United States. National Archives and Records Servi.

The Architect & engineer of California and the Pacific Coast (Volume v.29 (May-July 1912)) online

. (page 19 of 40)
Online LibraryUnited States. National Archives and Records ServiThe Architect & engineer of California and the Pacific Coast (Volume v.29 (May-July 1912)) → online text (page 19 of 40)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

nor can say until it is one living civic organism in expression as in existence.

There are certain disadvantages in planning a city entirely beforehand —
it is not always possible to foresee how a city is going to grow or how it
should grow in order to make the best of it- opportunities.

Washington is an example of that: a shining example of a beautiful
city, a hat city, planned by a man of exceedingly brilliant imagination.
L'Enfant laid out Washington with the idea that it was to grow outward
in front of I he Capitol. The very fact that it had been planned to grow in
front of the Capitol chanced to make it grow in the opposite direction:
land was bought up by speculators and held at such prices that it was
impossible for the city to grow naturally ami easily in that direction.
Human activities like other natural forces will move in the line of least
resistance, and the city grew out back of the Capitol. It did not make
much difference. I dare say. in the eventual beauty of the city; it merely-
made a difference in the direction of the city's growth. The Capitol turns
its back to the main portion of the city ( which may be a significant atti-
tude for it to take or not, as you like to look upon it) ; but at any rate,
the modern city is all back of the Capitol, instead of as L'Enfant had
anticipated. Now the city having once been laid out fell into the doldrums
of those middle ages of our country's history, the middle of the last century,

The Architect and Engineer 85

when art was about as lifeless as ever it was in recorded time. The old
plan of L'Enfant was laid mi the shelf and forgotten. No one thought
it was worth while to continue mi the magnificent lines which had been
laid out. But in response to the great movement which has made itself
felt and has grown with ever-increasing power upon the convictions of our
country, Washington, too, has awakened, and only a few years ago the
great plan of L'Enfant was hunted up in the archives, shaken free from
its cobwebs, and set up again as the standard round which might rally
all of the artistic forces, all of the esthetic instincts of our people. And
the magnificent civic center of Washington, — the Mall leading down from
the Capitol to the Monument, and on beyond to the Potomac at the site
of the future monument to Lincoln — is now in process of being constructed.
Already you can get a glimpse of its beauty and of its grandeur, even by
the little blocks of buildings, — not so little either, save in comparison with
the whole, — which are being put down here and there sparsely along its

It is possible to plan ahead, but it is often necessary to execute behind,
and that is San Francisco'-, position to-day. San Francisco has planned
ahead tremendously and worthily; she will realize her destiny in that
plan one of these days. But it may not be identically along the lines that
have been laid out, any more than Washington has grown along precisely
the lines that L'Enfant had anticipated. It does not throw L'Enfant's
plan out of the running for one minute to say that the City of Washington
grew in the opposite direction. Laugh at L'Enfant if you like, but in
the next instant you have to stand with your hat off and recognize that
all of the essentials of his thought are there, lie foresaw it all; and though
he thought the city was going there and it went here, it makes no differ-
ence. The city has grown ami is growing out of the great thought that
he conceived and it will continue to grow in accordance therewith.

So San Francisco, holding in abeyance for the moment the great plan
which was laid out by Mr. Burnham some years ago, stepping aside per-
haps from the letter of certain lines of that plan, is, nevertheless, going
to realize her ambitions in the execution of plans which will derive from
the "Burnham Plan" even although no details, no single element of the
entire composition can be found upon the old lay-out.

It is precisely the same case with the University of California, with
whose architectural plans I happen to be connected. The Phoebe A.
Hearst Plan is there, a living organism, which adjusts itself to every
newly announced need of the University; not a cut-and-dried thing
which is to be carried out in arbitrary lines precisely as it has been laid
down regardless of changing conditions which it is impossible to foresee
beyond a certain point. Every modification is studied with a view to the
preservation of the ensemble so thai at all times it is a consistent whole.

