Another Immigrant Architect

While the history and work of the Guastavino Company is well researched and documented, including the newest piece of literature recently published. Its title “Immigrant Architect” made me think of another, less successful, immigrant architect: John Comerma. John Comerma was also a Spanish thin-tile vault builder, yet he was not able to bend the American system to …

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Functional And Sort-of Boring

For a very long time, the New York City Building Code has required that the portion of floor directly in front of a fireplace, somewhat confusingly called the hearth, has to be of non-flammable construction. That way, if sparks or pieces of wood fall out of the fireplace onto the floor, they don’t immediately start …

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Failure Portrait: It Doesn’t Quite Fit

I haven’t done one of these in a while, partly because of the Covid-19 lockdown and partly because of the luck of the draw in which projects I’ve visited. I like this photo because the failure is quite subtle but also completely visible. That’s a piece of a stone-masonry facade, visible up close from a …

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