Bowstring Trusses – The Weird

Wood bowstring trusses seem to fall into a gap in construction and engineering history. They are definitely not vernacular, in that some level of engineering design was necessary for their construction, but they were also not highly designed, and many details seem to have been left to the carpenters. The picture above is taken from …

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Bowstring Trusses – The Bad

Yesterday I talked about why one might want to build a bowstring truss; today, the opposite. Per a few questions that came up, I’m going to address the questions of identity – are these “Belfast trusses”? are these “lattice trusses”? – in “the Weird” post, coming soon. Some of the problems with bowstring truss roofs …

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Bowstring Trusses – The Good

This is a big topic, so my plan is to break it up as follows: today (The Good) I’ll talk about why people would build such oddball building structure as wood bowstring-truss roofs, tomorrow (The Bad) I’ll talk about why the extant roofs are a problem (with one example being their potential for outward thrust), …

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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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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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