Weird Forms of Fame

The picture above shows a concrete industrial building in Hell’s Kitchen, from the pages of the Engineering Record in 1907. We know that building because we’ve been working on various pieces of it for about five years. When we work on a famous building, it’s no surprise to see it in the press, but we …

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Multiple Options

The picture above, which I’ve tentatively titled “Fifty Shades of Beige,” shows the exposed underside of the floor structure in a small commercial building from the 1930s. The building has a steel frame, and since a steel frame does not provide by itself usable floors, it has a floor system spanning between the steel beams. …

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Figurative Architecture

In broad terms, “form follows function” is symbolic. College dorms aren’t shaped like beds or desks; office buildings aren’t shaped like laptops or staplers. Sometimes the symbolism gets pretty close to reality, and I was reminded of that while walking up West Street yesterday to go to the APTNE holiday party at Pier 57. The …

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A Possibly Unneeded Distinction

While looking through the HABS/HAER index, the item “parabolic arches” jumped out at me. There are only five surveys with that keyword: the bridges over the New York State Barge Canal (the renamed and expanded Erie Canal) in the Genesee Valley Park in Rochester; the Sixteenth Street Bridge over the Piney Branch Parkway in Washington …

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Hidden Innovation

The page above, from “Apartment Houses of the Metropolis” says that the twin buildings shown – 616 and 628 West 137th Street – were the first concrete-frame apartment houses in New York. If so, they soon had company, as this book was published in 1908 and I know of at least one other concrete apartment …

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