Thomas Babington Macaulay Macaulay.

The Architect & engineer of California and the Pacific Coast (Volume v.52-53 (Jan.-June 1918)) online

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extensive use of concrete in terminal Ijuildings. The new Trans-Mississippi
Terminal at New Orleans has the train sheds, as well as the building proper,
of reinforced concrete.

No picture of the new uses of concrete would be complete without men-
tion of the concrete ships which are occupying so much space nowadaj's.
not only in our technical magazines but also in the popular press. The
successful use of concrete ships in Norway as well as barges in other locali-
ties has stimulated concrete shipbuilding everywhere. In California there
is now being completed a boat of 4500-<on capacity, and larger ones are be-
ing planned. Two or three large concrete shipbuilding companies have
been organized in the East and already have contracts to go ahead. The
United .States Ciovernment is taking a deep interest in this subject, and has
appointed a board devoting itself strictly to concrete shipbuilding. The
speed with which a concrete boat can be l)uilt, the simplicity of the equip-
ment necessary and the economical cost suggest that it might prove the
solution of the shipping problem which is so vital to the success of the Allies.

If we are to complete our motion picture of .American conditions, the
final scene must show a partial glimpse into the future. Concrete is coming
into its own, largely because of its intrinsic merits. No doubt in exceptional
cases its use is being forced by war cf)nditions. but it is safe to say that
many of its applications have been revelations to designers because of its
economy and efficiency. From these places it will not be dislodged, just as
other materials will continue in use in the ]ilaces to which they are best


No Drop in Building Material Prices

Tin-" attitude of several state fjovernments recommending that con-
struction work on public buildings of all kinds be stopped is being
severely criticised, iov stoppage of any line of work at this particular
time takes away the means of support to those employed in it and stops
the progress of the community by just so much.

Just how much of this condition is justified by fact and how much is
due to plain hysteria remains to be seen, but it is time to eliminate any
hysteria there may be and bend every effort to get back to a basis of fact
and to a continuance of regular lines of work.

So long as the war does continue, we need not look for any decrease
in the price of material. Any regulation of prices that may be brought
about by government action will apply to food supplies, and it is not
likely to have any effect on building materials or supplies except as the
government needs them : neither can we hope for greatly improved labor
conditions, transportation facilities, or better conditions for prosecuting
our particular class of work.

In fact, increased demand for material, transportation, etc.. to supply
and fill the orders given out by the government alone will require all the
increased facilities the producers and transportation men may provide,
and much of the present equipment and labor: and labor, which has been
scarce in many parts of the country for the last two years, may become
even scarcer as our armies are recruited and the men needed to meet
the government requirements for army and navy operations of war are
withdrawn from their customary occupations.

No improvements over present conditions can be expectetl for some
years to come.

All are agreed that the rec|uirements of the government must take
precedence over everything else, but a wise government will do all in its
))ower to render our distributing machinery more efficient and employ
all surplus over government requirements in carrying forward the estab-
lished business of the country in its usual way. The whole question
should hinge upon the need of buildings in question and whether they
can be dispensed with without penalizing the owner or community to a
far greater extent than the saving which might be effected by waiting.

If the buildings are needed now and cannot be dispensed with for
more than one or two years, it would seem to be the part of wisdom to
prepare for same and place contracts at the earliest possible moment and
do all ])ossible to execute the work.

With the continuation of the war for twr) or three years longer, and
because of the enormous demand to replace the waste and destruction
after the close of the war, a decrease in price of material and labor and
all things entering into the cost of building short of the next fi\e years
is extremely improbable. :i:

Door Bed Not Part of Building

A door bed is not a part of the building in which it is installed and may
be sold under a lease contract the same as any piece of moval)le furniture.
according to a decision handed down by Judge Taft in the superior court
of Los -Angeles county. The decision was rendered in a suit brought by
C. C. Hurd, trustee, and Laura K. and C F. Borton, owners, to restrain the
Southern California Hardwood & .Manufacturing Company from removing
the Murphy door lieds which it had installed in the fUackstone apartments
on Olive street near Third street under a lease contract with Laura E. Bor-
ton. It is probable the case will be appealed.



