As construction began on the Irving Trust Building in New York City in 1929, the photographic firm of Irving Underhill, active since the turn of the century and specializing in views of New York and its vicinity, was commissioned to follow the project on a regular basis. Eight of the resulting contact prints – made expressly for the architects’ office, Voorhees, Gmelin & Walker, Architects – are part of the CCA Collection.

The photographs of the Irving Trust Building featured in Speed Limits (2009).

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This group is comprised of two separate sequences, both examples of serial imagery using a fixed camera-position, as in time-lapse photography. The first three pictures, taken from an elevated vantage point across Wall Street between 16 December 1929 and 16 January 1930, record the method used to erect the lower part of the structure which extends twenty-one metres below the street level.

The second image sequence, taken between 15 February and 1 August 1930, shows the rising structure as seen from the heights of Trinity Court Building, a twenty-five-story structure completed in 1927 behind Trinity Church at the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway. The perspective from the Trinity Court Building made it possible to encompass the whole of the structure within the frame of a single photograph and emphasize the prominence of the Irving Trust Building at the entrance to Wall Street.

Because the dates of exposure were systematically inscribed on the negatives, one could easily review the steady progress and efficiency of the builders, Marc Eidlitz & Son, throughout the eight months required to erect the structure and clad it in limestone.


New York