper is another distinguished structure in New York and is an example of the balance between structure and aesthetics in the 19th century. It projected the progressive construction by using the cast-iron structure and the introduction of passenger elevators. Similar to 90 West Street, the building facade is an arrangement of granite, terracotta, and bricks.

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Broadway Chambers Building ©www.structurae.net
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Broadway Chambers Building ©www.structurae.net
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Broadway Chambers Building ©www.structurae.net

6. St Louis Public Library

The design was a result of the expansion of St Louis. It is also known as the Palace of fine arts. A simple grandeur is established with its entrance pavilion which is led towards elaborate granite steps. It draws much resemblance to the Italian Renaissance, a common character of most of his structures.

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St Louis Public Library ©www.dallasnews.com
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St Louis Public Library ©www.dallasnews.com
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St Louis Public Library ©www.galenfrysinger.com

7. Alexander Hamilton Custom House

The custom-house is another specimen of the beaux-arts style, situated in Manhattan, New York City. The interior is a steel frame structure and draws many similarities to other custom houses in the State. The building embodied with decorative murals of various eras; its semicircular staircases, and bronze decor brings out certain elegance in the design.

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Alexander Hamilton Custom House ©www.thearch.nyc
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Alexander Hamilton Custom House ©www.thearch.nyc
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Alexander Hamilton Custom House ©www.thearch.nyc

8. Ives Memorial Library

The library is a part of the New Haven Free Public Library in New Haven. It consists of mainly red brickwork and intricate marble design. It draws a major resemblance to the Bristol House and also has major influences of Neo-Georgian. The construction was completed in 1911.

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Ives Memorial Library - Sheet1
Ives Memorial Library ©www.historicbuildingsct.com
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Ives Memorial Library ©www.lostnewengland.com
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Ives Memorial Library ©www.siteprojects.org

9. United States Supreme Court

The building is one of the most successful designs of Cass Gilbert. Situated amid a trapezoidal plot, the building completely dominates its surrounding. It has much resemblance to Roman Architecture and hence is known as a Temple of Justice. The major focus of the design is the bronze iconography that depicts the timeline of law in the world.

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United States Supreme Court ©www.cassgilbertsociety.org
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United States Supreme Court ©www.cassgilbertsociety.org
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United States Supreme Court ©www.fortune.com

10. Brooklyn Army Terminal

The warehouse is situated in Brooklyn New York and was completed in the year 1918. Having an area of about 97 acres, unlike his other structures the building adopts an industrial approach in terms of design. The structure is made out of pure concrete and comprises various elements such as piers, a train yard, and several subsidiary buildings.

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Brooklyn Army Terminal ©www.creativetime.org
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Brooklyn Army Terminal ©www.creativetime.org
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Brooklyn Army Terminal ©www.creativetime.org

11. West Virginia State Capitol

The state capitol is a symbol of the coming of the Renaissance in America. The layout of the building is linear with a prime central structure (the entrance pavilion) separating the building into legislative and administrative sections. The main highlight is the massive dome of diameter 22.9m, made of limestone. The interior consists mainly of limestone over the steel frame.

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West Virginia State Capitol ©www.wvpublic.org
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West Virginia State Capitol ©www.wvpublic.org
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West Virginia State Capitol ©www.herald-dispatch.com

12. New York Life Building

Similar to his other structures, the building has mainly Neo-Gothic influence and slightly that of Art Deco which was an upcoming style then. The skyscraper is easily distinguishable in the New York Skyline due to its octagonal pyramid copper roof. The facade mainly consists of an arrangement of granite and limestone accented with bronze plates.

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New York Life Building ©www.globalstorybook.org
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New York Life Building ©www.britannica.com
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New York Life Building ©www.vertical-access.com

13. Pioneer and Endicott Buildings

Pioneer and Endicott are two buildings of finance and commerce situated in Minnesota, of which the Endicott building was designed by Cass Gilbert. It has major influences of Romanesque style. The major feature of the building is its light wells, shafts, and glass elevators which represented progressive architecture and made the building ahead of its time.

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Pioneer and Endicott Buildings ©www.forum.streets.mn
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Pioneer and Endicott Buildings © Minnesota Museum of American Art
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Pioneer and Endicott Buildings ©www.skywaymom.com

14. Austin Nichols House

The historic warehouse is situated at the banks of East River in Brooklyn, New York City, and was later converted into a residence. It was built in 1914 and has major usage of reinforced cement concrete to make the building fireproof. It has influences of Egyptian Revival and has a simplistic facade design with not much ornamentation and just mere shades of white. The architect believes that the beauty of this structure is in its proportion rather than its ornamentation.

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Austin Nichols House ©www.ma.com
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Austin Nichols House ©www.untappedcities.com
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Austin Nichols House ©www.brooklynrelics.blogspot.com

15. Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse

The courthouse is situated in New York and was completed in the year 1936. The total height of the building is 180 m and has influences of Neo-Classic Style. It consists of three interior courtyards of irregular shape, elaborate granite steps leading to an arrangement of Corinthian columns. The roof of the structure is quite peculiar due to its steep-pitched pyramid shape built with gold glazed terracotta.

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Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse ©www.perkineastman.com
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Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse ©www.reddit.com
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Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse ©www.blogs2lawcolumbia.edu
Author

Anjana Sasikumar, an aspiring architect and writer; is an aficionado of words and an avid reader. She believes that the experience a person embarks on or the true essence of an environment is best expressed with words.

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