Saturday, February 4, 2012

1876, The American Architect and Building News.

1876, Jan.-June, American Architect and Building News, Volume 1, Part 1, 1876,


March 11, 1876, The American Architect and Building News. Summary, Page 81,

March 11, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, THE REPORT ON THE NEW YORK STATE CAPITOL, Page 82,

March 11, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, THE ILLUSTRATIONS: THE NEW STATE CAPITOL AT ALBANY, Page 85

March 18, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, GOVERNMENT ARCHITECTURE AND GOVERNMENT ARCHITECTS. Page 91,

March 18, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, THE DESIGNS FOR THE ALBANY CAPITOL, Page 93,

March 18, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, CORRESPONDENCE. Page 95

March 25, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Albany Capitol, Page 98,

March 25 1876 The American Architect and Building News, THE NEW YORK STATE CAPITOL. page 103,

April 1, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Summary, Page 105,

April 1, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, THE NEW YORK STATE CAPITOL. (Communicated.) Page 111,

April 8, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Summary, Page 113

April 8, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, THE ALBANY CAPITOL. Page 114,

April 15, 1876, The American Architect and Building, THE ILLUSTRATIONS, THE NEW YORK STATE CAPITOL, MR. THOMAS FULLER, ARCHITECT. Pages 124-25

April 22, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, ARTISTIC CRITICISM. Page 130,

April 22, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Chicago, Page 134,

April 22, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, THE REMONSTRANCE OF THE ARCHITECTS. Page 135,

April 29, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, REPORT OF MEETING. PHILADELPHIA CHAPTER, A.I.A. Page 143,

May 6, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, NOTES AND CLIPPINGS. Page 152,

May 20, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, PLASTER MODELS. Page 168,

May 27, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Reports of Meetings, A. I. A., Board of Trustees. Page 174,

June 17, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, The commissioners on the New York State Capitol... Page 193,

June 17, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, THE ALBANY CAPITOL. Page 200,

June 24, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Interest is revived in the Albany Capitol matters... Page 206,

June 24, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, THE NEW CAPITOL, Page 208,

March 11, 1876, The American Architect and Building News. Summary, Page 81,

The Advisory Board appointed to report to the New Capitol Commission of the State of New York, on the condition of the new Capitol at Albany, have rendered their report, of which we give a digest in another column. They criticise the design of the Capitol architect, Mr. Fuller, with considerable freedom; presenting, at the request of the Commission, a project for the improvement of it, and detailed estimates both for completing the building according to the designs of the architect, and also according to the modifications which they themselves suggest.

In their first recommendations to the Commission, the advisers limited themselves to the preparation of slight sketches which suggested the chief alterations they recommended that the architect should make in his design; they were then instructed to prepare full drawings for comparison with those to be obtained from the architect, and detailed estimates for both. Some idea of the amount of work that was done beyond the preparation of the drawings may be got from the fact that the bills of quantities for the design, as modified by the Board, contained between six and seven thousand items ; and each item may be taken to represent, on the average, a sheet of paper covered with figures.

As long ago as 1874, Mr. Fuller had prepared for the Legislative Committee an estimate of the cost of finishing the Capitol, without the fencing, grading, or furnishing. The amount of this estimate was $7,886,000. Up to the suspension of the work in last December, $1,729,000 more had been spent; and the walls had by this time been carried up to the springing of the arches on the third or principal floor. From this line upward the Advisory Board propose to modify the design of the building; and their estimate for the completion of it according to their suggestions is $4,502,000, or 81,656,000 less than remains of the estimate above mentioned after deducting the amount since expended. Of this reduction $334,000 are to be attributed to the late fall in prices, and $1,322,000 are due to the modifications proposed by the Board. Meanwhile the architect has himself suggested certain changes in his plan, and has prepared detailed drawings and specifications from which also the Advisory Board have obtained estimates for the completion of the work. This last estimate amounts to $4,827,000, which is a reduction from the unexpended amount of the first estimate of $1,330,000; in which, again, $334,000 is ascribed to the fall in prices, leaving $996,000 due to a greater economy in the design. The changes proposed by the architect are simply a reduction in height and scale of the upper parts of the building; those proposed by the Board involve a very decided remodelling of the design above the third floor.

