Internet Discussion: Oriel Chambers

I got sucked into a discussion about Oriel Chambers (photo above by Matěj Baťha), an 1864 office building in Liverpool with very open facades, starting here: First, obviously, Oriel Chambers is a fantastic building. Nothing I say here should be construed to mean that I think anything else. The word “skyscraper” is quite subjective, and …

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Literally Disconnected

The journal Carpentry and Building – later renamed Building Age for an era of fire-rated construction – published an interesting piece in 1893 about the construction of the (first) Grand Central Palace. The Palace was an exhibition building that was demolished for the construction of the new Grand Central Terminal and replaced by a much …

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Adding Some Utilitas to the Venustas

The pictures above and below were taken on Astor Place. They are parts of the street facade of a loft building constructed for industry in the 1870s and long since converted to other uses. The vast majority of nineteenth-century American “classical” architecture isn’t. That’s not a critique, just recognition of the fact that the classical …

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Window Tracery As Structure

When a structural engineer tells a colleague that they are working on a window restoration project, the colleague might say, “But windows are not a structural element in a building, other than keeping wind and weather out.” That statement is correct; if you remove the windows from a building, the structure still stands. However when …

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