6. Hugh Ferriss

“New York Daily News Building” (1930) by Hugh Ferriss. Via Wikimedia Commons from Dover Publishing.

Ostensibly, Hugh Ferris (1889-1962) was a delineator, a person who created architectural renderings for proposed buildings, rather than an “artist.” Although his skyscraper drawings were done as commissions from architects, he executed his renderings with an artistic touch that made them a cut above the usual. The St. Louis native began his career working in the office of architect Cass Gilbert, where he created renderings for the Woolworth Building. He soon struck out on his own and worked with many firms.

Ferriss’ subjects included the News Building in Midtown, an Art Deco icon, and the proposed but unbuilt Convocation Tower at Madison Square Park. Both typify his strengths, including using depth and shading to give buildings three-dimensional character and providing rich atmospheric settings.  The Convocation Tower piece also shows the neighboring Metropolitan Life Tower, demonstrating that he was equally adept at illustrating existing buildings.