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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 17, no. 413: February 12, 1876

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Real Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. XVII. NEW YORK, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 1876. No. 413. Published Weekly by THE REAL ESTATE RECORD ASSOCIATION. C. W. SWEET...............Pbesidbnt and Tbeasuber PRESTON I. SWEET...........Seokbtaby. L. ISRAELS.........................Business Ma.'saqeb TERMS. 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¬ ment Architect. 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 man." GONVEYANOES. NETV YORK. 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 103.10.................................... Elm St., w. s.,115.1 n. Broome st., 21.3xl00.4x 21.8x100.4.................................. J Charles R. Coster to Catharine Bay. Jan___nom Same property. Catharine Bay to Marie B. Cos¬ ter. Jan.................................nom 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 i'i