CRYSTAL PALACE: HISTORY OF IRON

CRYSTAL PALACE: HISTORY OF IRON

NYC SoHo Green Street

NYC SoHo Green Street

Fire burned down architect Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace. It was built in London’s Hyde Park to house The Great Exhibition of 1851, the first all glass and iron modular structure built at the time of the Industrial Revolution.

U Tube Crystal Palace fire: http://yhoo.it/1Sup13R

Crystal Palace Lithograph

Crystal Palace Lithograph

In the 1850s, the cheapness and availability of cast iron led James Bogardus of New York City to advocate and design buildings using cast iron components. Cast iron could be cast into a wide array of shapes and designs, allowing elaborate facades that were far cheaper than traditional stone carved ones. These facades could also be painted in desirable colors. If you’ve been to New York City, you’ve seen and know the elaborate neo-classical and Romanesque designs.

The designs were used pervasively on commercial and industrial buildings. Surviving examples in SoHo and Tribeca areas of New York are vast. One of the most intact ensembles in the American West can be seen in the Skidmore/Old Town Historic District, a National Historic Landmark, in Portland, Oregon. In the old cities of the southern United States, the use of cast-iron in architecture was popular in the 1800s. Cast iron columns had the advantage of being slender compared with masonry columns but capable of supporting similar weight. That saved space in factories and other kinds of buildings like theaters, churches and synagogues.

However, cast iron has some architectural weaknesses. It is strong in compression, but weak in tension and bending. Its strength and stiffness deteriorate when subjected to high heat, such as in a fire. In the early era of the industrial revolution cast iron was often used in factory construction, in part owing to the misconception that such structures would be fireproof. Inventor William Strutt pioneered this innovation, building a number of industrial buildings using cast iron supports. Cast iron was strong enough to support the heavy machinery but was vulnerable to the frequent fires that would occur in such factories.

Dee Bridge Tragedy

Dee Bridge Tragedy

Cast iron was also used in bridge construction for the new railway system, sometimes with horrific results, especially when cast iron girders were used instead of arches. Engineer Robert Stephenson (not the author) built a bridge over the river Dee, mistakenly adding wrought iron trusses to strengthen the structure. This led to the Dee bridge disaster of 1847, which killed five when the bridge collapsed.

Tay Bridge disaster

Tay Bridge disaster

Following the disaster, such trussed bridges were demolished and cast-iron was replaced with wrought iron composite beams formed by riveting sheets together, and then steel rolled beams when steel became available in the late 1860s and 1870s. Cast iron continued to be used in railway under bridges, and there were a number of serious failures involving loss of life. The most serious accident occurred in 1879 with the Tay Bridge disaster when the center part of the bridge collapsed in a storm as an express train was passing over. The whole train was lost with more than 75 passengers and crew. The weakest parts of the bridge were cast iron lugs holding tie bars in place, and cast iron in new bridges was effectively abandoned after the disaster.

In the late 19th century modern steel was developed, and it proved more suitable than cast iron for structural and support purposes. Many of the innovations of the cast iron period were carried over to the new steel frame buildings, and were essential to the development of the modern skyscraper. But in 2001, the disasters of the World Trade Center proved that structural steel melts under intense heat and fire. We are reinventing the wheel over and over.

Thank you to Wikipedia for components of this blog.

Are you familiar with those 19th century architectural Victorian works in your hometown?

 

 

 

MARCH OF THE PAST: ST. AUGUSTINE

MARCH OF THE PAST: ST. AUGUSTINE

Casa Monica twin towers

Casa Monica twin towers

The Casa Monica Hotel, its history and culture flaunts the visitor to St. Augustine, Florida, where the city is celebrating the past 450 years. The Spanish founded it in 1513, but by1564 the French took over, only to step back in1565 when the Spanish arrived again. They conquered the French garrison on the St. Johns River and held the coast of Florida. The garrison remains, and you are welcome to walk on the grounds of those that came before.

