Photo Credit: RovingRube
02 November 28
Dwarf columns, Great Jones Street 

Digital re-interpretation "Time Cafe Distortion" by
John Shiflet





(Photographer's Notes Below)

Dwarf columns, Great Jones Street 

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This is a landmarked 1888 commercial building by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh.

Fig.1 shows similar columns executed in a red stone (all rest on gray granite bases).

Fig. 2 are some spindly cast iron columns helping to frame the windows. The Rube heard that the first columns were made of wood, and their proportions were determined by the strength of that material. Then when stone came in the builders kept these same proportions for a while, until they realized that stone was stronger and they could have taller, thinner, and more widely spaced columns. When they started making cast iron columns, they kept the stone proportions because that's what people expected to see. Then the more adventurous architects wanted to see what could be done with this new material, and no longer pretended they had to follow any of the rules of stone. So one can imagine eyebrows were raised over these impossibly thin columns, especially as Hardenbergh used extra-fat columns for his base.

Fig. 3 shows an unfortunate fact about Manhattan: the original planners never left room for back alleys where there could be a service entrance and a place to keep the garbage. So even the most glamorous buildings will have one side that is steel windowless doors, loading ramps, and dumpsters.

Full Size Image Restore Image Detail Cast Iron Columns Dumpsters "Time Cafe Distortion"