New York City has often been on the forefront of architectural ingenuity. Concurrently, many of the City’s notable buildings were inspired by Old World architecture. Presented below, the fourth part of our series provides a survey of New York City buildings and their British inspirations (Part I: France, Part II: Italy, Part III Greece). The authorities differ on the authenticity of some of these claims, after comparing them let us know what you think.
1. Salisbury Cathedral/New York Life Insurance Building
Salisbury Cathedral, or the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was completed in 1258 and possesses the tallest spire in England. The cathedral contains the best preserved copy of the Magna Carta and the world’s oldest working clock.
The cathedral served as the inspiration for the Cass Gilbert New York Life Insurance Building.
2. Magdalen Tower and Oxford Close/General Theological Seminary and Church of the Ascension
Magdalen Tower is located in Oxford and was completed in 1509. It is part of Magdalen College which was founded in 1458.
Magdalen Tower and the Oxford model campus, where a quadrangle is centered around a close, served as the inspiration for General Theological Seminary’s bell tower, and accompanying Chapel of the Good Shepherd, and its overall campus design.
Check out our tour of General Theological Seminary to learn more about it
The Richard Upjohn designed Church of the Ascension was also modeled after the Magdalen Tower.
At the Church of the Ascension, President Tyler became the first president to wed in office
The tower of the Fourth Universalist Society was also modeled after the one in Magdalen College.
3. Hotel Carlton/Plaza Hotel
The 1899 Hotel Carlton, in London, was run by Swiss hotelier Ritz and demolished in 1957.
The Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel, which has served as a setting for in many novels and films including The Great Gatsby, was modeled after the Palm Court in the Hotel Carlton.
4. St. Martin in the Fields
St. Martin in the Fields is the eighteenth-century, James Gibbs designed, London church which abuts Trafalgar Square.
St. Martin’s served as a model for St. Paul’s Chapel, which is the the oldest surviving church building in Manhattan.
The Church has memorialized George Washington’s pew
5. Kew Gardens/New York Botanical Gardens
The Palm House, located at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, was the first large-scale structural use of wrought iron.
Lord and Burnham designed the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Gardens based on the Palm House at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew and London’s Crystal Palace.
Stay tuned for further articles in the series Inspired by Europe.