Np rele BN ANSI GER Bis


VoL. HIl.]

Copyright, 1878, HovuGuTon, Oseoop & Co.

[No. 131.

BOSTON, JUNE 29, 1878.


SuMMARY : The Proposed Competition for Rebuilding the Patent Office. The Duty of the Profession in Regard to it. Charges Against the New York Superintendent of Buildings. The Superintendent’s Defence. The Necessity of Procuring and Maintaining Building Laws. Fall of a Warehouse Floor in New York. The Labor Question. Kearney’s Success in

California. The Boston Water Park cs aes . 221 How witt Evevatep Raitways arrect Ciry Streets?. . 223 Fire-Proor Construction, I. re 224 Tue ILLUSTRATIONS :— St. Alban’s Abbey from the Southeast.— Interior of the Nave of St. Alban’s Abbey. The Tower of Brattle St. Church, Boston. Jefferson Park Church, Chicago. Design for a Library Building. Country House . .% 225 Tue Frencu Exnisirion, IL . . 225 CORRESPONDENCE :— Letter from Minneapolis . F 226


Petrifying Liquid . . : oe ee oe a ae 22 Art, Scrence, ARCHITECTURE, AND LITERATURE 2 EpiroriaL Novices ae a ee ee ae ee ees: Norms amp CLIPPINGS ....++s«-eee i: Sees 22

Tue Secretary of the Interior has addressed to certain archi- tects in various parts of the country an invitation to unite, under assumed signatures, in a competition of designs for the restora- tion or alteration of the Patent Office at Washington. stated, the scheme of this competition embraces, first, a project for the restoration of the building substantially according to its condition before the fire, referring, we suppose, to the design- ing of a new fire-proof roof; second, a project for the conver- sion of the model-rooms, lately occupying the upper story of the north and west wings, into offices, and the addition of a model-room above the offices, or over the entire building, so contrived, however, as not to change its present exterior aspect, although designs for an additional architectural story to the facades may be submitted if desired; and third, a project for a new corps du batiment uniting the centres of the north and south wings, with elevators, etc. Line drawings are required and perspective illustrations permitted. The drawings are to be submitted before July 20th, and a committee of three skilled architects, to be appointed by the Secretary of the Interior,” is to examine the plans and recommend to the Department the award of the six hundred dollars appropriated for this purpose by Congress in three prizes of three hundred, two hundred, and one hundred dollars. ‘There is no assurance of the employment of any of the successful competitors to furnish detail working- drawings or to superintend the execution of the work as archi- tects.

We understand that the Secretary is already in receipt of numerous letters from the invited architects, declining to com- pete on the ground of insufficient compensation a very natural attitude for the more respectable members of the profession to assume, and one consistent with the most approved ideas of practice, as it is evident that the competition implies a large aggregate of unremunerated professional labor, hardly justified perhaps even to the winner of the first prize, unless the winning of it implies more than is evident in the scheme of the compe- tition. This proposition from the general government is re- markable, and in late years, at least, unprecedented. We are not informed why Congress selected this case of repairs and alterations as a fitting opportunity to try its first experiment in architectural competition, but it certainly seems to be an honest though in some respects an ill-considered scheme to appeal to the general profession for assistance in the decision of an un- usual but apparently not a very difficult question of architectu- ral design. ‘The invitation, therefore, as it may carry with it results ultimately of great importance to the profession and

Briefly |

serve as an illustration of the practicability of making use of |

competitions of designs for public buildings, as proposed, for xxample, in Mr. Schleicher’s bill (American Architect, June -, 1878), is not to be lightly dismissed through a too scru- pulous regard for customs devised and maintained to suit the



exigencies of private practice. It is true that the precedent is dangerous in several respects, especially in the matter of inade- quate awards, but if the response to the invitation proves to be one fertile in ingenious and profitable suggestions, the employ- ment of the profession, by some process of selection, at least in the designing if not in the construction of the buildings of the general government, would seem to be more clearly assured than if architects, in this trial case, stood aloof, exacting better and more honorable conditions. Doubtless many architects of good repute will consider it politic, therefore, to show what the profession can do in such an emergency as this and, after such showing, to demand in future cases its proper service and its proper pecuniary recognition. It is only through competitions of some sort that architects can ever have due share in the public works ; it is worthy of consideration, therefore, whether the establishment of a policy of competitions should not be en- couraged by the profession even at the expense of some sacri- fices in the preliminary experiments. Certainly the improve- ment of the national architecture by any proper means is an aim which may well demand the patriotic sympathy of the pro- fession.

