United States. National Archives and Records Servi.

The Architect & engineer of California and the Pacific Coast (Volume v.26 (Aug.-Oct. 1911)) online

. (page 33 of 42)
Online LibraryUnited States. National Archives and Records ServiThe Architect & engineer of California and the Pacific Coast (Volume v.26 (Aug.-Oct. 1911)) → online text (page 33 of 42)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

working association in quarters fit for the finest, is sufficient guarantee for
the future.

-Myron Hunt is president, Frank Schacfifer is vice-president, and Henry
Edgar Bean is secretary and treasurer.


The Architect and Engineer


-^ /^

rri <■


Sketch for a Permanent Museum and Art Gallery to he Built on Nob Hi//, San Francisco,

Entirely of California Materials, at an Estimated Cost of $1,500,000

H<-nr\' C. Smith. Architect

Design for a San Francisco Residence in Presidio Terrace
Henry C. Smith, Architect

The .Irchitrct and l:ii^iiiccr 65

Copyright in Architecture

Thr ijucstioii of cof'ynfilitiiif^ ['hiiis and spccificalimis of a building is nnilating the
profession in Rurofc, and the matter has gone so far as to be debated in the House of
Commons. It is unciueslionahly a live subject and one that is likely to receive the
attention of the American Institute at its forthcoming session in Washington. Very
recently a case involving the copyright question came up in a Paris court when it was
asked to decide the controverted copyright of a house.

It appears that an architect at Boulogiie-sur-Scinc had erected sez'cral apartment
houses on a plot of ground belonging to him and had devised an original facade of
colored bnchs. He at least considered it original, for 7i'hen the liouses ti'cre completed he
had a plate with an inscription placed on the -cvatls to the effect that the facade of the
houses -MIS his copyright, and imitations were prohibited.

Seeing a building in Paris some time after-ward which had just been completed, the
architect thought that the facade, which also -livs of colored bricks, -was an imitation of
his oti'n. He began a la-w suit against the o-wner and the architect for infringement of the
copyright la-ws, but soon after-ward he died. His heirs continued the la-w suit, -which has
now been decided by the court.

Three e.vperts -were called. They agreed that the facade of the houses at Boulogne-
sur-Seine -was peculiar and might even be allo-wed the protection of the copyright lazvs,
but on the other hand the house built in Paris was equally Original and there xi-as no
proof that it had been copied from the others. The architect, or rather his heirs, therefore
lost the case.

The folio-wing editorial on "Coypright in Architeclure." appeared in a recent issue of
the London Times:

THE clause in the Ctipyris^ht liill which creates a copyright in architec-
ture was the subject of an interesting debate in the House of Commons
recently, in the course of which strong arguments were advanced on
both sides. It was pointed out by Mr. Joynson-Hicks that there has never
been any kind of copyright, or indeed any kind of recognition, of an archi-
tect's exclusive right to his own ideas in any of the great ages of architec-
ture. Indeed, architecture grew in those ages by the universal ];>ractice of
what we should call plagiarism. Gothic architecture developed with such
rapidity in I'Vance just because every builder made it his aim, not to be
original, but to improve on the work of former builders. This is true
enough, but we have to remember that all the circumstances and conditions
of the art were different then than now. The architect hardly existed; at
least, he was not recognized as an independent artist. He was rather the
chief of the masons in the employment, often permanent, of some great
religious or civic corporation, which ]:)robably paid him wages like any
other workman. Therefore, provided he kept his employment, it did not
matter to him how much his work was copied. But the architect now is in
a verj- different position. He is a professional man usually paid by the
piece, and paid particularly for his invention, like a modern painter or nov-
elist. It is difficult to see why he should not have the protection they
receive, if it can be given to him ; for nowadays an ajrchitect can get a
reputation, and so unfairly compete with other architects, by merely copy-
ing their designs, since the more he copies and the less he invents for
himself the more work he can do. While they are spending time and
energy upon their own designs, he is economizing both by stealing the
designs of others. In fact, he is thriving by theft, and it is only just that
the law should prevent him from gaining a dishonest livelihood if it can.