Some Notes on Swimming Pools




G. E. McCrea. Architect

• ).M E s^ood suggestions
on the proper construc-
tion of outdoor swim-
ming pools are made b\'
I'rofessor William S. Frank-
lin of the Massachusetts In-
^titute of Technology in a
jiajjcr on "The Bethlehem
J 'Ian Swimming P^ool." and
recently published in the
American Physical Educa-
tiiin Review.

The Bethlehem Plan pro-
\ ides for emptying, scrub-
bing and refilling a pool
every night and for circulat-
ing the pool water through
a filter while the pool is in
use at a rate sufficient to turn o\er the contents in eight hours, and at a
cost which is very much less than the cost of the usual procedure.

The essential features of construction and operation of the Bethlehem
Plan pool are as follows :

( a ) The pool must be accurately rectangular, and the bottom must
have a one-direction slope ; spoon-shaped bottom not permissible.*

(h) A large sand filter is installed alongside of the pool under the
platforms and dressing rooms, a low-head centrifugal pump lifts the pure
water from the base of the filter bed continuously and discharges it into
one end of the ])ool, and the impure water flows out of the pool at the
other end into the filter bed.

(c) A very light bulkhead spans across the pool like a water gate.

(d) While the pool is in use this bulkhead is held flat against the end
wall of the pool or against the end wall of the pool roona.

(el .\i the beginning of the emptying, scrubbing and refilling opera-
tion the water \ahes are set so that the pure water from the ])ump flows
intf) one end of the narrow space between the bulkhead and end wall (jf
the ]j<)ol, swee])s across to the other end of the bulkhead and flows
through openings in the bulkhead into the pool. L'nder these conditions
the end wall of the pool and the back of the bulkhead are swabbed by
hand, and the sediment thus loosened is swei)t out of the narrow space
into the pool by the swift stream of pure water.

(f) Then a simple holding mechanism is attached to the bulkhead to
keep it vertical and squarely across the pool, the holes through the bulk-
head are closed, the pure water behind the bulkhead rises slightly in level
and pushes the bulkhead along, and a soft, pneumatic, squee-gee cushion
scrubs the side walls and bottom of the pool.

fg) When the moving bulkhead reaches the other end of the pool the
motor switch is automatically ojiened and the pump is stopped.

(hi When the attendant ne.xt comes on duty he starts the pump, opens
the holes through the bulkhead, fastens the bulkhead in position against

• The side walls must be accurately parallel and plane (tolerance + 0.25 inch) and the bottom of the
pool must everywhere conform to a straight edge held cross-wise of the pool (tolerance ± 0.25 inch).


the end wall ami reni(i\es the huldiiit; niechanisni, thus clearing the imcil
for bathers.

(i) A projecting strip is fastened to each side of the bulkhead near the
bottom ; this strip comes against the end wall of the ])ool, forming a
bounded channel in wliich the collected sediment lies, and the sediment is
easily drawn out of this channel and discharged into the sewer b\- ojien-
ing a properl}^ arranged valve.

Remark. — The high-level pure water which jjushes the bulkiicad along
flows through every minute crevice between the squee-gee cushion and the
sides and bottom of the pool ; not a drop of used water is left in the pool
at the end of the emptying, scrubbing and refilling operation, and every
pcjrtion of the inside of the pool has been thoroughly scrubbed and rinsed.

A heavily patronized public pool would have a filter and i)ump equip-
ment sufficient to turn over the contents of the pool in one and a half or
two hours, so that the emptying, scrubbing and refilling o]ieration could
be performed early every morning, again between noon and 2 p. ni.. and
again between 6 p. m. and 8 p. m.

The Bethlehem Plan is a straightforward application of the princii)les
of hydraulic and sanitary engineering to the swimming pool.

Many landscape enthusiasts object to the rectangular swimming pool,
but no landscape ideal should take precedence cn-er the hygienic and eco-
nomic aspects of the swimming-pool problem. Swimming pools must be
clean cjr our boards of health will close them, and they must be reason-
ably cheap in operation or we cannot afford them.

