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March 23, 1901.
RECORD ANT) GUIDE.
DptoiED p Rem E>TAa.BuiLDiKG ft:,R&HrrE(rnjRE.Hoi'^t;HOLDDEGa^Titil.
ausiUEssAriD Themes OFGeHer^I' Into^e*!-
PRICE PEB YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS.
PuillBhed every Satwrdaj/.
TELEPHONE, CORTLANDT I370.
I'liiii [miiil''atniTH Bbouid he addreaaed to
C. "W. S"mE(ET, 14-16 Vesey Street.
;. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
■EntfretJ at tki- Pnat-Offire at Tfew Tork, N. T.. as second-class mattpr.''
OF Wall Street there is nothing new to be said, the buying
movement that has been a continuing surprise and wonder
for montlis still continuing, with this addition that it has now
reached the Industrials, as a result of the success of the steel
consolidation, and is carrying them along into figures that will
soon place them alongside the Railroads that have been the
favorites until now. The theory upon which operations appear
now to be conducted is that any security that has not gone up
ought to have done so, and is therefore good to buy. Old-time
cautions and inquiries seem to be wholly disregarded. It is not
a question whether A or B has a good record as a money maker
and is worthy of investment regard, but whether the quotations
(or A or B have advanced much during this movement. If they
have not, then the current of speculation will carry them up.
Similar reasoning helps the securities affected by consolidations.
It is not a question of how demonstrable results of consolida¬
tion can put C, D or E on a paying or a more paying basis; but
of the mere fact of one or the other being concerned in a
consolidation giving it a value no one ever hoped for it before.
There is every appearance of further advances in prices to come,
but it is as well that the public should understand how pre¬
ponderating a factor speculation is in this movement and not
be carried away with the idea that the quotations now being
made are. those that will prevail when a change in the money
market compels scrutiny of collateral. With this in mind, buy¬
ing can be done on the theory previously given with the pros¬
pects of making money, but accompanied by the risks that al¬
ways follow feverish speculation. Outside the stock market
there is less excitement, but a cheerfulness that is more satisfy¬
ing as an indication of continued and increasing prosperity. The
promise of activity in general business is having its effect on
prices, which in turn may have something to do with the excite¬
ment in Wall Street, seeing how largely dealings in Industrial
securities figure in the trading. Iron and steel prices made an¬
other advance this week and, of course, helped the steel stocks,
including those of the big combination.
THE more it is studied the more objectionable the Stranahan
bill to tax certain mortgages a half of one per cent, be¬
comes. Take one of its most merciful provisions, that provid¬
ing a way to avoid over taxation, and see what it would put
upon the holder of a mortgage partly repaid or one upon
which all advances have not been made, a mortgage to secure a
building loan for instance. Either mortgage would be returned
for taxation at full value, la order to get this valuation re¬
duced the holder would be obliged to make statements in dupli¬
cate to the recording officer after the tax was paid to the proper
officer. These statejnents must contain the volume and page of
record of mortgage, names of the parties, memorandum of as¬
signments of the mortgage, the maximum amount of indebted¬
ness and facts showing that this sum has been reduced or has
not been incurred in full. Statements must be verified by the
owner or by his attorney in fact and acknowledged like a deed.
Who would want to make a building loan and incur all this
trouble and consequent expense? In many other respects the
provisions of the bill are hard. For example; If by accident or
through ignorance any person fails to pay his tax and allows
his mortgage to be sold, he would have no right of redemption.
During the process of the proceedings for the assessment and
collection of the tax, if an officer is acting under color of author¬
ity, persons are deprived of all right of injunction or certiorari,
and they cannot in any way review the acts of any board or
ofScer. The authority given to the officials appointed to carry
out ths act is as extreme as that held by the Star Chamber. One
of the economical objections to the bill is the disadvantage it
would place the man who has to buy real estate or build with
borrowed money as compared with the one who did not borrow.
