Construction History: Summer At The Beach, Part 3

There’s an odd intersection of structural engineering and entertainment, and not just for amusement park rides. The picture above shows the Steel Pier in Atlantic City around 1904. It is one of the big amusement piers that are scattered around the world, usually at beach or resort towns. Piers, for the most part, are industrial …

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Construction History: Summer At The Beach, Part 2

When the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin hotels opened in the 1990s, there was some discussion about their decor, which departed from traditional hotel design with, among other things, a fair amount of figurative ornament and statuary. They were, however, following in a long tradition of summer-resort architecture ranging from overly ornate to bizarre. The …

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Construction History: Summer At The Beach, Part 1

Since the full heat of summer is now here, and we’re in the traditionally slow week heading into the July 4th holiday, I’m going to spend some time looking, with an engineering perspective of course, at some of the strangeness constructed along the beaches. Not this kind of strangeness, though: No one was going to …

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Construction History: Summer In The City

I’ve used the picture above before, in discussing the Gillender Buidling, the remarkably slender skyscraper in the middle of the frame. But there’s a detail there that gives a window into the past and perhaps makes a point about the future: the window canopies. Not only are there canopies on the older low-rise office buildings, …

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