It’s Not Invisibility

Beautiful, isn’t it? What is it? It’s the joint between two sections of a fire-escape handrail in Brooklyn. Each section has a frame around its perimeter made up of small wrought-iron angles, which are bolted to the balcony framing below and to each other at these seams. So the angle on the left is part …

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Randomness Visible

Those pictures (click on them to enlarge them) were taken about six hours apart on the day of our last spring snowstorm. The truncated-cone roof is standing-seam copper and encloses an open, unheated mechanical space. If you look closely, you’ll see that the snow ends a bit short of the corner where the slope turns …

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Point and Counterpoint

In the recent discussion of wood skyscrapers (full disclosure: I think they’re a terrible idea) I have noticed any discussion of the extent of exterior maintenance necessary to prevent wood from acting like the biological material it is. A masonry curtain wall can go thirty years with no maintenance and not fail: a lot of …

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Brick Repetition

Some twenty years ago I described New York as the world’s largest laboratory for the destruction of brick. This view of midtown Manhattan gives a sense of why I said that. Except for a small amount of terra cotta and cast stone trim, and a stone balustrade off to the right, every inch of every …

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