Cast Iron

Adding Some Utilitas to the Venustas

The pictures above and below were taken on Astor Place. They are parts of the street facade of a loft building constructed for industry in the 1870s and long since converted to other uses. The vast majority of nineteenth-century American “classical” architecture isn’t. That’s not a critique, just recognition of the fact that the classical …

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Various Levels Of Authenticity

Those two old buildings are, as far as I can tell, 49 and 53 Worth Street, and I’ll explain the hedging later on. They’re listed in the Department of Buildings records, incorrectly, as having been constructed in 1915 – they are mid-1800s loft buildings most likely used at first as stores and/or warehouses. They are …

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Detailing, 160 Years Ago

That is the Hamden Bridge over the Raritan River in southish, western New Jersey. It was built in 1858 and is, unfortunately, gone since 1978. By modern standards it was quite small and to our eyes looks almost cute, but it represented a turning point in structural engineering in the US. Rational analysis of trusses …

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The Tell-Tale Heart On Nassau Street

Nassau Street is, even by the standards of lower Manhattan, narrow and crooked. Probably for that reason, a lot of old and small buildings have survived there. The building on the right, number 122, is a good example of such a survivor, with some moss on the brick above the storefront’s cornice, and steel plates …

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Historic Structural Detail: Iron and Wood

That beautiful girder-to-column connection is in an 1870s warehouse in the Bronx. The basics of it are quite simple: the two spans of girder are connected with a scarf joint, and sit on a cast-iron shoe that caps the column below. First off, there’s an interesting contrast here between the pre-fab, bulk-manufactured iron shoe and …

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