Category Archives: Architecture

Architecture

Emery Roth : Wikipedia photo

Emery Roth

Emery Roth was a preeminent New York architect, best known for his luxury apartment buildings – most of which are landmarks. Indeed, he helped define the Central Park West skyline with seven major buildings.

According to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, Emery Roth was born in 1871 at Galzecs, Hungary. Orphaned at 13, he was sent to the United States. He first immigrated to Chicago and then to Bloomington, Illinois, where he apprenticed. Later he assisted with drawings for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. He moved to New York several years later, joining the firm of Richard Morris Hunt. In 1895, Roth opened his own offices and three years later, he bought the architectural practice of Theodore G. Stein and Eugene Yancey Cohen, which became Stein, Cohen & Roth. Soon after the turn of the century, Roth returned to independent practice, specializing in luxury apartment houses.

The Hotel Belleclaire (1901-03, 2171-2179 Broadway, a designated New York City Landmark) that exhibits elements of the French Beaux-Arts and Viennese Secession styles, is considered Roth’s first major work in New York City. In the 1910s, he experimented with the Art Nouveau style, and in the 1920s, his designs became more classically-inspired and often incorporated elements of the Art Deco style.

Emery Roth Representative Buildings
Emery Roth Recommended Reading

Manhole Covers

Talk about taken-for-granted details! The ubiquitous manhole cover is SOOOOO overlooked, no one has yet invented a politically correct (non-sexist) name for it.

It seems that most covers, these days, are made in India. How did China miss this market?

If you have a little time on your hands, go to Flickr and search for manhole covers – you’ll be amazed at the variety, artistry and imagination lavished on this lowly detail!

Faces of Brooklyn

Architectural ornament takes many forms – from modest moldings to elaborate scenes and figures within a pediment or atop a cornice. One of the most delightful ornaments is the mascaron or mask, which might be realistically human or fantastic or grotesque. These faces are generally terra cotta, and may be repeating (the same face used two or more times) or unique. They add character to buildings around the borough….

Faces of Manhattan

Architectural ornament takes many forms – from modest moldings to elaborate scenes and figures within a pediment or atop a cornice. One of the most delightful ornaments is the mascaron or mask, which might be realistically human or fantastic or grotesque. These faces are generally terra cotta, and may be repeating (the same face used two or more times) or unique. They add character to buildings around the borough….

Arch

ARCH: A load-bearing device used to span voids in walls or other structures. The arch works by redirecting its load so that the supporting material is under compressive stress instead of shear or tensile stress. Most building materials are many times stronger in compression than in tension or shear, so arches help designers build taller, lighter structures.

Arches are so important, one is tempted to believe that arch is the root of the word architect.

Mere coincidence. Arch is from the Latin arcus – arrow; architect is from the Greek architekton – master builder, according to my Webster’s. That’s altogether appropriate, because the Romans gave us the arch, but the Greeks gave us architecture as a science and profession.

Arches come in many forms, but the most important distinction, from the standpoint of architectural style, is whether the peak of the arch (crown) is curved (Roman, Romanesque, Romanesque Revival) or pointed (Gothic, Gothic Revival). There are also flat arches (having very slightly elevated crowns). Join a series of arches end-to-end and you have a gallery; join a series of arches side-to-side and you have a vault; join a series of arches rotated through 180 degrees and you have a dome.

Here are a few examples from structures in New York City.

Statues

Statues are part of the “built environment” of architecture; they help to define and decorate our spaces. Some statues are better known than their locations; some are so obscure you’ll only see them by accident. New York has plenty of both categories, which we will include. However, we haven’t gone on a statue-hunting expedition – these photos are incidental to other categories, so this gallery will continue to expand over time.

We’re using an arbitrary definition of statue here – a representation of a real person. Thus, we include Hans Christian Anderson but exclude Alice in Wonderland (who lives happily ever after within the Sculptures gallery).