Connected and Interconnected

The late 1920s picture above, from an unidentified building in Washington DC, was taken in an odd location. The gable roof above is a skylight. The plane that looks like the floor is actually a “laylight,” which is glass that looks like a skylight but is not. Typically, laylights are located below skylights, as seen …

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Practical Implications

In some circles, “curtain wall” has become synonymous with “glass facade” but that’s not what it means. A curtain wall is simply a wall that does not carry structural load for the building as a whole. Saying that it does not carry any structural load would be wrong, as it carries its own weight (usually …

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A Different Take On History

Above, a dramatic view of the Woolworth Building in 1938, from Berenice Abbott’s “Changing New York” Project. There may be a version without the “Rough Proof” stamp, but I didn’t see it. This angle catches the sunlight on the windows, not just where the flare is, but the entirety of the four left window lines, …

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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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