March 11, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, THE REPORT ON THE NEW YORK STATE CAPITOL, Page 82,

EARLY in 1875, the Legislature of New York, finding that the new State Capitol at Albany, which had been some years in building, and had only reached the floor of the principal story, had cost more than five million dollars; and that the estimate cost of finishing it, though based on incomplete drawings and specifications, was some seven million dollars more; and conceiving doubts, moreover, as the plan of the building developed itself in construction, whether it would prove to be satisfactorily arranged for its practical uses, passed a resolve requiring that, before any more money was appropriated to the work, detailed plans and specifications for the completion of it should be laid before the Capitol Commission, and should receive their approval and indorsement. The Commission decided to call in an advisory board of experts, and to intrust them with the duty of critically examining the plans, suggesting what modifications it might be desirable to make in them, and of procuring careful estimates of the cost both of carrying out the existing designs, and of modifying and completing the building as might be suggested. Of the gentlemen selected as the Advisory Board, two were architects, —Messrs. Leopold Eidlitz and H. H. Richardson; the third, the chairman of the Board, Mr. F. L. Olmstead, was chosen for his experience and skill in the administration and economy of public works. The architect of the Capitol, Mr. Fuller, was requested to prepare full specifications and detail-drawings for a complete estimate of the cost of finishing his building, with such alterations as he thought best to make in the interest of economy.

The Advisory Board, organizing in last July, rendered their report to the Capitol Commission last Thursday. They examine the present design at length, and discuss in detail the requirements and proper character of the building, and present a series of drawings for a modified design, and bills of quantities with detailed estimates for these, and for the designs of the architect. The report begins with a review of the causes which led to calling in the Board, and an examination of some charges of negligence in superintendence on the part of the architect, which they find to be unsustained, and which they briefly dismiss with the remark that, "in view of the difficulty of carrying on such work at the present time and under our present political customs, and in the present condition of industry, the State must be thought fortunate if the Capitol presents no more extensive and serious marks of imperfect success in superintendence than are fairly borne witness to in these statements." After some criticism of the constructive treatment of certain parts of the building, the report passes on to an examination of the general disposition of the plan, and a detailed criticism of its leading features both of construction and decoration.

On these points the judgment of the Board is very decided. Their account is substantially as follows: The building is a large hollow rectangle, surrounding an open court. The four sides, or wings, are pierced longitudinally by central corridors twelve feet wide, running for the most part continuously from end to end, and with a range of rooms on each side. The corridors are therefore directly lighted only at the ends ; and two of them are three hundred and forty feet long, each with only a single window at each extremity. The floors of the building are from twenty to twenty-seven feet apart: the width of the wings between walls is from eighty-six to one hundred and three feet; and the exterior is pierced by windows at regular intervals of about eighteen feet, which govern the subdivision of the interior; so that the building is essentially a cellular structure, in which "the normal unit of space is a room eighteen feet wide, twenty to twenty-five high, and at least thirty long, lighted by a single window at the end, and communicating with the rest of the building by a doorway opposite the window, opening into a dark passage." "Neither by subdividing such rooms, nor by throwing two together," says the report, "can much of their space be turned to good account for the ordinary work of legislative committees . . . or any other of the more common business of bureau officers or clerks."

There are two full stories thus arranged above ground,—one is called the basement, and the other the entrance-story,—before the principal story is reached, in which are the two legislative halls, extending quite across the wings, cutting off the corridors, and carried up through the third and fourth stories. The court of appeals similarly placed is but one story high. This regular and formal arrangement of rooms naturally excludes any distribution which could class them together in such groups as should facilitate the various uses to which they are to be put ; and accordingly it appears that the committee-rooms, which are to be used in connection with the legislative halls, are distributed over four stories, seventeen of them being two stories below, with the executive offices, the court of appeals, and the State library between; and only four on the same floor as the halls. This floor is fifty-seven feet above the ground; and to reach the halls from the main entrance it will be necessary to journey nearly four hundred feet, climbing four flights of stairs, of fourteen feet high each, which are described as narrow and dimly lighted. Nevertheless, in view of the fact that the Capitol is already carried up to the third or principal floor, the Advisory Board argues that the great difficulty and expense of making any essential change in the arrangement of it at this stage, since it would involve tearing out and rebuilding almost the whole interior, is not possible; and they add that "The fact really is, that by no possibility could the accommodations which have been required to be provided for in the new Capitol, be conveniently arranged on the ground plan of the present building."

