Don Friedman

Miniatures Are Art, Too

The William Matheson Building doesn’t look like a skyscraper to most people today. It’s ten stories tall and the brick curtain wall carried on its steel frame is heavier than a modern curtain wall. Looking at it through the eyes of an average person in 1897, when it was completed, is a different story. In …

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Kids, Don’t Try This At Home

I first learned about the growth of the Tribune Buiding on Park Row reading Thomas A. P. van Leeuwen’s book The Skyward Trend of Thought. The fact that the book’s subtitle is “The Metaphysics of the American Skyscraper” tells you that it’s a polemic rather than a more straightforward history, which is fine. A lot …

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The Slender Approach

Here’s the best contrast I could find to the heavy bridge at Pearl, Illinois, I talked about recently. That’s the 1889 Smith Avenue High Bridge across the Mississippi River between St. Paul and West St. Paul, Minnesota. That 1905 picture does not give a good sense of the bridge overall – it had 28 spans …

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