Departmental Papers (Architecture)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

January 1995


Postprint version. Published in Practices, Volume 3/4, Winter 1995.


Under New York law, roof-top water towers are invisible. The terms of the code are not vague; the silhouette of a water tower and the shadow it casts are transparent to the zoning envelope and the sky-exposure plane. This is not, of course, truly mysterious; it results from the neglect of a small effect in the guarantee of sufficient light at street level. But water towers are invisible in quite another sense and this raises useful questions about architecture.



Date Posted: 15 August 2008

This document has been peer reviewed.