Horse & buggy ride popular

Popular are the horse & buggy rides

The architecture of the Casa Monica, built in 1888, and very much part of the history of this city, was the best of Moorish and Spanish designs. Built to serve as a hotel, it opened January 17, 1888. Franklin W. Smith, amateur architect and entrepreneur developed the poured coquina (shell aggregate) concrete and built the Casa Monica in a layered type of construction.

Ambience of the dining areas

Ambiance of the dining areas

According to my research, what makes this work of architecture interesting is that the material was first used to build forts in St. Augustine in the 16th century. The coquina is made of ancient shells bonded together to form a type of stone similar to limestone. The idea was that because it was a soft material, cannon balls would sink into it, rather than crash through it. I have to wonder about that philosophy, but that’s what I found when researching this material.

Guest room

Guest room

The hotel is recognized as one of the most impressive public architectural complexes of the late nineteenth century of American history.

Street view

Street view

Located on the corner of Cordova and King Streets, Casa Monica is a U-shaped building with five towers, some battlemented, some with hip roofs, where all sides slope gently downwards to the walls. The large corner tower boasts a superb exterior spiral column. There are small hotel shops at street level on King Street.

casa_monica_2013_35When it was built in 1888, balconies were numerous, some with turned spindle posts and small balconets, which in Seville were called Kneeling Balconies, allowing the faithful to kneel during religious processions.

IMG_2664 (3)Tiles, imported from Valencia, Spain, were set in panels in some of the exterior walls. Inside, on the first floor, many rooms were arranged for the pleasure of the guests; sun parlor, drawing room, ladies waiting room, main dining room and private dining rooms. IMG_2637 (8)Three hundred guests could be seated at one time. There were 200 rooms, gas lighting, steam heat and electric bells to call for service and one bath on each floor. Metal rings were attached to the walls under the windows and tied to a rope long enough to reach the ground in case of fire.

Typical fashions

Typical fashions

Casa Monica has gone through growing pains in its 128 years. By 1900 the hotel was converted into an apartment building; in the 1920’s, it served as a low budget hotel. And in 1932, the depression forced its closing and it was idle for thirty years.

Casa-Monica-Hotel-St-Augustine-FL-Nights-of-LightsIn 1962, it was used as a courthouse; by 1997, it was sold to Richard C. Kessler and then restored. Today, Casa Monica is an elegant, upscale luxury hotel, and is included in Marriott’s Autograph Collection. The building has kept its architectural and interior Moorish character. The interior is flanked with mahogany columns, Moorish arched doorways, stenciled beams and wall sconces. The furnishings, gleaming chandelier, fountain and numerous palms and ferns give it that Victorian ambiance.

Casa Monica is listed on the National Register of Historic places and recipient of the AAA Four Diamond Award.

Fort photos

Fort photos

florida+st+augustine+sp+fort matanzas_cannon_5x3 st_augustine_fort_8 st-augustine-fort

Services in the Casa Monica are exemplary, including the bellmen and parking garage attendants. Thank you goes to  Kayley at check-in and to Holly and Tarrah at check-out. A special thanks to the Assistant Front Office Manager, Matthew.

Our room had strange sounds. Imagine? But I slept well. It wasn’t until the morning . . . when at the bar . . . I met Mr. Parrish . . .

Tune in for more next week . . .

 

 

BARN CONVERSIONS

BARN CONVERSIONS

Raise your hand if you live in a converted barn. Not a new house that’s made to look like a barn, but an old nineteenth or early twentieth century converted barn. The old post and beam construction. I have some images for you to peruse.barn destruct to paint barn home1images barn house 2 barn house interiot 1 barn house rear1 barn house Thin-joint-construction-between-portals1 barnhouse 4The first one is my favorite. It is called deconstruction. Don’t be surprised if you see it in one of my paintings. LOL, really. The one that looks like it is under construction is being turned into a boutique office barnhouse 3&silobuilding.

