Thursday, October 27, 2011

Heated City of Abundant Life

This blog has previously addressed utopian views of future cities, and recently we came across a scheme designed by M. Mark Feldman and Olindo Grossi for the Exhibition Salon of various subsidiaries of the American Radiator and Standard Sanitary Corporation. Feldman and Grossi envisioned a future Sixth Avenue, New York City as a glass skyscraper-lined, terraced and heated artery:

"Buildings, built of glass that admits light without images, are set well back from the street and well apart to permit maximum light, and terraces, thus created, are utilized, according to district, for sports, restaurants, etc. All terraces are heated by individual reflectors.

"Street traffic is warmed by radiant heat plates that are worked into the architecture of the buildings just above the ground floor. The plates are flared at the corners to cover the space between buildings.

"Winter and summer sports are available simultaneously in all seasons since the reflectors, which are broadcasters of radiation in winter, become absorbers of heat in summer, or vice versa. Thus skating rinks are installed at the tops of the tallest buildings and other sports, such as swimming, tennis and bowling, below.


"In summer, heat from the sun is turned back from the glass buildings by metallic insulating reflectors that can be rolled in and out at each floor. In restaurants, theatres, etc., special metal backs for chairs and seats are used as an added means of transmitting and reflecting the radiant heat."

As reported in Pencil Points August 1937, pp. 49-50. Many issues of Pencil Points can be made available at Howard-Tilton Memorial Library through the Center for Research Libraries.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Field Trip: Oscar-Zero

North of Cooperstown, North Dakota on Highway 45 in Griggs County there sits the Oscar-Zero Missile Alert Facility that was once manned by members of the United States Air Force's 321st Missile Wing. Prescribing to George Washington's words that "to be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace," the missileers trained daily for a job they hoped they would never perform. . . releasing the country's arsenal of Minuteman missiles.

Decommissioned in 1997, Oscar-Zero is now a State Historic Site. Largely constructed of #18 rebars, concrete and steel plating, Oscar-Zero took two years to complete, from 1964-1966. Southern miners were transported to North Dakota to handle digging operations for this and other such launch facilities and missile silos. Both the silos and the launch control facilities had subterranean chambers with floating floors linked to enormous shock absorbers developed by Boeing. The steel was supplied by the United States Steel Company (aka The Corporation).

Oscar-Zero's two subterranean pods were protected by thick sheathing described in a previous post, as well as by enormous blast doors, one weighing 6,000 tons, the other 13,000 tons. The missileers stationed command posts in one underground chamber (shown above), while the second chamber housed equipment. Suggestive of the many hours spent underground, the pods are adorned with murals, graffiti, and wall paper depicting more idyllic tourist destinations.

Image above: Oscar-Zero Command Station, Griggs County, North Dakota, as photographed 21.10.2011 by K. Rylance.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

$50 House 1945

I was recently at the Midwestern Region Friends of Dard Hunter Conference at the Paper Discovery Center in Appleton, Wisconsin. The Discovery Center's permanent exhibition references a paper house designed for emergency shelter (fires, flooding, or other disasters) by the Institute of Paper Chemistry. With the exception of plastic windows and metal hardware, the house (shown above) was built entirely of recycled paper products.

The structure was erected in less than one hour by two men, using chipboard that was made from waste paper (newspapers, etcetera). A fortifying agent strengthened the chipboard against water and humidity, and the house was coated with a fireproof paint. The 8 x 16' structure was intended to safely house a family of four.

Paper houses were not completely new. In 1924, a Massachusetts mechanical engineer named Elis F. Senman designed a timber-framed paper house and its furnishings. It remains a popular tourist attraction. Read more here.

Read more: "Paper House Costs $50." Popular Science (March 1945): p. 85 available from Free E-Journals. [Image above from article]

Friday, October 7, 2011

Baptist Church & School

The Southeastern Architectural Archive recently received a donation of historic photographs associated with Swan Lake Plantation (aka Doss Plantation) located in Morehouse Parish, LA at Doss. They provide documentation of the tenant properties, Baptist Church and school. Handwritten notes accompany the mounted photographs, identifying each structure, its function, and the disposition of rooms . There are no descriptions or name identifications of the people who populate the images, and we are hoping that readers may be able to provide some of this information. Note in the image above the interrupted baseball game, as the fellow on the left sports a catcher's glove and the fellow on the right sports a pitcher's glove and a baseball.

The property was apparently purchased by David Washington Pipes (1845-1939), a Civil War Veteran who owned two cotton plantations, the Doss Plantation and Avondale. His son Windsor Pipes eventually took over operations at Doss.

Any additional information would be much appreciated!

Image above: Unidentified photographer. Swan Lake Baptist Church and School. Undated. Miscellaneous Photographs Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

19th-Century Obsequies

As the city of New Orleans observes funerary obsequies for former Archbishop Philip M. Hannan, it seemed timely to pull together images from earlier celebrations.

In December 1852, the city commemorated three deceased statesmen: John C. Calhoun (1782-1850); Henry Clay (1777-1852); and Daniel Webster (1782-1952). A temporary mausoleum was designed by A. Mondelli and erected in Lafayette Square (in the background of top image, shown above). M. Catoir devised the illumination for the square, so that the cenotaph could be bathed in light until 10:00 pm. Mr. Dubuque designed the funerary cart (top image above), which was some 11' long and 16' tall. Both the cart and the cenotaph were surmounted by an eagle.

In February 1878, the city observed commemorative funeral celebrations for Pope Pius IX -- fondly referred to in New Orleans as "Pio Nono" (1792-1878) -- and New Orleans architects James Freret and J.A. d'Hemecourt were commissioned to design the catafalque (middle image, shown above) and the funerary cart (bottom image, shown above). The Daily Picayune covered the events as well as the decorations and the music performed (21 February 1878).

Images above:

Top: Dubuque, designer. Funerary Cart for John C. Calhoun, Daniel Webster, and Henry Clay. 1852. Wood engraving by Stevens. From: A History of the Proceedings in the City of New Orleans on the Occasion of the Funeral Ceremonies in Honor of Calhoun, Clay and Webster…. New Orleans: Office of the Picayune, 1853. Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC), Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Bottom: James Freret & J.A. d’Hemecourt, architects. Catafalque & Funerary Cart for Pope Pius IX. February 1878. Graphite. James Freret Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.