A pond lends itself beautifully to one kind of. artistic treatment, and a
pond-like swimming pool set among trees and shrubs, with dressing rooms
hidden from view, is a verj- pleasing object; but rectangular structures
have long been used in parks and gardens, and there is an effective artistic
treatment of the rectangular swimming pool. Like a Roman bath, it
should honestly jsroclaim itself a man-made structure, with its widely
flung platforms and pergolas. When we build a garden house for a more
com])licated mechanical purpose than making love we construct a building
and not a bovver, and when we build a swimming pool let it be a hydraidic
installation and not merely a ])ond. It is not feasible to make a pond-like
swimming ])ool that can be kept decently clean at a reasonable cost.

The engineering features of the Bethlehem Plan pool are:

(a) The requirements as to shape of pool and as to size of filter beds
have already been mentioned.

(b) The gutters along the two sides cjf the pool have multiple dis-
charge ports through which the overflow passes directly iiito the filter
beds with a minimum of back wash. This is an important feature, be-
cause of the common use of the gutters for s|Mtting.

(c) The bulkhead weighs 500 jiounds for a jxiol 1? feel witle; it lies
flat against the end wall of the pool when it is left at the deep end of
the ])ool. and when it is left at the shallow end of the pool it is hoisted by
two small tackle blocks which are attached to two swinging bracket arms
and swung flat against the end wall of the room or pool enclosure. It
takes one man forty seconds to hoist the bulkhead and svving it into this
out-of-the-way position, and an equal time to replace it in the pool.

fd) The bulkhead-controlling mechanism consists of two heavy sliders
(100 ])ounds each) which slide alongside of the'])ool (one on each side of
the po<ili. h'ach slider has two attached fingers which engage the end


posts of the bulkhead and hold the bulkhead in a vertical position, and a
quarter-inch galvanized sash cord arranged in a well-known manner is
attached to the sliders so as to constrain the sliders to move at the same
speed, thus holding the bulkhead squarely across tiie pool. The sliders
and rope can be brought from a storage closet and arranged for service
by one man in five minutes, or taken away and stored in the same length
of time.

.\ maximum difference of level of three-quarters inch front and back
of bulkhead is all that is required to push the bulkhead along, and the
bulkhead is arranged to come flat against either end wall of the pool, so
that it cannot be strained when the motor-stopping mechanism fails to
operate or when the attendant neglects to open the proper gates before
drawing oft' water from behind the bulkhead.

(e) The automatic motor-stopping switch (one at each end of
pool) is actuated by a rod (one at each end of pool) which lies in a
covered duct in the platform floor. The bulkhead comes against this rod
and opens the switch, which is conveniently mounted in a safe, dry place.

(f) To remodel an old pool for Bethlehem Plan, operation would in-
volve the complete demolition of the old pool, the excavation for the large
filter beds and the rebuilding of pool and filter beds and platforms. This
would cost about $.\000 for a pool 25x100 feet, but it would make pos-
sible a greatly increased degree of cleanliness of pool and at the same time
give a sufticient reduction of operation costs to pay 6 or 7 per cent inter-
est and depreciation on the cost of remodeling.

Wide obser\'ation shows that extremely few users of a pool indulge in
deep diving, and it is well known that one can dive from very great
heights into six feet of water. Therefore, any depth of water in excess of
seven feet is useless. The writer knows of one men's pool, for example,
where the thin layer of sediment, which can be seen on the white marble
bottom, develops and remains intact after every periodic cleaning of the
pool, and the depth of the pool is eight feet. The users of this pool seldom
or never dive to the bottom of it.

The writer has adopted maximum and minimum depths of 7 feet and
4 feet, on the assumption that small children should be taken care of in a
separate all-shallow pool.