The report then discusses the exterior design of the building, in the light of the received principles of harmony, subordination, and truthfulness of construction. It rebukes with some severity the use of cornices and other features of galvanized sheet-iron, in imitation of stone; and adds, "In nothing has the inclination to indulge in shams and makeshifts, and to substitute the coarse arts for the fine arts, been more manifest than in matters of building. Nothing would be more humiliating to the State than that the vulgar conceit which lies at the bottom of every thing of this kind should have place in the Capitol; and no more imperative duty rests on your Commission than to insist that only substantial, well-tried, and unmistakably genuine materials and workmanship shall enter into its construction, even if, in order to get them, the completion of the building is delayed for years. The State can afford to wait for better times. It cannot, after spending so much for soundness in the lower walls of its building, afford to fall back on cheap and showy stage-effects above."

After saying that the general form of the building has advantages for an imposing effect, based on an appreciation of its length, breadth, height, stability, and endurance, and that the regular and symmetrical distribution of piers and window-openings, of a nearly uniform size, is adapted to sustain and augment such an effect, the advisers go on to examine it in detail. They criticise the subdivision of the four fronts, which are broken each into five masses similarly disposed; they object to the sky-line as needlessly broken up, and the roofs as frittered away in unreasonable and incongruous complexity of detail. The upper stories of the building, which, containing the most important apartments, should be made the most important portions in the exterior, are criticised as inferior in treatment to those below them. Of the detail they say, "It will be found that the detail, seen by itself, might, in each case, be readily supposed to be designed for a quite different building, and that consequently it has a claim on the admiration of the observer in competition with, rather than in alliance to, that of all the rest. We submit that you should consider whether such a frequent change of motive is not again unfavorable to unity, repose, and dignity, and does not tend to fritter away the effect which might otherwise be expected to result from the general simplicity of outline and the magnitude of the essential body of the structure."

The chambers for the Senate and the Assembly are criticised for their situation, approach, proportions, and for their decoration, the material of the finish being chiefly cast iron and plaster. The lighting, ventilation, and acoustic adaptation are also disapproved. The placing, design, and structure of the dome are also blamed; the whole treatment and construction of the roof are objected to. It is elaborately framed in iron trusses, and is to consist of arches of artificial stqne carried on iron beams and covered with copper: it is regarded as "cumbrous and costly beyond reason." The stairs of the building are condemned as cramped and undignified ; the outer stairs of approach as inconvenient and even impracticable in their first design, and undignified and contracted in the modifications suggested by the architect.

The alterations which the Advisory Board propose for the design of the buildings are indicated by the plates which we publish to-day. The massing of the shorter fronts is changed by casting the five divisions into three; in the longer fronts, the roofs of the intermediate or receding parts are brought down one story, making these portions only three stories high, and relieving against them the corner pavilions and the legislative chambers. The windows, regularly spaced in the first two stories, are grouped into arcades in the upper and principal stories, which are further increased in importance by a greater richness of detail. The roofs, on the new Capitol, be conveniently arranged on the ground plan of the present building."

The report then discusses the exterior design of the building, in the light of the received principles of harmony, subordination, and truthfulness of construction. It rebukes with some severity the use of cornices and other features of galvanized sheet-iron, in imitation of stone; and adds, "In nothing has the inclination to indulge in shams and makeshifts, and to substitute the coarse arts for the fine arts, been more manifest than in matters of building. Nothing would be more humiliating to the State than that the vulgar conceit which lies at the bottom of every thing of this kind should have place in the Capitol; and no more imperative duty rests on your Commission than to insist that only substantial, well-tried, and unmistakably genuine materials and workmanship shall enter into its construction, even if, in order to get them, the completion of the building is delayed for years. The State can afford to wait for better times. It cannot, after spending so much for soundness in the lower walls of its building, afford to fall back on cheap and showy stage-effects above."

