Engineering

Changing Expectations

When I talk about old skyscrapers, I feel like I have to remind people every so often that they may not all look like skyscrapers by modern standards. Some of them, particularly in the midwest, are about as wide as they are tall; their height in any city may seem underwhelming. There are two buildings …

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Low-Key Beauty

That’s a five-span lattice through truss carrying two railroad tracks. It’s got a less spectacular setting than a lot of the structures I’ve talked about, and the longest span is only 150 feet, so it’s much closer to “completely ordinary” than it is to “record breaker”, but honesty, who cares? People talk about structural beauty …

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Not Just Skyscrapers

The changes in structural technology that started with skyscrapers spread to shorter buildings. That sounds backwards, but the new technology was used first where it was badly needed, with the tall buildings that could only be constructed with great difficulty if traditional structure were used. As designers and builders became more comfortable with the new …

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Many Viewpoints

I’m not the only old-skyscraper geek out there. The Skyscraper Museum’s fall program, Rewriting Skyscraper History: Looking Back from the 21st Century is a series of lectures looking at various aspects of skyscraper history. I’m in there, giving a lecture on the topic of the how the changes in technology manifested in buildings. All of …

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