The plan of San Francisco is essentially the same whether you locate
the Civic Center at the corner of Van Xess Avenue and Market or the cor-
ner of Eighth and Market, or the comer of Larkiu and Fulton, or wherever
you put it, except that it is important to have it in the best place. In
any case the idea is there; the man behind the gun, the great thought, is
there; and the mere transference of that idea from one point to a position
two or three blocks away, makes little difference. Nor does a change in
detail change the spirit of the project.. The great idea is the governing
condition always.

Have I said very much about the significance of the Civic Center? I
hardly know;. Vet I think the drift of my meaning is clear. There is one

86 The Architect and Engineer

thought which travels through my talk like a gleaming clue through a
labyrinth — one thought, ami that is, that the Civic Center signifies the
unity of the community of which it is the practical need, the esthetic end
and the spiritual expression. To me the Civic Center of San Francisco
means, to-day, "Get together!" Tomorrow and for the time to come it
will mean "San Francisco has got together, and she stands, at last, made
one!" (Applause)

Building Concrete Houses Without "Forms"

AS showing the possibility of making concrete serve as its own form
by erecting the work by stages the following description furnished
by John J. Smith, architect and concrete engineer, Boston, Mass.,
may not be without interest to many of our readers.

I lie foundation wall was of reinforced concrete built without wood
forms. Expanded metal rib studs were set up 14 inches apart and a stiff
metal lath wired to both sides of studs (which are made (i inches apart)
gave a form for the wall and also provided reinforcement set up in place.
The outside "f these walls was given a heavy coat of cement mortar con-
taining a little lime and hair. This when set made a rigid hollow wall
which was then filled solid with concrete mixed in the usual way ("but not
too well in proportion 1:2:4. The walls, both inside and out, were floated
td a sand finish with a wooden trowel. This made a very strong substan-
tial wall built without wooden forms and only required a single bracing
for the metal studs, using a piece of 2x4 as a straight edge and bracing
either inside or outside, as most convenient, by driving stakes in the ground.
The walls of the house were made by setting up 2x4 studding similar
to the balloon frame, but omitting the corner and other posts, also the
girts and substituting in place of these solid concrete posts and girts rein-
forced with two pieces of the metal rib studs, which for the girts were bent
in the form of a truss. Metal strips were nailed to the studding on which
were applied metal lath ; this was then coated with cement mortar, using
lime and hair sufficient to make it trowel readily. The metal lath was
backed up on the inside with a cement mortar, so as to bury the metal at
least 1 inch. The outside was then given a second coat of cement mortar
made three of clean, sharp sand and one of cement. This is mixed with
a waterproofing compound and stippled, while the wall is green, with a
mixture of one of sand and one of cement well beaten to the consistency
of a thick cream and applied with a kind of brush made by tying together
a bunch of light twigs.

Lenten Sacrifice

A fashionable architect in a city on the line of the Erie Canal raises
his fashionable standard to the highest power by using a hyphen between
the last two of his three names. The other day one of his friends, to>
whom the hyphen always has been a matter to be treated irreverently,
came upon the architect as he was registering in a Fifth avenue hotel.

"Hi, Bill," cried the disrespectful one, thumping the architect on the
back, "you've gone and left the hyphen out of your signature !"

"I know it," cooed the architect. "But it's Lent, you know. As I have
to give up something, I give up the hyphen." — Xew York Press.

The Architect and Engineer



The Architect and Engineer

Daniel Hudson Bitruh,

The Architect and Engineer 89

Daniel Hudson Burnham, Architect

DANIEL HUDSON BURNHAM one of the best known and most
distinguished architects in this country, died at Heidelberg, Germany,
June 1. He was 61 years old. Mr. Burnham was well known on
the Pacific Coast where a number of large commercial buildings stand as
monuments to his architectural genius.

Mr. Burnham was a pioneer in modern building methods and the orig-
inator of many of the standard forms now in general use in skyscraper
construction. His was the task to standardize the essential elements,
to apportion renting space to lot area, elevator service to renting space,
to minimize the cost of construction and to increase the efficiency of
operation. The upkeep and the care of office buildings was also his task
The precedents established by him in the construction of the Mills build-
ing more than twenty years ago, are models that are followed to this day.

