A Good Lesson

A drawing in sharpie on the scaffold plank, explaining the problem with removing the balustrade sitting on top of a counterweighted masonry cornice. It’s likely that the mason or rigger who drew that never took a physics class; it’s also likely that they understand statics better than many people who have.

False Advertising

My stroll through the HABS/HAER index got me in one day from Fink Trusses to Flying Buttresses. That’s the Lafayette Square Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, built in 1879, changed to the St. John’s A.M.E. Church in 1929, and thankfully still there. It’s a very romantic Gothic-revival building, with one detail that nags at me. Here’s …

False Advertising Read More »

Unslender Skyscrapers

The picture above is a 1900 Detroit Publishing portrait of the Ellicott Square Building in Buffalo, an 1896 building with a full steel skeleton frame, designed by D. H. Burnham & Co. of Chicago. It’s still there, and it shows up in The Structure of Skyscrapers. Of course, to modern eyes, it doesn’t really look …

Unslender Skyscrapers Read More »

Analysis For Investigation 3

The examples of analyzing the structure of a building as you investigate that I discussed over the last two days were fairly straightforward in terms of calculations and were fairly forgiving in terms of accuracy. Today’s example is not, because it contains everyone’s favorite way to have numbers not work: non-linearity. If you look at …

Analysis For Investigation 3 Read More »

Analysis For Investigation 2

After yesterday’s long and somewhat esoteric discussion, a much more straightforward topic: what material is a beam? The piece of a photo above shows a metal frame being enclosed in masonry, where it will be hidden from view. How can you take an educated guess at the material (wrought iron or steel?; if steel, which …

Analysis For Investigation 2 Read More »

Scroll to Top