Wood

The Sawmill In The City

New York is known as a city of masonry and metals with its ubiquitous visible bricks, stones, decorative terra cotta, cast iron facades, and sheet metal cornices, which is why Old Structures Engineering has titled its guide to the structure of New York buildings City of Brick and Steel. Peering inside this book, just like peering inside …

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Hybrids

I participated this fall in the Skyscraper Museum’s “Fall Semester” lecture series. This was a series of virtual lectures and virtual discussion planned so that the museum could keep programming going while physically closed because of the Covid pandemic. The fact that I was doing this just as The Structure of Skyscrapers was released is …

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Functional And Sort-of Boring

For a very long time, the New York City Building Code has required that the portion of floor directly in front of a fireplace, somewhat confusingly called the hearth, has to be of non-flammable construction. That way, if sparks or pieces of wood fall out of the fireplace onto the floor, they don’t immediately start …

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Construction History: Problem Solved, But…

One of the great innovations in US building technology was the nineteenth-century development of balloon framing for wood construction. It was, in simple terms, the substitution of a great deal of industrial infrastructure in the creation of wire nails and regularized lumber 2xs and 3xs for the carpentry skill required to make mortised joints. The …

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An Extreme Rarity

That picture was taken in a theater attic. The diagonals on the upper right are portions of the timber-framed roof; the wall separates the auditorium area from the lobby. It’s the thing embedded in the wall that is rare and odd. In short, that’s the end of a long-span steel truss (over the auditorium, on …

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