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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 6, no. 135: October 15, 1870

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STATE Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE Vol. yi. NEW YORK, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15, 1870. No. 135. Published M'eekly by THE REAL ESTATE RECORD ASSOCIATION. TERMS. One year, in advance......................$6 00 All communications should bo addressed to C. -V^. SXVUITGT, 106 Broadway, cor. op Pine Strket. IRON BUILDINGS. LORD & TAYLOR'S NEW STORE. The question of erecting our best buildings, externally, of iron or the time-hallowed mate¬ rials of marble, stone, brick, or granite, is stUl an open one, and will continue to be so in spite of every attempt at innovation; for while the promoters of iron have much to advance in its favor, it is lio less true that the adherents of the old-fashioned materials have quite as much with which to hold good the argument on their side— commercially as well as Eesthetically—and apart from their overwhelming advantage of universal practice throughout long ages. But, however this question may ultimately be decided, it is an undoubted fact that the use of iron iu the frontages of many of our most conspicuous buildings has lately, from some cause or other, received an immense impetus; and it is no less evident that that impetus will be largely in¬ creased by the erection of such a structure as forms the heading of our article, standing forth, as it .unquestionably does, the embodiment of the best thing of the kind that has ever yet been seen in this city. One principal cause for this is^ that Messrs. Lord & Taylor's build¬ ing, unlike other iron constructions of the kind, unmistakably pronounces itself iron at the first glance. With its profuse ornamentation and minute rococo workmanship, which may please or displease, according to the taste of the be¬ holder, it makes no pretension whatever to be¬ ing stone; for stone is not to be easily car\'ed into such filagree shapes, or rather, only at such enormous cost as to be out of aU proportion to the ordinary necessities of a commercial buUd¬ ing. This is as it should be ; for every build¬ ing, whether of iron, stone, or wood, should honestly proclaim itself what it really is, and not attempt forms for which it is totally unfit. Truthfulness is one of the most subtle and im¬ perious elements in the effect produced by every work of art, and the artist fails or succeeds in direct proportion as he departs from or adheres to it. Nothing cftu be more unsatisfactory than to look at some of our modern buildings, with their large solid masses of mock-masonry paint¬ ed to represeht stone, 'and then to know that they are nothing after all but plates of iron veneering fixed over rough brickwork, and then coateii^ witH pigments to cheat us. To illus- trat6-;1^i^a(? aisurdum, imagine what would be the effect of erecting such a building as the Equitable Life Insurance Company's, -with its majestic breadths of space and large outlines, out of iron plates, and then painting them to look like granite! The pretehsion would be monstrous. Iron, being in its application en¬ tirely different from stone or marble, should, when used for frontages, deal only in small sur¬ faces ; it should be perpetually broken up by. little projections and recesses; in short, it should have every sort of treatment in orna¬ mentation that shall be as urilike as possible to that usually adopted in masonry, vrith which it cannot have the remotest sympathy. In this lay the whole success of Sir Joseph Paxton's grand building of iron and glass, for the first London Exposition, which has since proved the model for aU similar structures. He therein ap¬ plied iron and glass to their legitimate uses and adaptations, cutting himself loose from all con¬ ventional forms connected with the use offsolid masonry, and thus produced a novel and emi¬ nently truthful result that wiU stand the^^test of all time. Viewed in this light, the new building of Messrs. Lord & Taylor, now in course of completion, comes nearer to a success than anything we have yet seen. To say to what style it belongs is not easy to any one who has the slightest respect for architectural nomen¬ clature, as. the world has hitherto regarded it, and we would therefore rather ^invent for it such orders as "Independent" or "Nonde¬ script," than fall back upon the everlastingly abused '■'■ Renaissance''''—the refuge of all non¬ plussed critics. But, to whatever order the building may belong, it is pleasing and effective to the sight. Standing, as it does, on] a very conspicuous angle—the southwest comer of the junction of Broadway and Twentieth street— it afforded the designer a splendid opportunity for artistic treatment, and [this he -has';]well availed himself of by cutting off the comer octagonally, managing the columns and projec¬ tions at the junction with the [sideTwalls very skilfully, and running this portion of the roof higher, where its increased height gives a tow¬ ering and prominent comer to the building, which is bold and pleasing in effect. The whole surface of the fronts is cut up with numberless little detached columns and pro¬ jections, elaborate balconies.of curved shapes richly ornamented, and a profusion of decora¬ tion generally, all of good form, but in such abundance as would be actually painful to the eye, but for the knowledge that aU that rich¬ ness is turned out of molds by the yard, instead of being produced, bit by bit, from the work¬ man's careful chiseL The size of this building, too, is an important element in its effective¬ ness. With its frontage on Broadway of 110 feet,- running back 128 feet on Twentieth street, and its rich slated roof rising 122 feet from the ground, it presents a most conspicuous ob-, ject to all who are descending Broadway in that neighborhood. The owners seem to have a fancy for large central windows, as the centre of the Broadway front is occupied by an im- ^ mense semi-circular glazed space, corresponding somewhat in form to that of their old store at the comer of Crand street and Broadway, and which has the advantage at least of singularity, if not of beauty or meaning. Everything about this building is designed on the grandest scale, in keeping with our present notions of a modem New York store. Under the grand circular space mentioned above—and which forms a sort of mimic archway open only to the springing line—is a fine porch 18 feet high, 25 feet long, and 12 feet wide, paved with variegated mar¬ bles. Through the wide doors on each side is entered the grand hall on the ground floor, which is 18 feet in height, and covers an area of over 13,000 square feet. The eight windows on Broadway are of commanding dimensions, being seven feet wide and 16 feet high, each of . one sheet of plate, glass. The interior will be fitted up on a scale of corresponding magnifi¬ cence, with counters of dark polished wood, richly designed offices, grand stairways, eleva¬ tors, and; all the usual appurtenances on the most iniproved pattern. But our remarks were more intended for the external architec¬ tural character of this building, and this we think worthy of study, as a model of its class— in iron. INTERESTIMG LAW DECISIONS AFFECTING EEAL ESTATE. Before Jtidge -loseph F. Daly and a Jury. A MISUNDERSTANDIXG IN RE-AL ESTATE MATTERS. Randall et al. vs. Christian Brand.—This was an action to recover over §400 as comniis-sions for the sale of some Harlem lots. Plaintiff testified that about October 1, 1867, defendant employed him as agent to sell the property, and that such authority was never cancelled before the sale. Defendant admitted that he did employ plaintiff, but testi- • fied that two or three days thereafter he withdrew the property from his hands, saying that he wanted to find ouj- what other lots in the same neighborhood would sell for at a corporation sale then about to take place. Plaintiff testified, by himself and another,, that on the night after the corporation salo took place he called upon defendant at his house, in company \vith the man who sub¬ sequently became the purchaser, and that at that interview defendant gave no intimation that plaintiff was not still his agent to make the sale. Defendant, with a number of other witnesses, testified, on the contrary, that at the interview mentioned by plain¬ tiff as having taken place on the night after the corppi^^^i^j. sale, he (defendant) distinctly told plaintiff that tb^^^lf^. erty was no longer in his (plaintiff's) hands for'Jiii9,.a^ that he had therefore nothing whatever to do wit^ ;t. ^jTp further testified that the purchaser of the property yg^f brought to him by a Mr. Crasto, through whom the sriIq had been effected, andto_whom the customary aommiBSlo^ji had been paid. j Tho jury found a verdict in favor of the defendant.