Masonry

Starrucca and the Historical Sequence of Materials

I’ve talked in the past about metal railroad viaducts and wood railroad viaducts, so I guess I’ll round out the collection with masonry today and concrete tomorrow. That’s the Starrucca Viaduct, in northeastern Pennsylvania near the New York border, completed in 1848 for the main line of Erie Railroad. It’s entirely made of stone and …

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An Option

That’s a small commercial building in downtown Stamford, Connecticut. I was not trying for an arty photo, just angling so that the glaze on the architectural terra cotta could be seen. To be clear: the first floor storefront is black marble veneer, probably with brick behind it; the second, third, and fourth floors have terra …

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Not Just Mass Production

New York has an enormous amount of architectural terra cotta on building facades, mostly installed between 1900 and 1930, although use started earlier and ended later. To really get a handle on the phenomenon, you have to look at it more as a moment in the history of building technology than the history of architecture. …

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High-Quality Fakery

That’s a piece of the 30th Street side facade of the Wilbraham, an 1890 apartment house facing Fifth Avenue. (You can just barely make out part of the name in the fancy scrolled letters over the door.) It’s a bearing-wall building, and the north and south walls (the 30th Street facade is the south wall) …

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Similar In Appearance, Not Action

I’ve written little about the Eads Bridge in St. Louis, largely because it’s a well-researched topic and I don’t see that I have much to add. That said, the picture above shows an important aspect of not just that bridge, but many similar wrought-iron and steel arch bridges: they may be shaped like masonry bridges, …

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