As Chief of Construction. Director of Works and Chairman of the
Hoard of Architects of the Chicago Fair, Mr. Burnham was the dominant
spirit that guided, controlled and made possible the great success that was
there achieved, his first act being to surround himself with the great architects,
sculptors and painters of that day. Chas. F. McKim, Richard M. Hunt, ( ieorge
B. Post. Augustus Saint Gaudens and Francis D. Millett all sought and found
in his sympathy, opportunit) for full expression of their ideals.

President McKinley, appointed Mr. Burnham Chairman of the Wash-
ington Plans Commission, upon which were McKim. Saint Gaudens, and
Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr. The work of this Commission was the be-
ginning of the city planning movement.

Mr. Burnham with his distinguished confreres founded and supported
out of their private purse an American School of Architecture, Painting,
Sculpture, and Music in Rome. This School has now Income an institu-
tion of the United States Government.

The National Commission of Fine Arts established under Federal authority
by President Roosevelt and re-established by President Taft had Mr. Burnham
for its chairman.

The Chicago orchestra, built up under the leadership of the late Theodore
Thomas, had among its original supporters and founders Mr. Burnham,
to whose active interest it owes a large part of its success.

Besides the plan of Washington, Mr. Burnham was active in the plans
of the cities of Cleveland, San Francisco, Manila. Chicago, and with the
assistance of Mr. Edward H. Bennett with the plans of Minneapolis, Port-
land and Detroit and quite recently at his suggestion, Mr. Bennett was
retained to prepare a city plan for the borough of Brooklyn, New York.

Mr. Burnham was closely ^identified with the building up of many of the
great commercial houses of Chicago, and was a member of the Executive
Board of the Commercial National Bank of that city.

Mr. Burnham was a big man physically and of a personality that
dominated those about him. In many tilings he was a pioneer and obsta-
cles fell away before the force of his will. He was a poet, an artist, a musi-
cian, an architect and a business man. Always generous and liberal with
his confreres, always ready to help where help was needed. His states-
manship was of the constructive order. His tolerant spirit never having
an unkind word in opposition to the plans of others.

90 The Architect and Engineer

The Law Regulating the Practice of Architecture

By ROBERT MORGENEIER, Architect and Engineer


THE percipitation of a building into the excavation for the new Kahn
Building on Broadway. Oakland, such building having stood on the

property line of the land being excavated, naturally raises the inquiry,
"Who must pay the damages"? Answering this inquiry, and also to cau-
tion architects, it may be well to say a few words on this subject:
Although the subject pertains more to the law of operations preliminary
to construction in engineering and architecture, it may suddenly intrude
itself as a very important factor into those operations following later on,
as recently shown in the Kahn building project, and. therefore, should stand
clearly in view when the matter of excavating is under consideration, and
long before any work is actually done.

At common law. every person making earthworks mi. or in his own
land, whether by surface excavations or underground pits, is bound so to
work as not to cause any subsidence of the original soil of his neighbor.
In other words, every man is entitled to have his land in its natural state
supported by the land of his neighbor. It is not a question whether the
workings are skillfully or unskillfully conducted: the right to support for
the soil itself is an absolute right, which the adjoining owner is not entitled
to infringe, whether by skillful workings or otherwise.

The common law guarantees to adjoiners the lateral and subjacent
support which his land receives from the adjoining land, hut this right
is subject to the right of the adjoining owner to make excavations for
construction if he uses ordinary care to sustain the land of the other, and
^ire reasonable previous notice of his intentions.

One who undertakes improvements on his land which endangers the
structures on his neighbor's land is bound to give notice of the intended
improvements and to use ordinary care and skill in making them.

California has statutes which provide that each coterminous owner is
entitled to the lateral and subjacent support which his land received from
the adjoining land, subject to the right of the owner of the adjoining land
to make proper and useful excavations for the purpose of construction by
using ordinary care and skill and taking reasonable precautions to sus-
tain the land of the other, and by giving reasonable previous notice of
intention to make excavations.