Thefts of this kind are not likely to adx-ance the art; and the solicitor-
general tells us that the clause is only directed against them. The question,
therefore, is whether it can prevent them without causing a great deal of
troublesome and costly litigation. In its wording it extends copyright to
"the construction of architectural works of art." The .solicitor-general
admitted that it was not easy in every case to say whether a piece of archi-

66 The Arcliitcct and Engineer

tecture was artistic, but that, he contended, was a difficulty inherent in the
law of copyright. But it is a difficulty that applies more to architecture
than to pictures or music or plays; since the purpose of these is always
supposed to be mainly artistic, whereas architecture has a practical purpose
of equal importance. The common notion, which is likely to be shared by
judges, is that architecture is artistic only in its ornament, whereas it may
be quite plain and yet a great work of art by reason of the expression of
its uses in its structure. A judge might mistake a masterpiece of this kind
for a work of pure utility ; and he could not make such a mistake about a
picture or a play, for they have no useful purpose. The solicitor general
added that the difficulty of applying the law fell upon the architect, and that
in his opinion the architect would very rarely be able to apply it.

One might say that, in that case, the clause is worthless ; but really it
may have considerable prohibitive value. We have to remember that
alreadv it is against the law for one architect to copy the plans of another;
the new clause only makes it illegal for him to copy the actual building by
means of photographs or other devices. And since a trained architect can
easily make a plan from a photograph, it would be inconsistent to prohibit
one means of plagiarism and not the other. The solicitor-general admitted
frankly that the clause was an experiment that might not produce any
results at all. But if not a single action is ever founded on it, it is not
therefore to be condemned as futile ; for the fear of it may teach honesty
to the dishonest. The worst it can do is to encourage unprofitable litiga-
tion ; but the professional feeling of architects is likely to prevent that. We
may expect that action will be taken in flagrant cases, if they occur, by
architectural bodies rather than by individuals ; and a few such actions, if
successful, will probably put an end to dishonest practices. Nor is the
fear of litigation likely to hamper any architect of original powers. He will
not take photographs or elaborate notes of other architects' buildings for
purposes of plagiarism ; and in case of chance resemblance between a build-
ing of his own and a building of some other architect he will be able to
prove that the resemblance is chance. The law in France and Germany is
already what this clause will make it in England, and it appears to have
aroused no complaints in those countries.


* *

Why a Granite Statue was Rejected

THERE has frequently been comment on the naivete often revealed by
the ancient artists and stone carvers. There is not a Gothic cathedral
but furnishes ludicrous examples, and paintings are treasured in the
old churches that would call out nothing but laughter were it not for the
earnestness and childlike devotion of the artists. One scarcely expects to
see this same delightful naivete in modern work, but an instance is fur-
nished by a recent granite job at Barre, Vt. A few weeks ago there was
completed at one of the sheds on an order from a woman at Buft'alo, N. Y.,
a life-sized statue in granite of the Virgin and child. The work was
shipped, but was returned, as the woman who gave the commission
objected to the Van Dyke beard on the child in the arms of the Virgin.
The reason for a beard and mustache on the Christ child is not known, and
the head of the firm would say nothing on the subject. It was rumored,
however, that the firm received the order for a statue of the Virgin with
the Christ child in her arms, and workmen carved the face of the Christ as
they had seen it in pictures, with a full beard, although the body is that of
an infant. The statue is of excellent workmanship and worth in the vicinity
of $1000, but it will probably take a little work with a chisel on the beard
before a ready purchaser is found.

The Architect and Riigiiiccr 67

Architectural Terra Cotta

IN AN Architectural League exhibition, about fifteen >ears ago, a small
store front of highly colored terra cotta erected against one wall of the
Vanderbilt gallery aroused general interest in that it represented about
the first tentative effort to impress upon the architects and the public the
possibilities of this interesting material for exterior design.

More than ten vcars later the Madison Square Presbyterian church
was begun, and this may be said to be the first notable example of the use
of polychrome terra cotta throughout all portions of the exterior of an
important building. During this interval and for some time previous there
had been evident a steadily increasing interest in the texture and color of
the various materials employed in the execution of exterior design, and a
better understandmg of the interrelation of color and texture. The soft
gray tones of unpaintecl shingles, the intersecting sparkle of rubble walls
built of discolored and moss-grown field stone, the subtle suggestion of
pattern due to the presence of black headers in rough brick walls with wide
joints, all testified increasingly to the desire for color united with agreeable
texture, and helped to make general an appreciation of the fact that strong
color contrasts must be unitctl with agreeable tcxtural quality in order to
be architecturally acceptable.

