Starchitects dressing up as buildings is not a new tradition, as one might assume from recent Halloweens, but rather a tradition that's been around as long as time itself. OK, maybe not time, but such a practice has definitely been going on at least since 1931, when this pic was snapped at the Beaux-Arts Ball in Manhattan. In a piece published in 2006, New York Times writer Christopher Gray described the affair as "one of the great parties of the last century," meant to "recognize the dawning of a new age of architecture and, coincidentally, the new age of financial gloom [The Great Depression]."
In an ad for the ball—tickets were $15 and promised admission to something "modernistic, futuristic, cubistic, altruistic, mystic, architistic and feministic"—the architects were described as creating a "tableau vivant of the New York skyline." That tableau—as in this photo—has been enlarged and now occupies one full wall of the lobby in the famed NYC Art Deco building that was just converted into luxury condos and renamed Walker Tower. Consider that a hint about, well, at the very least one of the architects depicted here: some of the buildings may be obvious, but can you guess who's wearing what? Answers below:
Left to Right: Stewart Walker (Fuller Building), Leonard Schultze (Waldorf-Astoria), Ely Jacques Kahn (Squibb Building), William Van Alen (Chrysler Building), Ralph Walker (1 Wall Street), D.E.Ward (Metropolitan Tower), and Joseph H. Freelander (Museum of New York).
· FAMOUS ARCHITECTS DRESSED AS THEIR BUILDINGS,1931 [Retronaut]
· A New Age of Architecture Ushered in Financial Gloom [New York Times]