July 2017

Three Thoughts In 285 Words

July 21, 2017

I read Doug Stowe’s blog regularly. There’s a pretty good size gap between his work and mine, but what he has to say is always interesting and he says it in a way that both informs and entertains. His July 4th post is a good example of why I read his blog. In a very small […]

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A Square Peg In A Square Hole

July 20, 2017

If you wait long enough, every aspect of a given technology will change. Square reinforcing bars used to be fairly common in concrete, but they’re long gone in design practice. Plain reinforcing bars, without surface deformations, used to be fairly common in concrete, but they’re long gone in design practice. Of course, just because we […]

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Floating Structure

July 19, 2017

It can be a little strange to read how outsiders see in-group activities that you are familiar with. This article in Core77 on the annual concrete canoe races sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers is aimed at industrial designers. It holds up the concrete canoe races as an example of combining hands-on experience […]

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Decorating Structure

July 18, 2017

The picture above is an oblique view of the Pearl Street bridge in the Brooklyn Bridge approach, showing the original (1880s) truss above and the newer (probably 1950s) arch below. As previously mentioned, one of the notable differences between the two eras is the type of steel member used: eyebar chains for the bottom chord […]

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Different Structural Forms Combined

July 17, 2017

Now that the weekend’s over, back to the Pearl Street bridge that is part of the approach to the Brooklyn Bridge. First, a minor correction to the first part of my street analysis of this structure: the original truss is not a double-diagonal warren truss. It’s a subdivided pratt truss, as some of the compression […]

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While I’m on the Topic of Flushing…

July 16, 2017

The top HABS photo is the Friends Meeting House on Northern Boulevard, constructed in 1694; the bottom HABS photo is the Bowne House, constructed starting in 1661. Both are within walking distance of my elementary school, which explains why I visited both several times on school trips in the early 1970s. At the time, I […]

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Flushing, The Center Of The World

July 15, 2017

The title of this post is less ironic than you’d think. Putting aside the transformation of Queens during the last few decades into the most ethnically diverse county in the country, my recent foray into Flushing’s history reminded me of the 1940s proposal, illustrated above, to turn Flushing Meadows Park into the home for the […]

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Different Eras With The Same Technology

July 14, 2017

There is so much going on in this picture that it’s going to take me two or three posts to cover it all. In case it’s not intuitively obvious to even the most casual observer* that’s a piece of the Manhattan approach of the Brooklyn Bridge, specifically the bridge over Pearl Street. The Brooklyn Bridge […]

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Mental Mapping

July 13, 2017

This article from the Architectural League on avoidance mapping is interesting in itself – it has a lot to say about what different people feel is important in their local environment – but it’s also interesting in what it has to say accidentally about how people see those environments. Some of the people interviewed have […]

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July 12, 2017

It’s hard to overstate the rapidity of New York’s growth in the nineteenth century. Just the bare facts of the census – Manhattan had 60,000 people in 1800 and 1,850,000 in 1900 – are astonishing. When you add in the construction required to provide housing, workplaces, and all the other functions of a city, it’s […]

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