This period was rendered notable for the purposes of this discussion by
the newly-built museum of the University of Pennsylvania, a building
which perhaps illu.strates better than any other example that we have, how
vigorously color contrasts may be used for the enrichment of our facades
without destroying the necessary repose, by combining and surrounding
them with carefully studied surface textures. Furthermore, as an example
of the color effect that may be obtained by carefully studied surface texture
without the introduction of any definite color treatment, we have the
University Club of New York, a building, I believe, unequaled in this
respect. As a preliminary, then, to the introduction of large masses of
glazed and colored terra cotta upon the facades of buildings, public taste
may be said to have developed to the point of realizing the futility of the
efifort to introduce color interests into architecture by such expedients as
the introduction of panels of tile mosaic in the midst of great surfaces of
the traditional Pliiladelphia brick, or other material equally uninteresting
in texture, a characteristic of a certain period of our architecture which
fortunately was a brief one.

I have referred above to the Madison Square Presbyterian church as
the first notable example in this country of the use of polychrome terra
cotta in exterior design. In view of this fact and also of the prominence
of the location of this building, it is, I think, most fortunate that the color
has been applied with great reserve — so much so, in fact, that to one
observing this building from a sufficient distance to grasp the effect of the
entire composition on a bright day the color variation merely serves to
impart a slight vibrant golden glow to the prevailing creamy tone of the
building without in the least diminishing the quietness of the shade and
shadow; but on a gray, overcast day, when the building is seen in diffused
light, the detailed interest of the color treatment immediately becomes
apparent, and thus substitutes another and different kind of interest to
compensate for the loss of the shadow forms. In this respect it seems to me
that this building is deserving of the highest praise, and it is, I believe,
destined to exercise a most salutary influence in restraining those whose
fondness for color contrast might easily lead them to the other extreme. —
J. Monroe Hewlett in the P.rickbuilder.


The Architect and Engineer

Pen and Ink Sketch of Girls' Club Buihiing, San Francisco, California
li'ard S- Blolimc, Architects


ill! I ill


rr i m'^ * m


^r-^^; ; pyr ^ ; - -.^ *"*■ ^''

u-^ - ^a

c:ri icri ijiwr; ^w: is^s^sa - ^^.

Contagious Pavilion of the ChiUlroi's Hosfital, San Francisco, California
li'anl & Blolimc, Architects

The Architect and Hiif;iiiccr 69


Two of Ward & Blohme's Buildings

The two l)uil(linL;s illustrated on the opjiositc pati^-e were designed by
Architects \^'ard and lilohmc of San Francisco. One is a contagious pavilion
for the Children's Hospital and the other is the new home of the Girls' Club
on Capp street. The former is a two-story and basement brick, steel and
concrete fireproof structure, containing four separate contagious compart-
ments each with a separate entrance. The floors will be of cork carpet, the
walls of hard plaster and the entire interior finish will be finished in germ
r);oof enamels. The building is arranged so it may be thoroughly fumigated
or disinfected. A future glass sun room on the roof is jirovided for.

The building will be erected with the \\'. R. Hearst fund which was col-
lected in the East for the fire refugees and afterwards having been found un-
necessary, was turned over to this institution. The total cost will be $.^0,000.

The Girls' Club building is to be a two-story, basement and attic brick
and frame structure. The rear portion or Assembly Hall is of frame construc-
tion and is connected to the main building by means of corridors and court.
The building will have about thirty rooms, consisting of shower rooms, lava-
tories, work rooms, class rooms, rece])tion halls, parlors, library, kitchens, din-
ing rooms and class kitchens for teaching cooking.

The exterior of the Iniilding will be of cedar shingles. There will be an
Italian sunken garden or court in the space between the assembly hall and
main building. Basement walls are to be of klinker brick trimmed with sand-
stone. The structure is expected to be the most complete for this purpose
in the West and marks a long stride in settlement work. The cost of the
building when completed will be in the neighborhood of $20,000.

