Historic Structural Detail: Elegant Steel

I was on site yesterday, reviewing the conditions exposed in an 1890s building after the interior-finish demolition complete. At an upper floor, there was an opening about eight feet wide in an interior brick bearing wall; rather than have a steel lintel that spanned the full distance, there was a steel lintel supported in the …

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Without Walls

The defining feature of skyscraper is that a structural frame* carries all of the loads imposed on a building by gravity, wind, and earthquakes – usually called a skeleton frame. The phrase “curtain wall”, which long predates the construction of skyscrapers and meant simply a wall not carrying interior floors (as in a fort), was …

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Another Road Trip: Terra Cotta

I found myself recently in downtown Ann Arbor, looking at the First National Bank Building. My first reaction was “Look! A cute baby skyscraper!” (In my defense, this was the day before New Year’s and I was in a relaxed state.) The building was well designed and has been well maintained. The terra cotta skin …

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Road Trip

My family went to New Hope, Pennsylvania this past weekend for a trip on the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad. Much fun was had riding on the oldey-timey train, but my attention during our walk across to New Hope from Lambertville, New Jersey was grabbed by a well-preserved Pratt truss bridge. [Click to enlarge.] Our work …

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