History

A Long History

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, New York’s municipal buildings were designed to impress, with an emphasis on architectural grandeur, even when the style was bizarre. After a period in the mid-1900s when quality and style suffered, we are now back again in the swing of good design. The picture above is the 1899 …

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Notre Dame

The latest news suggests that yesterday’s fire was not as bad as could have been. Cathedrals such as this embody the generational architectural and structural feats of the builders. Then they become the repositories of religious, cultural, and artistic meaning. Unique in all aspects, and sadly irreplaceable. It appears that significant parts of the physical …

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The Easiest Setting

That 1935 photo by Berenice Abbott shows the Chanin Building in all its glory. It’s a 1929 brick and terra cotta art-deco setback tower and deservedly both an NYC landmark and on the National Register. Of course, the photo isn’t about the beauty of architecture as much as it is a demonstration of what height really …

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Some More Thoughts On Ruins

I’ve talked before about “ruin porn” and my discomfort with the topic. I recently came across this seven-year-old essay on the topic: “The Unspeakable Pleasure of Ruins” by Rick Poynor. His thesis is that my misgivings are wrong, that there’s nothing wrong photos or other representations of ruins, regardless of the aesthetic intentions of the …

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