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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 71, no. 1841: June 27, 1903

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..Jiine 27, ^^3- RECORD AND GUIDE 1269 ^y •• ESTABlJSHED-^i\ftR.CH2t':i^l868. Xk/OIED V> fW- ElSTAIE . BuiLDITfc *;FKJ^iTECTURE ,t{oiJSEI^OLD DEGOHplDll. BUsi\'ess AfiDThemes Of GetJer^ iKt^^^i. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE, SIX DOLLARS 'Published et/ery Saturday Cnmmunlcatlnns should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street. New YorK t. T. LINDSET. Business Managtr Telephone, Cortlandt 3157 "EnU^pd al il,'' A>.'.-t O^ire al JfeiD Tork, A". T., as second-class mailer." that kncwn to only a few people, viz.: some of their private in¬ teriors; and perhaps it is in this direction also that they have been most original- The material used in the decoration of the contemporary expensive private residence are for the most part the rich fabrics, furniture and other spoils of Italian and French palaces, and there is no American designer who has approached another membe'r of this firm in his ability to combine tliese old materials in a way that both brings out their full decorative vaiue and yet produces somehow a new and idiomatic effect. Altogether it may fairly be said that when the architectural history of the last generation comes to be written McKim, iMead & White will occupy a bigger place than any other single in¬ dividual or firm, exeept Mr, H, H. Richardson. Vol, LXXI. JUNE 27, 1903- No- 1S41, ^^ HE man who can be wise about the present condition of ■*■ the stock market and its immediate outcome, possesses a fund of inspiration that is not available to the man of ordinary endowment. It is, of course, easy to say that the market is dead, and leave the matter at that. Certainly the dullness that prevails is profound. One firm on the Street, with sixteen clerks, has had no occasion to touch its books for three days. This practical cessation of business is extremely costly, for it occurs not after a period of retrenchment, but suddenly, at the very moment when'everything was rushing. The most obvious fact that remains to be noted after the dullness is that the market is likely to be for some time to come a weather market. It will no doubt continue to be such until the wheat crop is assured, thus leaving the corn crop as the only bridge to be crossed afterwards—two months later. One might guess, per¬ haps, that if the wheat crop be assured people will easily tire of the cautious side and will take chances as to the liabilities in¬ volved in getting over the corn bridge. Another fact that may be noted as a certainty possessing future implications is that the traffic of the railroads is being maintained, and this strengthens the assurance that the country has at last grown beyond its railroad accommodations and has quite reversed the situation that prevailed formerly. Finally, banking circles are of the opinion that the outward movement of gold is about ended. For the rest, guesses are in order. IN selecting Mr. Charlea F. McKim for the special honor of the King's gold medal the Royal Institute of British Archi¬ tects has certainly chosen the man among living American architects who best deserved the distinction. Doutless the par¬ ticular excuse for the selection was the fact that Mr. McKim was given the commission for renovating the White House, and did his work so admirably, admirably enough at least to arouse the disapprobation of the Congressional architectural critics; but apart frora this particular piece of worli, the firm of which Mr. McKim is a member occupies a unique position in the pro¬ fession. Probably there are other firms whose work is quite as conspicuous, if not more so, for McKim, Mead & White select their jobs, and have for the most part avoided the designing of such buildings as "sky-scrapers," The point is, however, that during their whole period of practice their buildings, in spite of the enormous number whi<;h have been turned out, have ex¬ hibited in their designs more consistency of purpose, a greater freedom of design and a higher average measure of success than have, those of any other flrm of American architects. During that period they have experimented with many styles of design, some of which have proved to be mistakes; but even their mis¬ takes have shown intelligence and taste, while their successes have exacted the tribute of a great deal of imitation from their brother architects. The consistency of their work has not been caused by the fact of their loyalty to any one particular style, but to the fact that throughout their whole career it has given the impression of being designed primarily to look well. We are aware that the firm is criticized for keeping the aesthetic point of view too exclusively in mind, for tending to subordinate im¬ portant details of plan and structure to the exigencies of a good- looking facade; but this criticism, although doubtless it contains some force, expresses merely the reverse aspect of their greatest merit. They want to design good-looking buildings. They suc¬ ceed in doing it. The good looks may cost the owner of the building something in the way of convenience or what not; but that is his lookout. The fact remains that their designs frequently possess undeniable charm and distinction, and that while they do what all the other leading architects are doing they do it better. Althoagh they have avoided the extremes of the French manner, they have been thoroughly French in their devotion to good form. Perhaps the very best of their work is VER since the Greater New York was consolidated there has scarcely been a really desirable public improvement which has not been delayed in its consummation by the action of the Board cf Aldermen. This was true of the subway; it was true of the Pennsylvania tunnel; it is now proving to be true of the new bridges, and it has been true of many minor but very neces- .sai-y public improvements. The attempt which is being made by that body to delay the ccnstruction of the new bridges is as bad politics as it is adverse to the public interests. Many thou¬ sands of residents of Manhattan and Brooklyn understand fully what a boon the Manhattan bridge will be to both of these borcughs. The line of tbis bridge is practically parallel to the present Brcoklyn bridge, and it will consequently be of much more immediate use to the traveling public than the Williams¬ burgb bridge will be. The delay of every month means addi¬ tional inconvenience to travelers and loss to hundreds of real estate owners; but in spite of these facts the Board of Aldermen expects in some inexplicable way to gain a political advantage by holding up the bonds which are to pay for the structure. Moreover, it is significant that the grounds on which fault is found with the plants for the Manhattan bridge are related to the most excellent aspects cf those plans. Ail good judges are agreed that the steel structures which carry the roadway of the Wiliiamsburgh bridge are extremely ugly; and consequently Commissioner Lindenthal made a particular effort to alter the -♦t -tt ■K The time seems to have come in the con= flict between the employers and the employed in the building trades for a strong third party to offer friendly offices, with a view of bringing to an end a dispute which by its magnitude and long continuance is in¬ flicting hardships upon the community. * -*t * -K plans of the Manhattan bridge for the purpose of improving the appearance of the piers. To this end he called a competent architect to his assistance; and the new plans produced by means of this collaboration promise the. erection of a very beautiful structure. It is not too much to say, as Mr. Frederick Lamb says in the' current number of "House and Garden," that the commissioner has achieved in connection with Messrs. Palmer and HornbosteJ, "a veritable architectural triumph," The triumph is all the more remarkable because the great modern steel bridges all over the world have been hitherto any¬ thing but admirable in design, and because consequently the architects were obliged to depend upon their own ingenuity for the general idea back of their plan. These plans, if they are carried out, promise to effect something like a revolution in bridge architecture and to serve as a valuable precedent for the treatment of bridges as, what in truth they are, architectural monuments. Yet it is just this aspect of the plans which the Board of Aldermen are opposing. They are the enemies of the light in evej-y instance and on any excuse. ALL of the dozen architects or architectural firms which have been invited to submit designs for the new Borough Hall of Brooklyn are residents of that borough; and we must say that the restriction of competitors to inhabitants of Brook¬ lyn seems in this case to be particularly absurd and unnecessary. The principal of inviting only local architects to share in such a competition is a doubtful one, even when the locality is well defined; but in the present case Brooklyn as a local area of habitation is really a part of a larger whole, and cannot be cut off from tbe rest of the city. A number of the firms which have been selected merely because one or more of the partners