Architecture

Construction History: Elephants At The Beach

The picture above is Lucy, an elephant-shaped building in Margate, New Jersey, near Atlantic City. Lucy is one of the few truly odd attractions from the early days of American seaside amusement parks to survive until now, and achieved a second fame over a century after construction. The important, and mildly unbelievable stats: constructed in …

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Broken Chains

The Statue of Liberty is, thanks to Emma Lazarus’s poem “The New Colossus,” mostly associated with immigration to the US. That’s fine, but it’s unfortunate that a different original meaning has been largely lost. In the words of William Evarts, the chair of the American Committee for the statue, speaking at the dedication of the …

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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 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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