Technology

Necessary But Weird

There was something of a boom in the 1890s and 1900s for the construction of “fireproof storage warehouses.” They were used by any number of of people for any number of purposes, but their most important use was for document storage. In those days before computers, before microfilm, and before xeroxing, every white-collar business created …

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Resurgence Almost 400 Years Later

New York will soon have off-shore wind turbines for electric power. Three areas are set for development: two off the entrance to the harbor and one to the east, past the east end of Long Island. People have successfully developed solar power in the our area, but between the reduced direct light in winter and …

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Democratization and Architectural Blinders

The postcard above, a 1906 painting based on the Detroit Publishing Company photo below, started two completely unrelated trains of thought. First, as I discovered while doing the research that led to The Structure of Skyscrapers, an interesting thing happened starting around 1895. The cat was out of the bag on the technology behind steel-frame …

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The Modern World, 1914

The south Bronx building above is a milk processing factory, more specifically the “Sheffield Farms Milk Plant” at Webster Avenue and 166th Street. The building has a reinforced-concrete frame – still fairly new technology at the time – and curtain walls of terra-cotta and brick. The most interesting thing about it is the degree to …

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