Tue Department of Buildings in the city of New York seems now to be under fire.” An article in the New York 7imes of the 17th enters into an examination of the conduct of affairs in this Department while under the charge of the present Su- perintendent, Walter W. Adams, and, with much circumstance of facts and figures, charges him with submitting this important part of the public service to the baleful patronage of Tammany Hall, by increasing his force and his pay-roll from time to time in accordance with the needs of politics, and by subdividing his office into three Bureaus, one entitled the Bureau of Inspec- tion of Buildings,” another, the Bureau of Violations and Ap- plications,” and the third known as the Bureau of Fire Escapes and Iron Works,” each requiring an extensive appa- ratus of clerks and inspectors. The article charges that the appointment of these inspectors is in the interests of party and not of sound building; that they are not practical architects, house carpenters, or masons,” who have passed an examina- tion before the Board of Examiners,” as required by law, but politicians and the friends of politicians, and the expenses, under this system of reorganization, have increased three or four fold without a corresponding increase in the*needs or efficien- cy of the Department. The specification of malfeasance with which the public is most immediately concerned and which most vitally affects the efficiency of the Department seems to be that referring to certain buildings now erecting in the upper part of the city, which are sixty-five feet deep and fifty-five feet high, and yet, contrary to law, are separated by party walls only eight inches thick; also drawing attention to Hale’s Building” in Thirty-sixth Street, which, sixty feet wide in front, forty-eight feet wide in rear, and eight stories high, is yet allowed to be built without the cross wall required by the act; and also to two theatres in the Bowery, lately built, which are stigmatized in general terms as man traps.”

THESE serious charges encounter a specious and prompt re- buttal in the New York Evening Post of the same date, in- spired by the Superintendent himself. He is charged with rais- ing the expenses of his office from $30,000 per annum in 1875, when he entered upon his duties, to $126,000 in 1874, $106,000 in 1875, $89,000 in 1876 and $91,000 in 1877. He maintains that the expenses for these years were respectively $114,000, $95,000, $75,000 and $75,000; and that to contrast these figures with the $30,000 appropriated in the last year of his predecessor’s service is unjust, because, on account of “a con- test” between said predecessor, Mr. James M. Macgregor, and the Comptroller, the appropriations for that year were re- duced to an abnormal figure, a statement which seems to be sustained by the fact that the appropriations for the five previous years were respectively $60,300, $69,300, $136,000, $181,000 and $87,000. The Superintendent, in meeting the other charges in detail, enters into an explanation of his conduct of the office, maintaining that the variation in the number of his subordinates has been governed by the direct needs of the service, because of special general examinations, such as that of warehouses and storehouses ; that his pay-roll contained names of men of both parties, and that the inspectors of fire-escapes were placed on his


222 The American Architect and Building News.

[ Vou. III.— No. 131,

pay-rolls as messengers (who by the law are not required to pass all eXamination), because men fit for this service could be ob- tained for one half the amount properly charged by skilled me- chanics who are no better suited for ‘this especial duty. The specific charges relating to alleged neglect in the supervision of certain buildings, as before noted, are explained by the state- ment that the plans for the buildings with eight-inch party walls, after having been rejected by the Department, were submitted by the owner td the Board of Examiners, which is composed of the Superintendent himself, of ten members of the Mechanics’ and Traders’ .xchange, of one member of the Board of Under- writers and one member of the American Institute of Architects, and that the Board, under the law, allowed the thin walls in this case, because the two buildings referred to were together

not more than 25 feet wide and because a single building of

this width can be legally constructed with only outside walls and wooden partitions. The case of Hale’s Building, which was charged with being erected without cross walls, is explained by the fact that it is in reality two buildings separated by a brick wall from top to bottom, one building 66 feet wide extending from street to street being divided by a cross wall, the other 84 feet wide and only 41 feet deep having girders substituted for

cross wall by especial permission of the Board on account of the comparative shallowness of the lot in this part. As to the |

theatres in the Bowery the Superintendent maintains that as the twelve-inch walls are enforced by buttresses 20 inches by 24

inches at intervals of ten feet, and as the proscenium arch is of

brick and carried up to the roof, and as in one case there are three staircases inside and one outside, and as in the other the entire front is open for exit, and as both buildings are furnished with separate entrances to the dressing-rooms, the requirements of safe construction are fulfilled according to the definitions of the law. This statement is followed in the Hrening Post of the 21st inst. by a personal rejoinder from Mr. Macgregor, the

former incumbent of the office, denying many of the facts, |

figures, and arguments stated in defence, but leaving untouched several charges which the present official appears to have re- futed in his letter, notably the specific charges relating to the buildings.

