Henry N. Cobb comments that he will use his lecture to talk about his tower projects, as well as reflect on his career. Recalling Robert Venturi’s idea of the “double-functioning element,” Cobb describes architecture as both dream and function.
Cobb describes a series of early towers, and then focuses on Boston’s John Hancock Building. Cobb talks about the existing site conditions of neighboring Copley Square, as well as the political motivations that shaped the project.
Cobb contrasts the muteness of tower forms with the verbosity of signage. He discusses his intention to manipulate the cube into a form that changes shape as the observer moves around it. Cobb argues that skyscrapers meet the ground, not the sky, and looks for the typology to change from portraying authority to portraying diversity.