Some Data About the Largest Reinforced Concrete


A reinforced concrete building of more than a million square feet fltHir
area has been completed in St. Louis for the Anheuser-Busch t"o. It has
one 26-foot story below ground and six stories above ground. The follow-
ing figures give some idea of the magnitude of this structure :

Ground area sq. ft 1 17.000

Floor area, sq. ft 1.117.700

Cubic contents, cu. ft 21.932.001)

Concrete, cu. vds 81.040

Cement, bbls 121,560

Reinforcing steel, tons 6.780

Enameled face brick i 2.00a000

Other brick 7.000.000

Lumber in forms, ft. b. m 5.951,000



A Thinking Spell for Architects

WIIMX the great adjustment of architectural and Ijuildiiis; affairs
is accomplished and business assumes its normal activity. \vc
will begin to realize and ai)preciate the benefits of the recent lull.
The new era will be marked by hii^jher standards and improved methods
applied to manufacture and the execution of architects' design.s. Like-
wise, there will be noticeable a larger consumption of materials drawn
from our own natural resources which are destined to replace, perma-
nently, raw materials that ha\e hithertt) been imported from European

Our manufactured products for building ])urposes will be in reality
American goods and we have faith to believe that they can and will be
made as good and reliable as any foreign importations.

When the wheels of progress show a tendency to turn backward.
thinking men direct their attention and energies towards the improvement
of business systems and it ofttimes happens that the interposition of
Providence actually provides these thinking spells for our ultimate good.
\n architect expressed the thought in this way: "Architectural and
building afflictions are about the same as the physical ills that afflict the
human body. A man goes on under high tension, disregarding little pains
and aches, forcing the human machine to the breaking point, until Nature
rebels and nothing short of complete rest and careful treatment will make
the body respond. In other words, he takes an enforced \'acation and
comes back in better condition of brain and bo(h- and ca])able of better

But along comes the u])lieaval of the old systems: men have sprung up
with real ideas, ordinary people are pondering over the difference between
faking and creating, and extraordinary people are endeavoring to satisfy
the demand for architecture which shall speak for what the word really
means, "The art of building." — Architecture.

Germans to Build Concrete Ships

GERM.W shipl)uilders have been (|uick to take up the idea of con-
structing siiips of Concrete, according to ("ai)tain L. I'ersins, who
writes in the lierliner Tageblatt that, owing to prospective shortage
of wood, steel and iron for shijjbuilding after the war, leading German
and Austrian dockyards arc preparing to use ferro-concrete on a large
scale. Yards are now being constructed to that end.

As told in the London papers. Captain Persius takes the view that all
the great shipbuilding countries will l)e put to the same necessity as Ger-
many to find substitutes for wood, iron and steel. Germany, he thinks,
will be in better ])osition than any of the rest for ferro-concrete construc-
tion because :

"We ])ossess the most important cement industry in the world. We
have far outstripped I'Vance, the country where the most versatile uses
were formerly made of cement, while we ha\e given the English, the in-
ventors of cement, the fiercest competition in the markets of the world.
There seems every reason to ho])e that in the future the largest ships
flying the German flag will be jiartially of ferro-concrete construction." —
I'rom the Nautical Gazette.


Hospital Costs and Building— A Safe and Sane View

'* I ( ) IIUILD or not to l)uil<l" is a questif)n that is vexing many 1)oards
I of trustees and communities at present. The impression seems to
prevail in many quarters that the erection of new hospitals or the
extension of those already existing should be deferred until after the war.
The decision' to forego needed hospital facilities has such a serious and
important bearing on the health of the community that the editor of Mod-
ern Hos])ital asked Mr. Richard E. Schmidt, the hospital architect, who
has made a special study of this question of building costs, to give his
views on the subject. Mr. Schmidts statement follows:

The belief that the cost of hospitals built at present prices is very mucli higher
than the cost of similar buildings prior to the great war is no doubt due to the tre-
mendous increase in the prices of many commodities with which hospital trustees
and managers have become familiar, to their great discomfiture and embarrassment,
in the purchase of articles required in the conduct of their hospitals. Since 1914.
wheat has advanced 93 per cent, paper 82 per cent, feed 83 per cent, coal 115 per cent,
woolens, lard, canned goods, and pork lOl) per cent, corn 186 per cent, and so on to
the 500 per cent advance in some of the necessary drugs, whereas building supplies
average an increase of about 30 per cent.

That these advances in building material can be discounted by the architect who
is expert in hospital design and who knows where economy can be obtained by using
suitable materials of the lowest cost and limiting the quantities of all the material to
a minimum, without detracting from the efficiency of the building, is evidenced by
the cost of buildings built in 1912-1913 and proposals which have recently been re-
ceived on the plans and specifications for several new buildings. They are as follows:

One $200,000 complete new building without power house, contracted for in 1912,
31.6 cents per cubic foot.