On the whole it is a very pretty quarrel as it stands, and doubtless there will be much more of it. Apparently, however, there is an element of malice in the charge against Mr. Adams ; but however this may be, the public safety, constantly im- perilled by imperfect buildings and by minute evasions of the

law, requires the Department of Buildings in every great city |

to be held to a very strict accountability, and it is better for

this service to be stung to vigilance by a constant and jealous

scrutiny of its details, even to the extent, we think, of oc- |

casional injustice and unreasonableness in the fault-finding, than to be lulled to carelessness and inefficiency by the appearance of public indifference. A municipal administration like that of Baltimore, which, as we have seen, needs the admonition of a few more fatal accidents from unrestrained habits of bad build- ing, before it will accept the definitions and requirements of sound construction embodied in a law, slumbers while the enemy is at the gates. But a city which enjoys the protection of the necessary building laws and neglects to watch the ad- ministration thereof, and to perfect them by all necessary amend- ments, is also asleep, and, according to the doctrine of chances,

not the sole cause of the accident. It is said that that portion of the floor that did fall did not give way in one mass, and it is a supposable case that the brickwork of the arches had become so weakened by the vibration of the heavy machinery, which is said to cause oscillation throughout the whole building, that one of the least well-laid arches gave way; one arch gone the others would instantly follow, destroyed by their own thrust, and in this way some unsuspected strain may have been brought to bear on the girder and so have caused its fall. At present the only hy- pothesis advanced is that the floor was overloaded. In this event the accident was criminal, but can hardly be punished, for as was explained lately by our New York correspondent, the law that was framed for the purpose of preventing accidents from overloading, by making it compulsory on owners to post in plain sight a statement of the safe load that a floor can carry, has been rendered almost inoperative by the decision of the counsel of the Building Department, who rules that the storehouses contem- plated in the law in question are only those where goods are stored in unbroken bulk.

At a Socialistic meeting last week in St. Louis, the following resolve was passed: “That we favor a system that will equalize the wages of all persons employed by the city of St. Louis, so that the men who work on the streets and public works gener- ally shall be paid equal wages with the mayor or any other officer of the city.” When the habits of the men who profess such doctrines are considered, the next resolution does not seem so absurd, declaring as it does that the bell-punch will “add im- mense burdens to the already overburdened industrious classes of society ;” from which we are to infer that it is the indus- trious and sober man, and not the drinker, who has to pay scot. Those who have witnessed the magnetic power of an earnest and eloquent demagogue in the presence of such inflammable material cannot but fear that, if Kearney carries out his threat of making a starring tour through the East, he may ob- tain a dangerous following among scatter-brained enthusiasts, who, though perhaps few in number, are able when assoeiated with the discontented and reckless to give much trouble. Con- gress, which has appointed a committee to consider, during the recess, these labor troubles and the causes of the present finan- cial depression, has in intention acted wisely ; but as these ques- tions involve considerations which lie at the roots of society, considerations which can be revealed only to statesmen and scholars, and are far too delicate for the coarser manipulations of party politicians, we cannot but fear that the new investiga- tion will leave these dubious skies as lowering as ever.

Ir there are to be labor troubles in this country, indications

| seem to point to the far West as the place where they will first

break out, for here, because of the competition of the Chinese, the grievance of the workingmen is as real as it is anywhere, while the laws of society are less strictly enforced. The hood- lum clement is a large factor on the Pacific coast, and the army,

| the moral effect of which in the face of a popular outbreak is

the tragedy which will murder this sleep im either case is in-

evitable sooner or later. Therefore we cannot entirely con- demn the spirit of criticism, even if harsh and over-strict, upon the administration of this essential part of the public service. Ir, during the current year, there has been no one startling building accident which has caused great loss of life, there has been an unusual number of fatal accidents where the loss of life