Now, however, take notice, that a land owner is entitled to lateral sup-
port from the lot of an adjoining owner only for the soil of this lot in a
natural state and not for a building placed on the land. Such right to
lateral support does not extend to the support of any additional weight or

A land owner can require of his neighbor to furnish only so much
lateral support as is required to sustain the land in its natural undis-
turbed state. If an adjoining owner excavates nearer the boundary than
such a limit, he is bound to furnish support to the land by artificial means,
as by a retaining wall. If such a support is furnished, the excavation may
be made up to the dividing line.

The artificial support is then substituted for the natural support of the
soil, and it may be of any material provided it is sufficient for the purpose
and it is continued so as to maintain the land in its proper position.

If a man builds his house at the extremity of his land, he does not
thereby acquire any right of easement for support or otherwise over the

The Architect and Engineer 91

land of his neighbor. He has no right to load his soil so as to make it
require the support of that of his neighbor, unless he has some grant to
that effect.

One who erects a building on the line of his own land is himself in
fault if he has increased the lateral pressure so as to prevent the adjoining
owner from excavating upon his own land. A man who builds a house
adjoining his neighbor's land should foresee the probable use of the adjoin-
ing land, and by convention with his neighbor, or by a different arrange-
ment of his house, secure himself against further interruption or inconven-

An injury done to an adjoining building by reason of an excavation
upon the adjoining land made with proper care and skill is dannuiu absque

While each owner may build upon and improve his own estate at his
pleasure, provided he does not infringe upon the natural rights of his
neighbor, no one can by his own acts enlarge the liability of his neighbor
by an interference with this natural right. If a man is not content to
enlarge his land in its natural condition, but wishes to build upon it or
improve it. he must either make an agreement with his neighbor, or dig
the foundations so deep, or take such other precautions as to insure
the stability of his buildings or improvements, whatever excavations the
neighbor may afterwards make upon his own land in the exercise of his right.

In the cities of Xew York and Brooklyn the common law rule of
lateral support has been modified.

In 1885 the legislature of the State of Xew York interposed to regu-
late the exercise, by owners of land, of the right of excavation, and to
afford the owners of buildings a new protection from excavations on
adjoining lands. By this Act ((hap. 6, Laws 1855) it is declared that
wdienever excavations on any lot in Xew York or Brooklyn should be
intended to be carried to the depth of more than ten feet below the curb,
and there shall be any party or other wall wholly or partly on adjoining
land, and standing upon or near the boundary lines of such lot, the person
causing such excavations to be made, if afforded the necessary license
to enter on the adjoining land, and not otherwise, shall, at all times from
the commencement until the completion of such excavation, at his own
expense preserve the wall from injury, and so support the same by a
proper foundation that it shall remain as stable as before such excavation
was commenced.

Under this act it has been held that in order to subject the person
making the excavation to the expense of protecting the adjoining wall,
he must be afforded the necessary license to enter the land : that the
license must be explicit and sufficient to protect him. and it should be
given by all persons who would be injuriously affected by such acts.

The act, however, does not require the owner of the adjoining land to
tender a license in order to receive the benefit of the statute, but it causes
the party causing such excavation to be made to request permission to
enter and proceed with the excavation without injuring the wall.

If he fails so to do, he is liable for the damages.

The adjoining owner is only required to grant such a license to enter
his premises when requested.

After the license to enter and make excavation has been granted and
the adjoining owner has excavated below the old wall and has inserted
needle beams to sustain it. his right to build a new wall to the extent
that the old wall has been shored up may not be denied.

92 The Architect and Engineer

An owner of land who excavates to a depth lower than the foundation
of a building on the adjoining lot, having failed to notify the owner of
the building- to protect his property, will be liable for the fall of the
foundation wall if it is caused by the failure to do anything which ordinary
care and diligence in such operations point out as necessary to protect it.

So long as the excavation does not extend beyond the owner's land
and not negligently or unskillfully made, any injury to adjacent owners
must be borne by such owners.

The excavation must be such as would not have caused any appreciable
damage to the adjoining land in its natural state.

A land owner who excavates for a basement or cellar under his house
on his land, using ordinary care and skill, after due notice to the adjoin-
ing owner, is net liable to the latter, although in digging, on his own land
he digs so near the foundation of such adjoining owner's house as to cause
it to settle or fall.