After saying that the general form of the building has advantages for an imposing effect, based on an appreciation of its length, breadth, height, stability, and endurance, and that the regular and symmetrical distribution of piers and window-openings, of a nearly uniform size, is adapted to sustain and augment such an effect," the advisers go on to examine it in detail. They criticise the subdivision of the four fronts, which are broken each into five masses similarly disposed; they object to the sky-line as needlessly broken up, and the roofs as frittered away in unreasonable and incongruous complexity of detail. The upper stories of the building, which, containing the most important apartments, should be made the most important portions in the exterior, are criticised as inferior in treatment to those below them. Of the detail they say, “ It will be found that the detail, seen by itself, might, in each case, be readily supposed to be designed for a quite different building, and that consequently it has a claim on the admiration of the observer in competition with, rather than in alliance to, that of all the rest. We submit that you should consider whether such a frequent change of motive is not again unfavorable to unity, repose, and dignity, and does not tend to fritter away the effect which might otherwise be expected to result from the general simplicity of outline and the magnitude of the essential body of the structure."

The chambers for the Senate and the Assembly are criticised for their situation, approach, proportions, and for their decoration, the material of the finish being chiefly cast iron and plaster. The lighting, ventilation, and acoustic adaptation are also disapproved. The placing, design, and structure of the dome are also blamed; the whole treatment and construction of the roof are objected to. It is elaborately framed in iron trusses, and is to consist of arches of artificial stone carried on iron beams and covered with copper: it is regarded as "cumbrous and costly beyond reason." The stairs of the building are condemned as cramped and undignified ; the outer stairs of approach as inconvenient and even impracticable in their first design, and undignified and contracted in the modifications suggested by the architect.

The alterations which the Advisory Board propose for the design of the buildings are indicated by the plates which we publish to-day. The massing of ‘the shorter fronts is changed by casting the five divisions into three; in the longer fronts, the roofs of the intermediate or receding parts are brought down one story, making these portions only three stories high, and relieving against them the corner pavilions and the legislative chambers. The windows, regularly spaced in the first two stories, are grouped into arcades in the upper and principal stories, which are further increased in importance by a greater richness of detail. The roofs, on the other hand, are thrown into much bolder and simpler masses; and the complicated mass of dormers, cornices and castings, and finials, greatly simplified and reduced. The dome is little changed in its proportion, but greatly modified in detail; the eight small spires are reduced to four, which group like pinnacles around the dome. It is proposed to build the dome of stone instead of iron and concrete; the interior, instead of being shut away as before, is to be decoratively treated; the cupola which crowns it is to be reached from within by a singularly bold double staircase, which, springing from two opposite points at the base of the dome, forms an arch below its soffit, and supports at the crown the spiral staircase which leads up to the cupola. The arrangement of the senate and assembly rooms is to be somewhat changed, and the fiat iron ceilings replaced by vaulted ones supported by ribs and columns of stone. Considerable changes are proposed in the materials of both exterior and interior; chiefly substituting stone-work for iron, plaster, and wood. A new approach has been designed to the building; and changes are suggested by which the interior staircases may be made more commodious.

In 1874 the architect of the Capitol estimated the cost of finishing the building according to his designs at $7,886,000. Since then, up to December, 1875, $1,729,000 has been expended. Supposing the additional expenditure to have accorded with the estimate, this would leave over six millions to be still expended in carrying out the original design. This estimate did not include the cost of grading and fencing, decorative painting, or furnishing. The Advisory Board has prepared bills of quantities and careful estimates for finishing the work according to Mr. Fuller's intentions, and also according to the modifications which it proposes. Taking advantage of the recent fall in prices, and of the alterations in the architect’s design suggested by himself, the Board has reduced the estimates for carrying out his design to something over four million eight hundred thousand dollars. The cost of completing the building according to their own modified design, the advisers estimate at about four and a half millions. The amount to be saved by the changes which the Board proposes —- some three hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars — is a comparatively small matter in a building of such cost. The great advantage they propose to secure is in the character and quality of the work; the substitution of stone for a great amount of cast iron, sheet iron, plaster, and wood; and the gain in the solidity, durability, and dignity of the work. Thus the estimated cost of stonework for finishing the old design is in round numbers 2,850,000 dollars; for the new, 3,125,000 dollars. This is off-set by reducing the cost of the iron-work from $332,000 to $197,000; the brick-work, from $572,000 to $496,000 ; the saving of $130,000 in plastering, $155,000 in carpenter’s work, $50,000 in the roof, and $30,000 in painting.

