Providence’s Superman Building Shines in Coffee Table Book

100 Spectacular Skyscrapers is a perfect gift for art deco architecture enthusiasts


The Industrial Trust Tower is an icon of the Providence skyline. Built in 1928 and clocking in at a modest 26 floors, it’s the tallest building in the state and housed banks for 85 years until it became vacant in 2013. Known as “The Superman Building,” it shares the nickname with a sister building in Los Angeles due to the resemblance to The Daily Planet in the Superman comics (though the LA building was actually used for a 1950s TV show). Now the historic skyscraper is receiving renewed attention: not only is the building undergoing redevelopment to become an apartment complex, but it’s also featured in an architectural collaboration between Philadelphia-based digital artist Chris Hytha and Pittsburgh-based skyscraper historian Mark Houser.

The project spotlights art deco skyscrapers from all over the US, and was started by Hytha after he realized that this type of historic skyscraper is often neglected, not taught in architecture school, and often tucked away in small cities, like Providence. Hytha used drone photography and digital art to capture the ostentatious crowns, and connected with Houser to write summaries of each building. Together, the duo created a book, Highrises Art Deco: 100 Spectacular Skyscrapers from the Roaring ‘20s to the Great Depression

But the collaboration is more than just documenting aesthetics; appreciating the history behind each building goes hand in hand with understanding its significance in time. “It’s all about power,” says Hytha. “There’s a whole series of events that goes behind the construction of a building. People faced struggles and risks, and skyscrapers were a technology that radically changed every single city.” Learn more at



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