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Not Quite Qualifying

One of the points that I felt has to be made in discussing early skyscrapers in The Structure of Skyscrapers in America was that the issues discussed apply to buildings outside the specific boundaries of my research. My research was specifically on buildings ten stories and taller, structurally complete by the end of 1900, but technological changes don’t turn on a dime. A nine-story building, or one constructed in 1904, will have virtually identical structure to one of the forms that I analyzed for the book. This is important because it means that my research is applicable to thousands of buildings, not just the 440 or so I studed.

The building above is 366 Broadway, where OSE has performed a number of projects over the years. It was constructed in 1909 but it is physically identical to the steel-skeleton office loft buildings I discuss in the book. It is also a good example of an 1890-1930 Manhattan phenomenon: the essential similarity of high-rise office and loft buildings. Very few tall loft buildings – for light manufacturing and light warehousing – were constructed outside of New York, and even fewer outside New York were in the commercial heart of a city. Tall loft buildings in New York were given ornate facades and so blend in well with adjacent office structures.