eve greater than its physical strength, can, according to the recent act of Congress, no longer be used as a posse comitatus to assist in quelling disturbances, and if it could be thus used it seems likely to be so occupied with the Indians that it cannot be concentrated in a time of emergency. On Wednesday week an election was held in California to select delegates to a conven-

| tion which is to be held for the purpose of revising the State | Constitution, and the returns show how real is the strength of

the Kearneyites, as the communists are there pretty generally


| called. In numbers the agitators are in the minority, but they

has not been great. These have been mainly preventable acci- |

dents. ‘The latest fatality of this nature took place on Saturday last in a furniture warehouse in New York, where the failing of an iron girder in the seventh floor of the iron-fronted building, 190 Mott Street, precipitated upon the floor below four or five tons of broken material, and caused the death of one man. It

were enabled to bring to the ballot-box a solid organized vote, which naturally prevailed over the six distinct tickets by which the great majority of the citizens had divided their strength. It is not surprising, therefore, that Kearney’s followers carried San Francisco and some other places.

IN a recent issue our Boston correspondent criticised the

competitive plans for one portion of the proposed system of

speaks well for the strength of the building that the sixth floor |

withstood unharmed the shock of so heavy a falling mass, The fallen floor, like the others in the building, was a brick-arched floor, the arches resting on floor beams, which in turn were sup- ported by iron girders twenty feet on centres. The manner in which the floor fell leads us to suspect that overloading was

parks for that city. This system,as we have explained (Amer- tcan Architect for June 17,1876), is to embrace several features, the most attractive of which is, perhaps, the water-park, which is to be laid out om the bank of Charles River, in the rear of the houses on the northerly side of Beacon Street. As orig- inally proposed, this was to be made by building a new retain- ing-wall two hundred feet outside of the old wall, filling in the

The American Architect and Building News.


JUNE 29, 1878.]



space thus reclaimed, and laying it out with an avenue sixty feet wide and a bridle-path thirty feet wide, separated by trees and shrubbery, and with gardens and an esplanade outside of all. | This, so far as it went, was good, but it was obviously not mak- ing the most of the great natural advantages of the situation. Fortunately. before anything has been done, the wastefulness of a half-way measure has been seen, and at the petition of the city of Boston the State Legislature has passed a resolution which allows the following modification of the scheme: The re- taining-wall is to be built three hundred and twenty-five feet outside the present wall; and of this width the two hundred feet next the river will, as before, be appropriated to the driveway and water-park, while the remaining width will be occupied bya range of houses which is to be built on this new land, and which will form a fit architectural background to what is really a fine river front, and by a street which will separate them from the houses now backing on the river. It is to be expected that the present residents of the Beacon Street houses will strenuously oppose this annihilation of their most valued privilege, but we trust that the influence of a few may not prevail against the ad- vantage of the many. The new intercepting sewer being laid | under this new park will prevent any further pollution of the river water by inflowing sewage, and in view of this fact the Land Commissioners, with whom the matter rests, propose to remove, by dredging, the flats that now fill so much of the river basin abreast the city, and which at low tide are so fertile a source of noisome odors. ‘The basin in this case will be filled at all tides with water, which will gradually become more and more pure as the new sewerage system allows the harbor water to become purer, and the river, then receiving only the pollu- tion of the towns higher up stream, will once more be available for pleasure-boats and swimming-baths. One feature of the scheme, however, cannot but meet with disapproval, and that is

the proposition to use the muck and sludge dredged from the |

river basin as a filling behind the wall. This is doubtless the cheapest and easiest way of getting rid of the stuff, but, for ob- vious reasons, it is not the wisest, from either a sanitary or financial point of view. People in these days will not build upon a foundation which is in any respect suspicious.


Ir is too soon to judge clearly of the effects of the elevated

railways on the streets on which they run, but there may be

useful suggestions to be got by considering some of their obvious |

tendencies. The absolute depreciation or appreciation of abut- ting property will depend on the balance sults. Whether the ultimate value goes up or down, there will necessarily be changes in the use of the streets, and the final level at which it settles will depend in a great measure upon the address with which advantages and disadvantages are seized upon or parried by the abutting property owners.