There are some designs and workmanship that defy time. Some were built in the 1850s. They make intriguing transitions to the 20th century. These barnhomes are located in different areas across the country, and as you can see, can be quite handsome. Each one creates an entirely unique home and are usually the focus on the land that was farmland years ago. The images on the left are of a 2,450-square-foot home with 2 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. The image below still has its silo. Imagine a wrought iron circular staircase in the silo, like one in Sherlock Holmes detective stories. That staircase twisted at every turn, and took you into spooky, dark places, like old dusty libraries.

Do you have any friends that live in a converted barn? What do you think they smell like? Animals, timber, cedar, what?

THE DELIGHTS OF DESIGN: 17th CENTURY ENGLAND

THE DELIGHTS OF DESIGN: 17th CENTURY ENGLAND

Oliver Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell

Cromwell was not a hero, but he is known for his religious fanaticism and his influence that changed England from industrial and artistic growth to stagnation.

Charles I, the King and Cromwell’s adversary, was tried and executed in 1649. The English civil war was a time of great destruction of ecclesiastical and private property that was followed by the Protectorate under Cromwell.

The trial of Charles I on 4 January 1649.

The trial of Charles I on 4 January 1649.

Art had been associated with corruption, immorality, and inefficiency. A ban was placed on everything that had any appeal to the senses during Cromwell’s rule 1649-1660.

In 1660 the monarchy was restored, and Charles II was called to the throne. Charles and Louis XIV of France were cousins. Charles loved the dreamy, romantic styles of the French King—in his reaction to the repressed and subdued spirit that had prevailed during Cromwell’s Puritan Protectorate, he endeavored to imitate the lavishness and extravagances of the French court.

Bakery

Bakery–A Twenty-First Century replacement

The Great Fire of London began on the night of September 2, 1666, as a small fire on Pudding Lane, in the bakeshop of Thomas Farynor, baker to King Charles II. At one o’clock in the morning, a servant woke to find the house aflame, and the baker and his family escaped, but a fear-struck maid perished in the blaze.

Great Fire of London 1666

Great Fire of London 1666

Detail of the Great Fire of London by an unknown painter, depicting the fire as it would have appeared on the evening of Tuesday, 4 September 1666 from a boat in the vicinity of Tower Wharf. The Tower of London is on the right and London Bridge on the left, with St. Paul’s Cathedral in the distance, surrounded by the tallest flames.

Advertisement for a comparatively small and manoeuvrable seventeenth-century fire engine on wheels: "These Engins, (which are the best) to quinch great Fire; are made by John Keeling in Black Fryers (after many years' Experience)."

Advertisement for a comparatively small and manoeuvrable seventeenth-century fire engine on wheels: “These Engines, (which are the best) to quench great Fire; are made by John Keeling in Black Fryers (after many years’ Experience).”

This disastrous fire that destroyed most of London gave impetus to the construction of new homes, public buildings and churches. Sir Christopher Wren, architect, as the leading influence, designed St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

St Pauls London

St Pauls London

Wren was strongly influenced by Palladio, the Italian architect. Palladio’s work was strongly based on the symmetry, perspective and values of the formal classical temple architecture of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Charles II supported the art industries, as well as French and Flemish craftsmen.

Daniel Marot canopied bed

Canopied bed designed by Daniel Marot

Daniel Marot, French architect, came to England upon the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Issued on 13 April 1598, by Henry IV of France, it granted the Calvinist Protestants of France (also known as Huguenots) substantial rights in a nation still considered essentially Catholic.

It’s told that 40,000 French weavers came to England at that time.

Do you know any other great occurrences that came from fires?

To be continued . . .

State bed engraving designed by Daniel Marot for Louis XIV of France

State bed engraving designed by Daniel Marot for Louis XIV of France

TRABEATED, STONES AND THRONES

TRABEATED, STONES AND THRONES

Temple Precincts on the banks of the Nile

You are looking at Upper Egypt on the banks of the Nile River, with its ruins of the Temple Amon, built by King Tut after he took the throne, ca.1332BC-1323BC in the conventional chronology. The ruins, excavated in the 20th century, are huge, though nothing remains of the houses, palaces, and gardens surrounding the Temple. Since people always want more space, It was added onto over the centuries, expanding the temple area.