The property or product of the one would have to bear an ad¬
ditional annual expense of one-half of one per cent, upon from
fifty to seventy-five per cent, of the total value from which the
other would be entirely free. Is more needed to show the realty
and building public that they ought to protest with all their
might against the enactment of such a measure?
Architect or Engineer.
T T will perhaps be a surprise to many architects to hear that
■^ they have become practically superfluous in the designing of
a modern business building, but such is the opinion of the
"Iron Age." "When we speak of architecture in connection with
modern building," says that publication, "we mean engineering
of the highest class, and in many of the highly specialized de¬
partments of professional work. The function of the architect
appears to be shrinking, and he may ere long be eliminated
altogether by the engineer who will assume the baton,
and, when he. needs him, employ an artist to design his orna¬
mentation." The reasons on which this opinion are based are
familiar to everyone acquainted with the conditions of large
contemporary building enterprises. The engineering prob¬
lems which arise out of the construction of a "sky-scraper" are
sucli that no man who has received merely an architectural
training is able to cope with them. The utmost ingenuity
and engineering skill have often proved necessary in order to
make in a treacherous soil proper foundations for the twenty
stories of steel and stone, which have to be erected above. Then,
in addition, the steel structure itself demands an amount of spe¬
cial knowledge, which an architect can obtain only by going
through an engineering training. In the same way such ser¬
vices as the plumbing, the lighting, the elevators, the sanita¬
tion, al! demand the strictly professional knowledge and skill
possessed only by specialists in those lines. When one considers
all these facts, one is tempted for a moment to believe with the
'"Iron Age" in the paramount importance of the engineering
aspect of a typical contemporary building—to believe that such
buildings will be designed by men who do not need anything
but an engineering training, and who will employ a draughtsman
to stick on a few engaged columns and some ornamental terra
cotta. If such were the issue, we might say, with our engineer¬
ing authority, that "Art certainly shrugged her beautiful shoul¬
ders and turned sorrowfully away when the 'skyscraper' be¬
came the modern type of urban monumental architecture."
After making due allowance for the considerations mentioned
above, however, it may be urged that architecture is certainly as
appropriate to a modern ofiice building as fine writing is to a
trade newspaper, and probably a great deal more so. It is most
probable, in spite of all that can be alleged on the other side,
tbat the architect will keep on employing the ejigi-
neer, rather than the engineer the architect, and for a
simple but very sufiicieut reason. The function of the
architect, be he ever so little or ever so much of an
artist, has always been to design a building as a whole—
to plan, that is, some system of relations, good or bad, between
oruamentationaud structure, and between the different parts and
aspects of the structure itself. He represented, that is, no mat¬
ter how badly, the fact that the building was a unit and must
be iudged altogether. The more it could be judged altogethei,
the brtter the material was adapted to the structure, the struc¬
ture to the function of the building and to its own inner logic,
and both to the system of ornamentation, the more effective the
architecture. Well! there is just as much need now as there
ever was for somebody who will plan a building "altogether;"
and the architect is trained and selected for this particular pur¬
pose. The engineer cannot be expected to perform it, because
an engineer is a specialist; he is is a civil, a mining, a sanitary
engineer or what not. The architect cannot get along withoutsuch
special assistance; but both by his education at college and his
professional experience, he knows enough about steel construc¬
tion, elevators, sanitation, etc., to provide for such services, their
cost and distribution in his general scheme; and until engineers
are very differently educated from the way they are at present,
there is small chance, except in individual instances, that they
will be able to force architects into the position of their subor¬
dinates. Architecture is not, at bottom, as the writer quoted as¬
sumes, merely the superficial ornamentation of a mechanical
structure. It is the art of building adequately as well as beauti¬
fully; and the problem of an appropriate and adequate building
is always something more than an engineering problem.
No doubt the difiiculties attending the construction of a con¬
temporary "sky-scraper" are so peculiar, and tbe training needed