Some of the effects are in the nature of things easy to see. Obstruction of the roadway of the streets is inevitable. This is a minimum in the narrower streets, where the elevated way covers the road from sidewalk to sidewalk, and the piers are set in the line of the curb-stones. It is greater in the wider streets, which it divides by a row, or two rows, of piers through- out their length. Added to this is a certain amount of annoy- ance from the noise and confusion of passing trains, the ob-

of various smaller re- |

effect is possible till the observer climbs to the second story of the houses.

The result of all these things is, especially in the narrow streets, that the roadway under the track assumes more or less the character of a tunnel, but noisy and dusty with the passing of trains on the trestle-work overhead; the sidewalks are, as it were, in trenches between a high viaduct on one hand and the lower stories of houses on the other; these lower de- prived of a part of their light and submerged below the level of the through-traffic, begin to seem like basements ; light, cheer-


| fulness, the sense of the open air, and architectural outlook are

relegated to the upper stories of the houses.

These disadvantages must tell heavily against streets over which the elevated railways run, even though they may be coun- tervailed more or less by the advantage of passengers brought into them. At the same time, if the railways really solve efficiently and conveniently the problem of quick transit they must be frankly accepted and made the best of. ‘The public exigency on this point is imperative, in New York at least, and individual convenience must give way. It remains for the own- ers of buildings on such streets to turn to their advantage as far as possible the natural tendency of the new order of things, not to struggle uselessly against it. Now whether the value of the abutting property rises or falls on the whole, it is pretty sure that the relative value of first and second stories must change, and second stories rise in importance as compared with ground floors. As the lower stories become more like base- ments the problem will naturally be to enhance the value of the stories above. A second story with steam trains rushing to and fro before its windows may not seem very attractive, but it will have at least the advantage in sunlight, air, and outlook over those beneath it. To make the most of these advantages the desideratum would be to lift the current of foot-passengers, or at least one class of them. to the level which the railway pas- sengers have already reached. That it is practicable to do such a thing we have the evidence of what has been done elsewhere, though not on such a scale as would be necessary in a city like

New York. The so-called Rows of Chester are a famous ex- ample. ‘These are a series of open second-story galleries lining

the principal streets and taking the place of sidewalks, being tunnelled out, as it were, in the face of the buildings, built out over them and under them.

supported on posts.

which are The upper stories are In like manner a footway raised to the level, or nearly so, of the second floors in the streets that are most hampered by the elevated way, made continuous by bridg- ing the cross-streets, and accessible by frequent steps from below, might go a good way to redeem them by bringing the lighter

| business up out of confusion and dusk into sunlight and air.

struction of light and air, the falling of cinders and of some rubbish, and a small perhaps in the end very small —element of anxiety due to the increased chance of accident. ‘These things might not tell for much, except by the actual obstruction of the roadway, in streets given up to heavy traffic, but they must in those which are used for retail shops and by private | carriages. The same causes will naturally produce a like ef- fect on foot-passengers, especially upon men and women engaged | in shopping. ingly from increase of noise, loss of light, and the air of sub- mersion which comes of having a roadway above them. Re- tail trade is confessedly coy, and to women especially, on whom | it greatly depends, noise, cinders, and gloom are decided de- terrents. Architecturally, the injury is serious. ‘The elevated ways are now deformities, though this may be remedied when experience warrants making them permanent. But unless the streets are of very exceptional width their architecture is ab- solutely wiped out. No building can be seen from its own base, nor, with the railway in the air between, can one be seen | from the roadway or the opposite sidewalk. No architectural |






The shops themselves must suffer correspond- |

| sidewalks, if it could be avoided.

In Chester there is no footway below; the cabs and carriages drive directly up to the doors in the lower stories, and the pedes- trian must go down and up again every time a street is crossed. These conditions, which do well enough in the busy English market-town, would be intolerable in the thoroughfare ofa great city. But in New York we have the sidewalks on the street level, and though a foot-passenger might not be tempted to climb to a higher level if he could only walk a block at a time when he got there, yet if he could walk a half mile, or a quarter, or even two or three blocks continuously, with access at every cross-street, he would be very likely to prefer the upper walk to the lower.

