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The legacy of the atrium hotel

CityLab Daily

Delusions of grandeur: Stretching dozens of stories into the sky and filled with glass elevators, bars and restaurants, the massive atrium hotels brought cities indoors and promised a majestic spectacle like no other. "One would move through a set of functions and experiences as one might a city: from home, to garden, to urban plaza, cafe, and bar," wrote one architectural historian. 

The uniquely American design came in an era of urban crisis and decay in the 1970s and '80s, but it's since lost some appeal as U.S. cities staged a comeback, and streets once again beckoned with their own attractions. Even so, the building style was exported to the rest of the world where it continues to prosper.Today on CityLab, contributor Anthony Paletta explores how the atrium hotels became a globe icon.

-Linda Poon

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What we're reading

  • The epicenter: How the coronavirus ravaged a vibrant corner of New York (New York Times)
  • Trump's unfinished border wall faces uncertain future after Biden pledge to freeze construction (Washington Post)
  • The future of staying home (The New Republic)
  • The pandemic gives us a chance to change how we get around (Wired)
  • Rome to ban horse-drawn carriages from city streets (Guardian)

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