The Fifty-Nine Story Crisis

Up Resources


  1. Introduce the history behind the Citicorp tower in Manhattan, its design, and the events that lead to major refurbishing of the building in 1978. .

  2. Describe the major protagonists in the 1978 affairs, review their actions, and analyze them in light of engineering Codes of Ethics, legal requirements, and moral theory.

  3. Review Joe Morgenstern's account of the affair in the "New Yorker" and discuss issues that were omitted or under-emphasized in his narrative.


  1. An assignment of the Joe Morgenstern article to the students; students prepare a list of protagonists, divide the timeline to "scenes", and define the major event within each scene.

  2. A lecture discussing the 1978 Citicorp tower affair.
  3. An assignment on the ethical questions and the alternative courses of action available to participants in the affair.


  1. Lecture for discussion (2 hours).