Washington Arch NYCCC’s Anastasia Bakogianni met with Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis on location in The Graduate Center at City University of New York to talk about the impact of  Greek and Roman models on the architecture of New York City. In the city famous for its skyscrapers there are a number of buildings, arches, columns and other monuments that display the influence of classical culture.

Elizabeth tells us about her recent work on the Washington Arch located in Washington Square Park and explains the reasons why a Roman model was chosen to mark the celebrations for the one-hundredth anniversary of the inauguration of the United States’ first President, George Washington (30 April 1789). The arch, the first Roman-style arch in the United States began life as a temporary edifice, but such was its popularity that it was made permanent thus enshrining the relationship that the new Republic wanted to forge with the Roman Republic of old. New York City also embraced another Roman institution that of the military procession and adapted it to its own needs to celebrate not only military achievement, but also sporting victories.

Other New York landmarks such as the Stock Exchange and a number of banks borrowed their style from ancient temples because they were seen to embody desirable qualities such as strength, stability and tradition. Elizabeth also reveals that some New York buildings such as the Bankers’ Trust Building might appear modern, but are actually a combination of ancient and modern elements. American architects appear to have conceptualised their city of skyscrapers within ancient frameworks.

Follow this link to watch our interview!