Our Research

More information on The Structure of Skyscrapers, my history of the development of tall-building structural technology put to 1900, is at the link above. Or click on the book cover below. More information on City of Brick and Steel, our guide to the structure of buildings in New York City, is at the link above. …

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Learning From The Defunct: It Doesn’t Work

This plate is, by far, the place I most violently disagree with Architectural Terra Cotta. Balustrades don’t have to be safety handrails – if they’re located somewhere where people don’t go, then they’re just decorations – but they have to be able to withstand some lateral load. Wind blows on them, maintenance workers may go …

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Learning From The Defunct: A Lot Of Parts

That complicated detail has a lot of steel to support a barely-usable balcony. Ever since steel framing in big buildings began in earnest – at the time of the publication of Architectural Terra Cotta, some 25 years earlier – people had used outrigger beams to support cornices, balconies and other projections. An outrigger – annoyingly …

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An Interesting Usability Bug

For those of you who came here this morning and found a blog post referring to a picture that doesn’t exist, here’s an explanation. This website is based on the WordPress platform, which I generally recommend. It’s easy to work with and allows both static pages and blog (or blog-type) sub-pages. Like all software, it …

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Learning From The Defunct: What Is Reality?

Today’s dive into Architectural Terra Cotta: Standard Construction is, on the surface, much simpler than yesterday’s. The plate has six ways to use terra cotta for a decorative door or window head. But, in my opinion, a closer look shows there’s multiple levels of fakery here, all in the good cause of presenting an aesthetically-pleasing …

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Learning From The Defunct: The Basics

I’ve lost track of how many historic preservation events, conferences, parties, books, and memes have used some version of “learning from the past” as a theme. There’s a reason that phrase has become a cliché: it’s a useful idea. New problems in architecture, engineering, and construction do exist, most commonly with regard to new uses …

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