It would be undesirable, however, to improve the~ second stories of the buildings by still further deteriorating the lower, as would be done by carrying an upper gallery over the existing The natural way to avoid it would be to retract the upper footway behind the lower. This would take out its width from the depth of the second stories of the buildings ; but the sacrifice would be more than made up in the advantage of access to them. The upper stories might be built forward over the second, in which case the galleries would be covered, like loggias, and open only on the front. They would then resemble the arcades that are so prominent a feature of some of the fashionable streets of Paris, and of many Italian cities, notably of Bologna, excepting that they would be lifted one story above the ground, This method would be most de- sirable when the streets were so wide as to keep the railway at a considerable distance from the windows, or when land was so valuable as to make room in the upper stories very important. Another way would be to retire the whole front of the build- ings above the ground story. ‘This would, in streets of ordinary width, probably be the better treatment. It would give both

: : |

—— ~ o-oo


294 The American Architect and Building News.

[Vor. II. —No. 181

lower and second stories the full benefit of all the light and air |

that was accessible, would add effectively to the width of the

streets without corresponding sacrifice, and would give the |

aspect of a street of honses standing upon terraces. Carried out in either way this device would increase the capacity of the streets in the most efficient way, by classifying

the uses of them. We should then have on the upper plane, in |

the middle the rapid transit line for through passengers, sufli- ciently isolated, and on a level with it and in easy communication a range of shops for lighter and more elegant traffic, well aired and lighted, raised above the dust or wet of the street below,

and served with a continuous and accessible foot-way. Below we should have what we have now, the wagon traffic occupying

the roadway, shops and warehouses for heavier or less aspiring business, and the sidewalks for those who frequent them. ‘There would be the inconvenience of mounting or descending from one current to the other, but in these days of elevators this is less felt than it used to be. Given the occupation of the streets by the railway, we are inclined to think that this arrangement would make as good an account of it as could reasonably be looked for, and that the whole result would be far from deplorable. The effect would be practically to raise that part of the city by one story from the bottom instead of the top. The tendency to extend buildings upwards and downwards is already most

New York it is common to have two underground stories, and there are sometimes three; to lift them one degree would be no less than a charity. The upper range of shops and offices which we have suggested would, we think, prove much more attractive than those below them ; these in their turn would be a vast improvement on the basements whose uses they might take, as the basements would be on the sub-basements they might supersede. The advantage of being able to receive and deliver goods at one level, while show windows and customers are kept undisturbed at another, is one not to be overlooked, and for which comparatively few buildings have a compensation in a back entrance.

Architecturally considered the change would have some very inviting aspects. It is hard to say which is the finer feature in building, a range of upper arcades built over and open to the air, or a series of architectural terraces, the houses standing back and rising high above them. both are among the most imposing means of effect at the architect’s command, especially when filled with moving people, and both are thus far abso- lutely untried in this country. It is true that then, as now, the railway would be in the way, but the most interested part of the dwellers and passers would be lifted above it, and the view of a street so situated, from the upper foot-way on either side, might be made finer than anything New York has yet to offer.

The ditliculty would be, of course, to get such a scheme adopted, for it would require concert. Men do not readily agree in such radical changes unless they are compelled to them by circumstances. The sacrifice of room for a fvot-way from the second stories, if these are to be made accessible, is not to be spoken of lightly, but it appears to be necessary to get the full benefit of the remainder. The requisite remodelling of the buildings would have to go on gradually. Some legal diffi- culties as to rights of way and ownership might arise, but they could be provided for. If a sufficient combination should be made to try the experiment with a block or two, we believe that it would, by its success, warrant others in continuing it. The need of some such radical adaptation to the new order of things is likely to show itself soon. Brooklyn already talks of following New York in her scheme for quick transit, and if the present experiment succeeds other cities will in due time imitate it. It must necessarily change the conditions of streets over which the railway passes, and the welfare of those streets will depend on the readiness of their proprietors to meet the new conditions. We could find examples in most of our older cities of quarters which have every natural advantage, and yet have become worthless because their owners or the public have

yielded to accidents of growth or of fashion, and for want of

enterprise or invention to parry a temporary disadvantage have

let them lapse into degradation. How far this new use of

streets will work in this way remains to be seen. ‘The resort we have suggested is one by which we think it can be turned to

advantage. It would be well if the importunate pressure of

business, which does so much nowadays to disfigure our cities, could be made the inspirer of a finer treatment of them than we have seen before.


