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Real Estate Record
AND BUILDERS' GUIDE.
NEW YORK, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 1876.
Published Weekly by
THE REAL ESTATE RECORD ASSOCIATION.
C. W. SWEET...............Pbesidbnt and Tbeasuber
PRESTON I. SWEET...........Seokbtaby.
L. ISRAELS.........................Business Ma.'saqeb
OBfB YEAR, in. advance___$10 00.
Communications should be addressed to
C. SV. ©TVJE3ET,
Nos. 345 and 347 Bboadwat.
A TALK WITH ARCHITECTS.
WHAT THEY SAY OF THE BILL INTEODUCED INTO
OONGEESS TO CEE.^TE A BUREAU OP AECHI-
TECTURE—THE BROADWAY FIRE—WHAT ABOUT
IRON FRONTS ?
Mr. Hewitt, M. C. firom New York, having
introduced in the House a bill to create a Bureau
of Architecture, which shall be under the charge
and direction of one chief, to be named and
styled the GoTernment Architect, who shall be
appointed by the President of the United States
from among the Fellows of the American Insti¬
tute of Architects, by and with the advice and
consent of the Senate, aud with especial consid¬
eration and regard to his professional capabili¬
ties and accomplishments, we dispatched one
of our reporters to the leading architects of this
city, to get their views on matters of such great
importance to the building trade generally. We
append for this week's issue a few of these inter¬
views, to be followed probably by others, not
perhaps in the same vein, in next week's num¬
ber. Our reporter first called upon
Mr. James Kenwick, of No. 4 Broad street.
He thought the bill was a good thing, as it
woiild promote competition, and in that respect
be far before the present system. At present
there ia but one supervising architect, who has
charge of aU the Government buildings, and all
the plans are made in his oflBce. How this latter
system works—the system at present in force—
we all know by looking at the New York Post-
of&ce, the Government Building in Chicago and
other places. The erections, though very good
in construction, were certainly very bad in de¬
sign; not such buildings as we would wish to
go down to posterity as examples of this
centary. A single architect—no matter how
clever a man he might be—would have a
certain amount of sameness in aU his designs.
All a man's designs are like a man's hand-writing.
The principle adopted in London by the British
Government is to select five or six architects,
men of known capacity and reputation, and get
designs fi:om them, and then a committee is ap¬
pointed to examine the designs^ and thus a good
plan for a building is secured. They get a com¬
petition from the best men, and a judgment
fi:om those who are really competent. Now, in
the case of New York, for example, the men who
really decide upon a design are, nine times out
of ten, ignorant of architecture; they have not
studied it, and are liable to choose the worst de¬
sign. Sometimes the men who control these
matters have greater learning in everything
else than architecture. I was talking to a man
the other day, who said that, although Mc. Mul-
lettwas not much of an architect, he certainly was
the best politician in Washington. But I really
think this new system will be much better than
the old plan. The Government must have
some one to look after its buildings. I know
that the present chief architect, Mr. Potter, is
a man of unblemished reputation, and the Gov¬
ernment is perfectly safe with such a man. I
wish to say, however, that I have not seen the
bill. Tbe American Institute of Architects had
a meeting at Baltimore last November, and per¬
haps the biU was got up by them.
Mr. Eenwick then went on to refer to the
matter of fire-proof buildings, and said that all
it amounted to was the question of superior re¬
sistance. He said that some insurance com¬
panies even preferred wooden columns to iron
ones. The former can be put out by water.
They do not get red-hot, as iron columns do.
Now, if water be thrown on iron columns, they
are apt to crack, and so imperil the whole build¬
ing. Talking about columns, he could not com¬
mend the columns used in the New York Post-
office. They were of the same size from top to
bottom—no entasis—and the consequence is
that, when you look at them, they look actually
larger at tbe top than at the bottom. And, then,
the belvedere on the top of the dome was ab¬
surd. The real fire-proof building is one built
entirely of brick, for you know that a furnace
which melts iron is lined with brick.