One $100,000 complete new building without power house, contracted lor in 1918.
36.3 cents per cubic foot, an increase of 15 per cent.

One hospital, complete, including power house, contracted fur in 1914, 31 cents
per cubic foot.

.•\ hospital of similar size and arrangement, contracted for late in 1917, is costing
36.9 cents per cubic foot, which is an increase of 19 per cent, but the increase could
have been reduced to IS or 16 per cent if the owners had consented to a substitution
of cheaper materials for a part of the steel trim and tile floors, which are to be used
throughout the building.

.\ first-class apartment house, built in 1911, cost 19.45 cents per cubic foot. A simi-
lar apartment house, which returns higher rentals but is not located so well, built
late in 1917, cost 22.3 cents per cubic foot, an increase of 15 per cent. The one built
in 1917 is fully as good in quality as the former and equal to it in appearance.

The firm of architects which furnished the quoted figures built hospitals without
))ower houses, in 1911 to 1914. at costs ranging from 27 to 43 cents per cubic foot,
proving that unit costs varied over a wide range before the war; that some hospitals
cost more per cubic foot than others are costing today, and that the difficulties occa-
sioned by the site in the delivery of materials, uneconomical height, occupation of
irregular-shaped property, and the selection of expensive materials to satisfy taste or
fancy are factors in cost more important than the increased cost of building supplies.

New methods of building construction are now available which reduce the quan-
tities of material, using them in shapes where maximum efficiency is obtained with a
resulting economy not only of the materials themselves but also in transport costs
and labor of handling and placing.

The result of unemployment in the building industry is causing contractors to
figure closer and to reduce their percentage of profit to maintain their organizations.

There is very little likelihood that prices will be reduced for many years; they
certainly will remain as high as they arc while the war lasts, and will increase when
the enormous demand for materials and rebuilding begins again abroad.

Any man can easily verify the fact that prices never fell to the level which pre-
vailed before the Civil War and that this occurred after every war in modern history.
Labor is better paid than it has been at any time, and the prevailing value of the dol-
lar has fallen. .Ml industries, and hospitals as well, must conduct their business on
the new basis so that the thinking and cautious man will not waste much time think-
ing about the increased cost of building as compared to the 50 and 300 per cent
increase in nearly all other commodities, but will seek to secure the benefit derived
from immediate action.

run akchituct .ixn hxgixehr loi

Architecture That Makes the Observer Sigh

'< A RCHITECTURE is the art of designing a building, which will not
/-\ only he handsome today, but will be handsome fifty years hence,
when the styles have changed," wrote George Fitch. "There are
thousands of handsome structures in America today, but that is largely
because we have gotten used to them. There are also thousands of
middle-aged buildings which cause the casual observer to sigh for a pair
of blinders. Most of these buildings were handsome when they were de-
signed ; but the people ha\'e recovered from the taste which allowed them
to admire their particular varieties of warts, i^rotuberances, bulges, fret
work, low-browed porches and jig-sawed jamborees.

"Architecture is one of the noblest of callings, because it produces
beauty which makes glad the eye from century to century. The patient
architects who designed the cathedrals of Europe 800 years ago for two
shillings per day have long been dust, but people still travel thousands
of miles to view their work and to grow and expand esthetically while
gazing into the soaring vaults of ])illared naves.

"If it wasn't for its architecture, Europe wouldn't be worth living in.
It is a great tribute to America to say that it is worth li\ing in spite of
its architecture. .America has many fine architects who produce beautiful
buildings in spite of contractors, building committees and tables of esti-
mated income. But it also has many architects who consider that they
have done well when they have tastefully arranged a few windows bor-
rowed from different schools of design in a stone wall and have balanced
a miscellaneous assortment of towers, spires and domes on top of the

".America is full of frame houses designed by occu])ants of some \'io-
lent ward: of modest homes designed by a cutter of cheese; and of nuid

Online LibraryThomas Babington Macaulay MacaulayThe Architect & engineer of California and the Pacific Coast (Volume v.52-53 (Jan.-June 1918)) → online text (page 40 of 55)