Last week Rizzoli published Kathryn E. Holliday’s Ralph Walker: Architect of the Century, and this particular marriage of book and publisher is quite fitting. The legendary Italian publishing house was founded in 1929, just as Walker, across the ocean in New York, was in the midst of a groundbreaking run that saw him design such iconic Art Deco masterpieces as the Barclay-Vesey Building, the Irving Trust tower (now simply known as One Wall Street) and the New York Telephone Company building at 212 West 18th Street. The latter is now Walker Tower, renamed in honor of the pioneering architect, and undergoing an extensive restoration and renovation into 50 luxury residences.
This is the first book dedicated to the life and career of Walker, who was proclaimed “architect of the century” in a 1957 New York Times headline. Last spring, a public exhibition on Walker was held inside Walker Tower, based in part on materials pulled from this book. (Author Kathryn E. Holliday was in attendance and held a book-signing at the opening night reception.) The book covers Walker’s entire life and career and includes a passage on Walker Tower, a great example of Walker’s “humanistic” approach to architecture, which called for texture and ornament in design to uplift city dwellers. To purchase a copy of the book, click here, and head on over to the Walker Tower website for more on the building’s history.