If notice of a contemplated excavation has been given the owner mak-
ing the excavation is bound only to a reasonable degree of care and skill.

In excavating he has a right to go below an adjacent owner's founda-
tion wall, even thought it is reasonably certain that such foundation walls
will be endangered thereby, and after giving due notice to such adjacent
owner, the person excavating is chargeable only with reasonable care; it
being the duty of the adjacent owner to use the necessary appliances to
protect his building. *

* *

Building Foundations in Quicksand

IX electing the eleven-story dormitory annex of the West Side Young
Men's Christian Association a rather interesting problem presented itself
and that was the building of the foundations in a basin of quicksand
through which ran a stream of water. The new building is on West
Fifty-sixth street. New York City, and on one side is the present dormitory
of the Association and on the other, a seven-story apartment house.
Foundations of both buildings rest on this basin of quicksand and to exca-
vate for a foundation beneath the level of the footings of these two adjoin-
ing buildings meant that the quicksand would ooze from beneath them
and both structures be undermined.

In successfully performing this engineering feat piles were first sunk
through the quicksand to bed rock, the piles varying in length from 20 to
45 feet, due to the slope of the rock surface underneath. So treacherous
was the quicksand that the piles could not be driven with the ordinary
drop hammer for the reason that the vibration would have a tendency to
destroy or injure the adjoining buildings and it was therefore necessary
to use a steam hammer having a sharp blow.

. There is a swimming pool 20x60 feet in the basement of the new dor-
mitory and to provide for this caused the architect and builder no little
concern, as the foundations for the pool and a portion of the pool itself
extend below the footings of the adjoining buildings. It was evident that
if an excavation was started for the pool the quicksands would fill in as
quickly as taken out. Something rather novel, therefore, in foundation
construction was finally decided upon. At the time the piles were sunk
a wall of sheet steel piling was driven down all around the lot. thus effectu-
allv preventing- any movement of the quicksand. Excavation for the swim-
ming pool was then made without danger to the surrounding property, the
pool resting on a reinforced concrete bed, which in turn is supported by the
piles. — The Building Age.

The Architect and Engineer 93

Vacuum Cleaning — What It Is What It Does and
How It Does It

By G. P.. F. OWEN.*

PROMINENT among twentieth century utilities vacuum cleaning has
taken its place with magic strides. Ten years ago it was unknown. To-
day everyone knows something about it. even though such knowledge
goes no further than familiarity with its name. Our effort will be to offer a
simple and non-technical explanation of this marvelous invention.

Vacuum Cleaning is not vacuum cleaning! Vacuum does not and can
not clean. The cleaning medium is air, and vacuum denotes absence of
air. Hence, reduced to its simplest form, "Vacuum cleaning" is in reality
"air cleaning."

In the most perfect way and in the shortest possible time it removes
dust and dirt from every surface with which the cleaning tool comes in
contact, conveying the dust through a system of piping at incredible speed
to an air tight receptacle in the basement, whence it is periodically removed
for final disposition.

Briefly stated, the enormously rapid flow of air into the cleaning tool
through the body of the carpet or fabric being cleaned carries with it every
particle of dust that lies in its track. The size and more or less rapid mo-
tion of a cleaning tool over the surface to be cleaned will determine the
speed with which the work can be done, but there are other considerations
making for efficiency that will lie explained a little later on in detail.

Vacuum Cleaning is not only an art. — an industry. — but a science. The
physical laws governing it are very few, very simple, but inexorable.

A certain volume of air must be moved at a certain velocity to do per-
fect work. An acceptable system must combine those two factors, with a
third equally important, viz: The cost in money of producing the wished-
for result. Let us see how these factors can be coaxed into harmony, and
at the same time we shall see how impossible it is to produce the desired
result without harmonization of these features. We shall then be prepared

Online LibraryUnited States. National Archives and Records ServiThe Architect & engineer of California and the Pacific Coast (Volume v.29 (May-July 1912)) → online text (page 19 of 40)