Two Very Different Signs Of Age

It will come as no surprise to any engineer looking at that photo to hear that it was taken in a multi-story garage. What we’re seeing is the logical conclusion of water seeping through concrete (concrete is not waterproof, really) carrying road salt and causing accelerated rusting of the rebar in the concrete beams. Those …

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Nondescript And Once Semi-Famous

The two buildings in my photo have very different histories but are tied together by more than just being on adjoining lots. The taller building on the left is a the Home Life Insurance building, a mid-1890s skyscraper constructed on Broadway facing City Hall Park. There was a small building north (to the right) that …

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A Bad Idea

From the same stroll as yesterday, a row of wood-framed houses. I’m sure if I went looking I could find an explanation of the architectural style, but it feels like a shotgun marriage between the Italianate style so common with rowhouses in New York and carpenters’ gothic. They are slightly bizarre and quite pretty. They’re …

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Survival Illustrated

Human nature being what it is, it’s no surprise that photographers were wandering around San Franscisco in 1906, taking pictures and, in the example above, stereoscopic pictures. The picture above shows the ruins of several low-rise brick-bearing-wall buildings with the steel frame of an incomplete building in the near background. That stark contrast – the …

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The Anna Karenina Principle

Tolstoy began the novel Anna Karenina as follows: All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. This statement can easily be extended from fiction to reality and from family dynamics to other fields. In the case of forensic engineering, it might be phrased: all successful structures are alike; each failure …

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