No material used in building construction, except brick or burnt clay, is practically fire-proof. A building constructed of incombus- tible material throughout, and stored with only small quantities of combustible and inflammable matter, can be considered fire-proof. Warehouses for the storage of miscellaneous merchandise cannot, with our present knowledge, be constructed absolutely fire-proof ;

| we can only apply devices that diminish the danger by confining and

localizing the conflagration. Generally, public places of amusement, churches, schools, offices, or dwellings, do not contain so much in- flammable matter, such as furniture, ete., as to materially injure or endanger the safety of the building when properly constructed. Warehouses, when stored with inflammable matter, even if con- structed entirely of brick, but without precautionary, sub-dividing walls, forming compartments, will succumb to the heat, by reason of the great expansion causing a movement of the walls and ultimate collapse of the floor arches.

All constructive iron-work in buildings, except those having small quantities of combustible furniture in them, should be protected from the direct action of a fire by some fire-proof and non-conducting coating, securely fastened to the member it is intended to protect.

The maximum temperature of a vigorous fire, raging in a building fed by combustible and inflammable matter stored therein, may be correctly assumed at 2,000°, equal to that in brick furnaces. It is

| found that the strength of iron is diminished about 66%, when at a

% . Bes | dull red heat, or a temperature of 977° ; at this temperature, iron- characteristic of our large cities. In the crowded parts of |

work proportioned to three times safety, would be at the point of failure. We will compute, approximately, the time required in rais- ing to 977° the temperature of a cast-iron plate one foot square and one inch thick, representing the side of a square column. The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of the plate to 977° is, the specific heat of cast iron being 0.13 units, and the weight of the plate 40 pounds, 977° & 0.13 & 40 = 50,804 units. The conducting power of the plate, under the existing circumstances, is 233 (2,000 977) = 238,359 units per hour, and as we have only 50,804 units to conduct, the time will be 894; = 0.213 hours = 13 minutes. If the plate be protected by a layer or coating of ordi- nary plaster, one inch thick, the amount of heat conducted will be only 3.86 (2,000 977) = 3,949 units per hour, or 585,94 = 13 hours longer; when protected by 4} inches of brickwork, only Soma) =1,100 units per hour will be conducted, or 5jf =46 hours longer.

Buildings stored with large quantities of inflammable matter may have cast-iron columns of square cross section, of the necessary di- mensions to carry the superimposed weight, with skew-backs cast on, for supporting brick arches between the columns that carry the floors; the column is enveloped by 4} inches of brickwork, as a

| protecting layer only. This method, shown by Fig. 7, admits a con-

siderable reduction of the size of piers from those built of brick only; for example: The height of a pier is 18 feet, and the weight to be carried 100 tons; a cast-iron column 10 inches square, with thickness of metal 1 inch, will carry the weight with eight times safety; 41 inches of brickwork will increase the size of pier to 19 inches. A solid brick pier, allowing 70 pounds per square inch as

. - . . . ie 7v a7

its safe resistance to crushing, will carry only ~;3~ = 12.7 tons.

To support a weight of 100 tons, the pier would have to be yin x 200 Tox i

19.91 = 4! 6!’ square.

It is asserted that iron is unsuitable for fire-proof construction, by reason of its failure when exposed to a certain degree of heat. That this is so is of course admitted ; but, nevertheless, it is the only ma- terial at our disposal suited to modern requirements ; and the ar- chitect will meet with more satisfactory results in devising means and methods for its protection against the destructive effects of fire, than by discarding it.

“Columns or girders of wood resist the destructive effects of fire much longer than if made of iron exposed. The necessary dimen- sions, however, except for comparatively light structures, are such as to make the use of wood for those purposes impracticable; for example : A column of oak 18 feet high and one foot square will support with safety 25 tons, while a hollow, cast-iron column, one foot square and one inch thickness, of metal, will support 119 tons. So, also, will a beam of yellow pine 15 inches square, 15 feet span, and uniformly loaded, carry 16 tons, while three 15-inch light rolled iron beams, lying side by side and occupying about the same space, will carry 69 tons.


I divide fire-proof buildings into three classes :—

Class J. embraces those structures in the construction of which only incombustible material ig used, and all constructive iron-work is properly protected against the action of fire.

Class 11. embraces those structures into the construction of which incombustible material enters, but the iron-work ot protected by fire-proof and non-conducting coatings. Suitable for buildings not containing so much inflammable matter as to injure or weaken the

| iron in case of fire.

1 A paper by F. Schumann, C. E., read at the last annual convention of the Ameri- can Institute of Architects.




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