Masonry

Learning From The Defunct: It Doesn’t Work

This plate is, by far, the place I most violently disagree with Architectural Terra Cotta. Balustrades don’t have to be safety handrails – if they’re located somewhere where people don’t go, then they’re just decorations – but they have to be able to withstand some lateral load. Wind blows on them, maintenance workers may go …

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Learning From The Defunct: A Lot Of Parts

That complicated detail has a lot of steel to support a barely-usable balcony. Ever since steel framing in big buildings began in earnest – at the time of the publication of Architectural Terra Cotta, some 25 years earlier – people had used outrigger beams to support cornices, balconies and other projections. An outrigger – annoyingly …

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Learning From The Defunct: What Is Reality?

Today’s dive into Architectural Terra Cotta: Standard Construction is, on the surface, much simpler than yesterday’s. The plate has six ways to use terra cotta for a decorative door or window head. But, in my opinion, a closer look shows there’s multiple levels of fakery here, all in the good cause of presenting an aesthetically-pleasing …

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Learning From The Defunct: The Basics

I’ve lost track of how many historic preservation events, conferences, parties, books, and memes have used some version of “learning from the past” as a theme. There’s a reason that phrase has become a cliché: it’s a useful idea. New problems in architecture, engineering, and construction do exist, most commonly with regard to new uses …

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