Paris Objects to the Skyscraper

ARTISTIC Paris is up in arms against the skyscraper. Industrial progress
demands loftier and roomier stores, hotels and warehouses ; the defenders
of art claim that tiie treasures of the old world — the churches, ])alaces,
squares and classic designs of architecture — are in danger of being ruined by
the space-economizing structures of the new.

The true Parisian deplores the advent of change. He feels that his city
is infinitelv superior to anything that can be introduced from America. He
declares streets like the Rue de Rivoli, avenues like the Champs Elysees,
squares like the Place \'cndome and the Place de la Concorde are inimitable,
and to interfere in the least with their jiroportions would be to destroy the
harmony of their lines forever.

It is an extremely delicate and dangerous matter In modernize a city like
Paris, and yet it is clear that a deadly struggle is being ceaselessly waged by
the new against the old, as the elbow room becomes less and the value of the
ground greater. There is only one way out of the difficulty and that is sky-
ward. .\mericans long since discovered this and the "skyscraper" is the solu-
tion they offer to the b'rench.

I'ut while the i'arisian sympathizes with the storekeeper anxious to enlarge
his premises, he declares such a solution is clearly im])ossible for Paris, for it
would quickly destroy the characteristics which are the pride of the city.


* *

"What's the matter, daughter?" "Ferdy and I have parted forever."
"Um. In that case, I s'pose he won't be around for a couple of nights." —

70 The Architect and Engineer

Aubury Continues Crusade for California Materials

STATE jMineralogist Aubury has written a scathing letter to the Secre-
tary of the Treasury, in which he arraigns the supervising architect
of the Treasury Department, J. K. Taylor, and from plans and specifi-
cations prepared by Taylor, shows that charges of discrimination against
California are sustained by official records of the super\'ising architect's

The communication to the Secretary of the Treasury is long and
circumstantial. At the outset Aubury claims that the supervising architect
has stood in .his way in getting access to the plans and specifications, and
gives the text of a letter signed by Taylor, under date of March 30, 1911,
in which Taylor denies the State Mineralogist's request to be permitted
to inspect the records. These words are quoted from Taylor's letter to
Aubur}': "For a number of years you have been accusing this office of
discrimination agamst California products in the construction of public
buildings in that State. The present is a good time for you to substantiate
them or withdraw them. Until you shall have produced some basis for
your accusations more tangible than mere assertions, this office feels justi-
fied in doubting your good faith in the matter, and deems it inadvisable
to comply with your request."

Aubury did not give tip at this rebuff, but continued to seek for a
chance to view tlie plans and specifications, and finally secured it. and
having made an inspection of them, supplies extracts from the official
records, which are given in extenso to the Secretary of the Treasur3\

Incidental to the communication, Auburj^ wrote to the Secretar}' of
the Treastir}'- as follows : "I now renew my charge that the supervising
architect has discriminated against California; that, notwithstanding that
he alleges that he cannot select any stone for use in the construction of a
public building, I aver that he does specify stones and other materials that
can be derived only from particular places and, to substantiate this aver-
ment, I call attention to the wording of plans and specifications as given
hereafter in this letter.

"I charge that the practice of such discriminations is not limited to any
particular instance, but that, so far as official records, prepared under his
direction show, he has adopted a systematic discrimination. In justification
of this charge I appeal to the records, as manifested in extracts that follow:

"I ask that all such discriminations shall cease, not only because of
the financial loss entailed b)' such discriminations, in any particular instance
or set of instances, but also because such discriminations officiallv discredit
the claims of this State in regards to its structural materials that' are found
in vast quantities within its borders. I also ask, in behalf of this State,
that the supervising architect, if the existing order promulgated bv Hon.
J. G. Carlisle, as Secretary of the Treasury, is insufficient to restrain him,
shall be specifically instructed, so that he cannot misconstrue, evade or
quibble with words that are intended to prevent a recurrence or recurrences
of the oflfenses of which his own records show him to have been guilty in
repeated instances."

This is followed up with extracts from plans and specifications in
which it is shown that the supervising architect specified building materials
to be used in the construction of buildings, and that the materials were in
many instances such as are not produced in California. The buildings men-
tioned are the following: Santa Cruz postoffice, Oakland postoffi'ce, San
Diego postoffice. Stockton postoffice. Fresno postoffice and courthouse, and
San Francisco postoffice and courthouse.