It is safe to say that the competitions for works at the French capital are generally decided in favor of the most meritorious designs, but the same docs not always hold in the provinces. In one competition of recent occurrence for a new church at St. Denis, the award was made in favor of one of the worst designs submitted. In the restoration of ancient monuments and cathedrals, the assignments have always been made with wisdom and prudence. The largest part of this work has been done by that greatest of all archaeologists and art-writers, Viollet-le—Duc, whose restorations of Notre Dame at Paris would alone place him in the highest position among modern architects, while his restoration of the Chateau de Pierrefonds will rank as one of the greatest works of the century. The restoration and enlargement of the Palais do Justice (with the exception of the Sainte Chapelle du Palais, which was restored by Viollet-le-Duc) was intrusted to a scarcely less eminent architect, M. L. Duc, of Duc & Dommey. A large part of this was again destroyed in 1871. The restorations and extensions of the Louvre not only harmonize with, but excel in architectural beauty, the old work of the same building. These are the work of M. Lefuel. The Grand Opera now completed was awarded by the Imperial Government to Garnier in competition. He was then a young man without reputation; but he has shown his ability to cope with the largest of undertakings, and now ranks with the best of his profession. Notwithstanding the unfavorable criticisms which have been heaped upon it by jealous contemporaries, it holds its own with the best work in the modern French style. On the whole, the competition system has succeeded better in France than elsewhere, and has brought to the front men of ability, who, under the circumstances usually surrounding a young practitioner in France, would otherwise have been scarcely known to the world.

The present occasion will not permit any further recital than a brief statement of the condition of government architecture in England, which is well known to most of us, who have been interested witnesses of the progress made by our profession in that country.

The erection of the Palace of Westminster, or Parliament Houses, was the first government work of importance undertaken during this century (unless we may except St. Thomas’s Hospital), and thus far the greatest. It is the result of a competition thrown open to all British architects, and was erected under the direction and patronage of a parliamentary committee. The history of this important competition has so often been written, that I trust it is familiarto all of us. Suffice it to say that it was a very felicitous selection; and, whatever the growth of knowledge may have been within the few years since its erection, it will hold its own still in comparison with other piles of the greatest magnitude. Had that building not been erected, the magnificent designs submitted for the Law Courts a few years since, in which an amount of architectural talent was displayed that has never elsewhere been equalled, would never have been created. The success in the Parliament Houses gave an impetus to architectural competition in England which has resulted in some of the most mortifying abuses. The bane of these contests has in most cases been the submission of competitive designs to the decision of ignorant committees. This has in some cases been avoided by the appointment of expert examiners.

The restoration of the cathedrals and other medieval monuments of England has, with more or less success, been intrusted to the leading architects of the Gothic school, the major part falling to the lot of George Gilbert Scott. But unfortunately in some cases the appointments have been controlled by those who have contributed the major part of the funds for the purpose; and the selection has thus been often made of ignorant and incompetent architects, or even of provincial builders who have simply destroyed with ruthless hand what they were sent to restore. Within the last fifteen years public buildings in England erected by order of parliament have sometimes been awarded to prominent architects, and in some cases the selection has been made in a limited competition. The Home Secretary's Offices were given to George Gilbert Scott; and it was a remarkable assignment, inasmuch as Lord Palmerston, then prime minister, who despised Gothic architecture, and was a patron of the classic or Italian style, had determined that the building should be in the Italian style. The leader of the Gothic school thus surrendered to state influence and patronage. He has, however, shown by his work that he was not unfitted for the ungracious task, and has produced one of the best works in the style. The Foreign Offices were committed to M. Digby Wyatt, and have been carried out in a compromise style, with partial success.

We are all aware of the steps taken to procure designs for the new Law Courts, whereby eight leading architects were invited to submit designs in a limited competition. This was the most remarkable competition since the building of the Houses of Parliament. All the designs were published; and after much delay and discussion a decision was reached, and was unsatisfactory both to the profession and the Government. Street and Barry were put on an equal footing so far as the award could he made; but after further delay Street was appointed architect of the building, and ordered to make a new design, which is now being carried out. The result of this competition cannot be considered a success: still there can be no doubt that the building now in course of erection will far surpass the Houses of Parliament, and will stand among the greatest monuments of the century.

