Engineering

The Logic of a Block

The Statue of Liberty contains a wrought-iron frame designed by Gustave Eiffel, one of the finest engineers of the nineteenth century. It sits on…a block. A fancy block, as it turns out, with a fairly complex structural design, and an architectural design by Richard Morris Hunt. But a block. Most people in the US (and …

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The Logic of a Hybrid

The Manhattan Life Insurance Building at 66 Broadway is one of those early skyscraper that wasn’t something enough. It was the tallest building in the world for five years, taking the record from Chicago’s Masonic Temple and losing it to the Park Row Building, but somehow it’s barely remembered even among people who have some …

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Broadway-Chambers: A Cartesian Grid

The picture above, from the marketing book for the Broadway Chambers Building, is one of a sequence showing the steel frame as it was being erected. The first photo, showing columns just sticking up at grade, is dated October 26, 1899; the last regular photo is from January 18, 1900 and shows the frame topped …

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Broadway-Chambers: Still Worthy of Note

The marketing books for skyscrapers that I’ve looked at recently were for very tall buildings. The Singer and Woolworth Buildings were each the tallest in the world when they were built and their books were released; the City Investing Building was among the tallest. The Broadway Chambers Building, on the other hand, was far from …

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Ungainly On The Outside, But Pretty Bones

The level of ornament put on an early-1900s skyscraper like the City Investing Building can make it hard to believe that it’s all structurally supported by a steel frame. The picture above shows the Broadway entrance to the building, at the far eastern end of the long narrow neck of the building that leads to …

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