1916 Zoning Resolution

first zoning regulationsZoning Resolution of 19161916 Zoning Act1916 zoning code1916 zoning ordinance1916 zoning ordinancesfirst comprehensive zoning schemefirst zoning lawsintroduction of zoning restraintsNew York City's zoning laws
The 1916 Zoning Resolution in New York City was the first citywide zoning code in the United States.wikipedia
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New York City

New YorkNew York, New YorkNew York City, New York
The 1916 Zoning Resolution in New York City was the first citywide zoning code in the United States.
The 1916 Zoning Resolution required setbacks in new buildings and restricted towers to a percentage of the lot size, to allow sunlight to reach the streets below.

Equitable Building (Manhattan)

Equitable Building120 BroadwayBankers Club
The zoning resolution reflected both borough and local interests, and was proposed after the development of 120 Broadway (the Equitable Building) in Lower Manhattan.
This contributed to the adoption of the first modern building and zoning restrictions on vertical structures in Manhattan, the 1916 Zoning Resolution.

Setback (architecture)

setbackssetbackset back
It was a measure adopted primarily to stop massive buildings from preventing light and air from reaching the streets below, and established limits in building massing at certain heights, usually interpreted as a series of setbacks and, while not imposing height limits, restricted towers to a percentage of the lot size.
It resulted in the 1916 Zoning Resolution, which gave New York City's skyscrapers their typical setbacks and soaring designs.

Hugh Ferriss

Hugh Ferris
Architectural delineator Hugh Ferriss popularized these new regulations in 1922 through a series of massing studies, clearly depicting the possible forms and how to maximize building volumes.
In 1916, New York City had passed landmark zoning laws that regulated and limited the massing of buildings according to a formula.

Floor area ratio

plot ratioFloor Space IndexFAR
The new zoning solution used the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) regulation instead of setback rules.
One of the purposes of the 1916 zoning ordinance of New York City was to prevent tall buildings from obstructing too much light and air.

Seagram Building

Seagram's Building375 Park AvenueSeagram
The Seagram building by Mies van der Rohe with Philip Johnson, and the Lever House by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill introduced the new ideas about office building with open space.
In 1961, when New York City enacted a major revision to its 1916 Zoning Resolution, the nation's first comprehensive Zoning Resolution, it offered incentives for developers to install "privately owned public spaces" which were meant to emulate that of the Seagram Building.

Lever House

The Seagram building by Mies van der Rohe with Philip Johnson, and the Lever House by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill introduced the new ideas about office building with open space.
The 1916 Zoning Resolution, which required skyscrapers in New York City to have setbacks as they rose, was designed to prevent new skyscrapers from overwhelming the streets with their sheer bulk.

The Metropolis of Tomorrow

The Metropolis of Tomorrow, with essay by Carol Willis.
Ferriss proceeds to describe and diagram the evolution of the setback principle for skyscraper design, in which he likens the architect's work to a sculptor working with clay, and argues that New York City's zoning laws are actually a blessing in disguise to architects as they all but mandated the adoption of the setback principle.

Lower Manhattan

Downtown ManhattanLowerdowntown
The zoning resolution reflected both borough and local interests, and was proposed after the development of 120 Broadway (the Equitable Building) in Lower Manhattan.

Massing

architectural formmassmasses
It was a measure adopted primarily to stop massive buildings from preventing light and air from reaching the streets below, and established limits in building massing at certain heights, usually interpreted as a series of setbacks and, while not imposing height limits, restricted towers to a percentage of the lot size.

Edward Bassett

Edward M. BassettEdward BassetEdward Murray Bassett
The chief authors of this resolution were George McAneny and Edward M. Bassett.

Urban planning

Planningurban developmenttown planning
The 1916 Zoning Resolution had a major impact on urban development in both the United States and internationally.

Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower

Williamsburg Bank BuildingWilliamsburg Savings Bank TowerWilliamsburgh Savings Bank
"By the end of the 1920s the setback skyscraper, originally built in response to a New York zoning code, became a style that caught on from Chicago to Shanghai," observe Eric Peter Nash and Norman McGrath, discussing the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building, which rose in isolation in Brooklyn, where no such zoning dictated form.

Brooklyn

Brooklyn, New YorkBrooklyn, NYKings
"By the end of the 1920s the setback skyscraper, originally built in response to a New York zoning code, became a style that caught on from Chicago to Shanghai," observe Eric Peter Nash and Norman McGrath, discussing the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building, which rose in isolation in Brooklyn, where no such zoning dictated form.

Art Deco

art-decoArt DécoArt Deco architecture
The tiered Art Deco skyscrapers of the 1920s and 1930s are a direct result of this resolution.

International Style (architecture)

International StyleInternationalInternational-style
By the mid-century most new International Style buildings had met the setback requirements by adopting the use of plazas or low-rise buildings surrounding a monolithic tower centered on the site.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Mies van der RoheMiesianMies
The Seagram building by Mies van der Rohe with Philip Johnson, and the Lever House by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill introduced the new ideas about office building with open space.

Philip Johnson

Philip C. JohnsonJohnsonPhillip Johnson
The Seagram building by Mies van der Rohe with Philip Johnson, and the Lever House by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill introduced the new ideas about office building with open space.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Skidmore, Owings and MerrillSOMSkidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
The Seagram building by Mies van der Rohe with Philip Johnson, and the Lever House by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill introduced the new ideas about office building with open space.

Standard State Zoning Enabling Act

The Standard State Zoning Enabling ActStandard Zoning Enabling Act
* The Standard State Zoning Enabling Act

Architecture of New York City

Buildings and architecture of New York CityArchitecture in New York CityNew York City
The 1916 Zoning Resolution required setback in new buildings, and restricted towers to a percentage of the lot size, to allow sunlight to reach the streets below.

Ely Jacques Kahn

Kahn & JacobsBuchman & KahnKahn and Jacobs
Many of his numerous buildings under the 1916 Zoning Resolution feature architectural setbacks to keep the building profitably close to its permitted "envelope" and have been likened to the stepped form of the Tower of Babell; a notable example is his 1400 Broadway (1931).

Early skyscrapers

skyscraperearly skyscraperfirst skyscraper
Combined with an economic downturn, this led to the introduction of zoning restraints in New York in 1916.

Chrysler Building

Chrysler405 Lexington AvenueChrysler Building, Ground Floor Interior
The 1916 Zoning Resolution restricted the height that street-side exterior walls of New York City buildings could rise before needing to be setback from the street.