Mr. Henry Fernbach, 346 Broadway, was next
called upon. He said that the bill was dis¬
cussed at the last annual convention of the In¬
stitute at Baltimore, last November, and a
special committee was appointed to lay the mat¬
ter before Congress. The whole thing is to be
under the control of the.Secretary of the Treas¬
ury, and Ihe Government patronage is to be
thrown open, to all. There woidd not be the
sameness that characterizes the buildings erected
by the Government at the present day. How
was a man to make dozens of designs for post-
offices, custom-houses, &c., and not repeat him¬
self? He fully agreed with the scheme. It
would be very conducive to the good of the pro¬
fession. The profession ought to be better rep¬
resented than it is at the present moment. Mr.
Potter's designs are very creditable indeed, and
are very superior to the old system. A man oc¬
cupying the position of supervising architect
cannot give the proper consideration to all of
them. By the biU the successful architect haa
the control of the erection of the building, of
coxirse, under the supervision oi the Govern¬
Mr. J. Jardine, of D. & J. Jardine, 1,267
Broadway, said he did not belong to the Chap¬
ter of Architects, as the two former do; he had
legitimate reasons for not making any applica¬
tion to become a member. He thought that thi s
biU would have the effect of creating a ring
through the American Institute. As to the mat¬
ter, however, of competition, he thought the
measure was desirable. He thought, at the
same time, that the American Institute was
rather given to dictation; and in the matter of
the bill for the admeasurement of buildings in
New York, they were not entirely successful.
When your reporter asked his opinion about fire
proof buildings, and referred to the question of
iron columns, as mentionsd by Mr. Eenwick, he
said he believed to the utmost in iron structures.
He said that the compound column entirely
obviated the objection as stated by Mr. Ken-
vrick. In the compound column there is one
iron column placed within another, and the
space fiJled with non-conducting material.
Mr. A. J. Bloor, Secretary of the American
Institute, comer Broadway and Cedar street,
informed our reporter that the biQ was got up
in the Board of Trustees of the Institute last
fall. It was then presented at its convention
at Baltimore last November, and was, after
amendment in the convention, referred to the
following committee: C. C. Haight, NewYork
City; A. J. Bloor, New York City; Carl Pfeiffer,
New York City; Henry Van Brant, Boston, Mass.;
E. G. Lind, Baltimore, Md.; J. L. Smithmeyer,
Washington, D. C.; Albert C. Nash, Cincinnati,
O.; Levi T. Scofield, Cleveland, 0.; Thomas W.
Walter, Philadelphia, Pa.; P. B. Wright, Chi¬
cago. IU.; Alfred Stone, Providence, E. I.
"They have gone over it very carefully at a
number ot meetings, and consulted with the
supervising architect, Mr. Potter. I sent it last
Monday to Mr. Hewitt, and I got a letter from
iiim on Tuesday morning, telling me that
he had introduced it, and that it had been
referred to the Committee on Public Build¬
ings and Grounds. Oui object was to do the
best we could for the architecture of the coun¬
try. My personal feeling about it is that Mr.
Potter might very well be retained at the head
of this Bureau; so far ho has been a very good
February 3,4, 5, 7, 8, 9.
Allen st. (No. 52), 25x87. Gabriel Goldsmith to
Sarah wile of Jacob Foss. Feb. 1........$26,000
Broadway, e. 8. (No. 212), 29x77x29x76.2..
Pbabl St. (No. 378), e. s., 135.7 s. Oak st., 20.3x
Elm St., w. s.,115.1 n. Broome st., 21.3xl00.4x
Charles R. Coster to Catharine Bay. Jan___nom
Same property. Catharine Bay to Marie B. Cos¬
Cbtorch St., e. 8., 25.1 s. White St., 25x75. Bet¬
sey wife of Maurice Levi to Henry and Isaac
Meinhard. (Mort. $27,000.) Feb. 3...... .40,300
Delancey st. (No. 220), n. s., 75 e. Pitt st., 27x
100. Jacob David to Philip J. Seiter. Mort.
$20,000.) Jan. 26.........................22,000