The Architect and Engineer 71

In conclusion, Anbury wrote to the Secretary of the Treasury: "I
believe that the above data will prove sufficient to substantiate the charges
made by me, some time since, that the supervising architect of the Treasury
Department, in drawing plans and specifications for Government buildings
in this State has not only Ijccn guilty of discriminations against California
building stones, but also of a direct disobedience of orders as outlined in a
letter by Hon. J- G. Carlisle, as Secretary of the Treasury. There are other
buildings in California concerning which I have been unable, as yet, to
secure the facts that I desire. However, I am contented to consider this a
justification of the charges made by me."

As to the charges of discrimination alleged by Anbury, there is no
better evidence to support them than the buildings themselves. .\n
inspection of the following Government buildings erected in California,
and the building stones with which they are constructed, fully support the
State Mineralogist in his contention. Some of the buildings noted are:

Santa Cruz Postoffice — Exterior, Kyiine (Utah) .sandstone; interior, Vermont and
Tennessee marble.

Oakland Postoffice — Exterior, Kynnc (Utah) sandstone; interior, Vermont and Ten-
nessee marble.

San Diego Postoffice and Custom House — Interior, Vermont marble.

Stockton Postoffice — Exterior, Kyune (Utah) sandsone ; interior, Vermont, Georgia
and Tennessee marble.

Fresno Postoffice — Exterior stone work, Bedford (Indiana) limestone, eastern gray
facing brick; interior, Vermont and Tennessee marble.

Sacramento Postoffice and Courthouse — Exterior, Arizona sandstone ; interior, Ver-
mont marble.

San Francisco Postoffice and Courthouse — Interior, Vermont, Tennessee, Italian,
African and Belgian marbles.

Los Angeles Postoffice and Courthouse — Exterior, .-Xrizona sandstone ; interior, Ver-
mont and Italian marbles.

Santa Rosa Postoffice — E.xterior, stone base, Bedford (Indiana) sandstone; roof,
"Spanish' 'tile from St. Louis, Mo. ; interior. Vermont marble.

A Concrete House Dream

"Your concrete house proposition amuses me more than anything I
have seen in America," said W. W. Dunwood, of Manchester, England,
according to the Retail Lumberman.

"Now you propose to build a mold of metal and duplicate all of the
houses froiii the original mold. What a jolly looking country you will
soon have. The raihvay trust, I can see, for example, will in time buy a
depot mold and it will turn out a hundred thousand depots and plant them
around the States. They will all be precisely alike.

"Then you will have contracting firms which own molds for special
houses. All the seven-room houses in all the States will be the same.

"This might not appeal to the Italian or the Frenchman as extremely
artistic, but 1 can see an advantage. When a man lives in a seven-room
house in Indiana and suddenly switches out to California he will feel quite
at home, and his furniture will fit, and possibly even the house cat will
think it her old Indiana homestead, and not even bother to return to her
native State.

"All your barns, garages, municipal buildings, postoffices. jails, etc., I
suppose, will be all alike. The idea is dcli.ghtful and thoroughly .\merican
and original.

"It will save visitors from Europe lots of trouble. They can visit only
one city, and when they return home they can' safely talk about any Amer-
ican city which comes up for discussion."


The Architect and Engineer

Failure of Wire Glass from Exposure by Fire Within a Building. Note
Condition of Metal Frames, and that Glass Alone Failed


The Architect and liiii^iiiccr





.];.'.■-'/:■-.■! / ^.v' Showing I-J!r,t of Ext"Surc of Wire Giiiss li'indoivS frou.
Fire Inside Building

Failure of Wire Glass to Resist Severe Heat

THE photographs reproduced here show the effect of intense heat on wire
glass windows, and tlis])rove the claim of wire glass manufacturers
that their material will withstand almost any amount of heat. The
results as shown in the photograps fully substantiate the fire protection
engineer's opinion that wired glass is good only for moderate expanse.
The photographs are reproduced from the last quarterly report of the
National Fire Protection Association, of Boston, Mass.

Online LibraryUnited States. National Archives and Records ServiThe Architect & engineer of California and the Pacific Coast (Volume v.26 (Aug.-Oct. 1911)) → online text (page 33 of 42)