The exteriors of these areas gave important information to future generations about structure and design. What works and what doesn’t.

Stonehenge inside facing

At first, buildings were supported by vertical and horizontal elements. What you might know as post and beam, could be wood, could be stone, as in Stone Henge shown here. Technically this type of construction is known as Trabeated construction.

Trabeated construction: column and beam

In the image with the columns,  aesthetic elements in carvings of various designs have been cut/incised into the columns. We were and are still seeking the aesthetics.

Tutankhamun, King for only ten years, died at nineteen after a short reign.

King Tut's throne. Carving on back he & his sister-wife

He reigned long enough to change the direction of idol worship in his country. In my blog last week (http://gailingis.com/wordpress/?p=1862),  Samson died a pauper’s death, unlike Tutankhamun whose regal properties were buried with him.This young man, affectionately called King Tut, made an aesthetic difference in his kingdom. He not only had temple architecture designed and built, but he influenced the design of furnishings, to this

day. We still create chairs that mimic Tut’s throne. All were discovered in 1922 in his well-stocked tomb.

This iron and brass chair, with a leather seat and back, is a 19th century design taken from King Tut’s throne. This is still being made today, and with many variations. It was popular in the French Directoire period under Napoleon.

Do you have a throne? Would you like to have a throne, or would a simple chair suffice? Have you ever wanted to visit the pyramids?

THE STORY OF A COUNTRY HOUSE

THE STORY OF A COUNTRY HOUSE

Fallingwater Falls

My history blog on chairs to be continued… I digress  to share this amazing country house with you.*

Most of you know I am an ardent lover of architecture and enjoy writing, viewing and speaking architecture.

Fallingwater Entrance

I would hope you might enjoy this story and perhaps experience the recently restored country retreat, two hours out from Pittsburgh, in Bear Run, PA. The retreat was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, (FLW), and built for his client Edgar J. Kaufmann between 1936 and 1939. Fallingwater instantly became famous, and today it is a National Historic Landmark.

The Kaufmann family summer camp home was a small cabin with no heat and no running water. They slept outdoors in screened porches. The cabin stood near a country road.  When traffic became noisy after the road was paved, the Kaufmanns decided it was time to build a more modern vacation house.

Frank Lloyd Wright

They turned to FLW to design it for them. At the time, their son was fascinated with Wright’s ideas and was  studying with  him at Wright’s school, the Taliesin Fellowship.

The Kaufmanns, who had recently become interested in modern art and design, also were intrigued by Wright’s ideas, and asked him to design a new vacation house. They knew that Wright loved nature, as they did, and Wright knew the Kaufmanns wanted something special at Bear Run, something only an innovative architect like himself could design.  He knew they loved the waterfall. He decided to make it part of the new house.

When the Kaufmanns first looked at Wright’s drawings, they were surprised! They thought their new house would have a wonderful view of the falls. But instead, with the house right on top of the falls, it was difficult to even see them. Frank Lloyd Wright told the family he wants them to live with the waterfall and not just to look at them now and then.**

Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr., the owner of the land, worked with Frank Lloyd Wright, and often had volatile synergy between them as they made their contributions to the creation of the most celebrated house in American History. The design and construction was challenging causing turbulence between the two.

Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, working, living, shopping. What do you think about shelter? Shelter that provides environments for your lifestyle?

To be continued…next week.

In the meantime…Fallingwater remains the residential treasure of our time, and it awaits and welcomes those who wish to see and enjoy its magnificence. It is the most complete work of Frank Lloyd Wright accessible for viewing. Fallingwater is available to the public today because of the excellent maintenance, preservation, and operation by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, (WPC) and it awaits your experience and enjoyment.  For information go to www.paconserve.org or call toll-free 1-866-564-6972.

*AIArchitects Online Magazine
**Wikipedia

 

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