Some years since, a commotion was made in the British architectural world by the appointment of one Ayrton, one of those utilitarian Grad grinds with which the world is unfortunately infested, to the position of First Commissioner of Works. He set about to reform the architecture of his country, and to_abolish architects, who he thought were the greatest impediments to the accomplishment of his pet scheme. He employed draughtsmen to draw and engineers to superintend public buildings, and succeeded in getting several monuments of his folly erected before his brief career was brought to a happy close. lie erected, among other things, a city post office in London which defied proportion, good taste, and art generally, the drawings for which were published in the English architectural journals. His impertinence served a good end. It aroused a spirit of esprit-du-corps among the English architects, and became a warning to the government not to attempt the degradation of an honorable profession. His treatment of Mr. Barry was resented by the whole body of British architects.

In provincial competitions, many English architects, as I have said, have been brought to the front, though illustrations are not wanting to show how ignorant committees have often made the most absurd decisions. Noticeable among the former is Alfred Waterhouse, whose two principal works, the Manchester Assize Courts, and the Town Hall in the same city, are the most successful works erected in England. The stumbling-block to architectural progreis in England, as it has been in many other modern countries, has been the official authority of ignorant non-professional commissions. The want of a central authority, in the person of a man of high professional position, has always been felt. The best talent has been at the mercy of those who are incapable of deciding on such matters; but by the accident of official position. to which they are chosen for entirely different purposes, have had the vanity of ignorance, which has made them believe themselves to be arbiters of taste. The groundwork of this evil is in the very foundation of government, which does not draw a. proper distinction between matters of utility, and the aesthetic needs of a community.

The history of government architecture in America is brief in point of time, but extensive in the amount of ground covered. It properly commences with the erection of our National Capitol, whose history is co-extensive with the history of our country, and affords a remarkable analogy to our political history. It can hardly yet be considered finished, and I doubt if it ever will be completed. It seems to be a reminder to us, that the problem of republican government, though nearly solved, is never completely elucidated to our satisfaction. Doubts are constantly arising in the minds of our most advanced thinkers. The very incompleteness of our system is the incentive to what I now write. And the problem arises before us to-day, “ whether the development of the best art talent of the country, as shown in its public buildings, is possible."

Our National Capitol may be taken as a fair example of the progress made in government architecture up to within a few years. Its history is an interesting study, and I will not venture to trace it; for it has been ably and forcibly written, and appeared in the International Review of November, 187-1, from the pen of James Q. Howard. I would advise every one interested in this subject, to read the article attentively. The original Capitol was commenced in 1792, and finished in 1830. It had five successive architects: Stephen Hallet, James Hoban, George Hadfield, Benjamin II. Latrobe, and Charles Bulfinch. There were only two, however, who had any thing to do with the designing of the building; and those were Stephen Hallet, a French architect, who designed all the work done up to 1803, and Latrobe, who was then appointed. Latrobe carried along the work until the war of 1812; and after the war, the building having been nearly destroyed, Latrobe practically rebuilt it, and modified the design, leaving it as it was when Mr. Walter undertook the erection of the wings and new dome. But
before all these architects undertook the work there had been a. competition for a prize of five hundred dollars, and this had been awarded to William Thornton of Philadelphia, -a physician. This, however, was thrown aside as impracticable; and Hallet, who seems to have been the only architect that submitted a design, was appointed architect. Hallet was discharged by the commissioners two years after, because he had too much professional pride to submit to the authority of a superintendent of public buildings, named James Hoban, who was placed in authority over him by the commissioners. He held on to his drawings, however, and gave much trouble. In this he established good professional usage. If it is designed to have saints in the architectural calendar, I think it would not be a bad idea to put Hallet at the head of the list.

Hoban was then put in charge as architect. And soon George Hadfield, an accomplished architect, was placed under him, and held the position from 1795 to 1798. Hadfield was also discharged, because the autocrat Hoban quarrelled with him. Benjamin ll. Latrobe was appointed architect in 1803, and worked untrammelled for many years. But even he was obliged to retire after thirteen years’ faithful service. on account of the appointment of a nonprofessional commissioner without taste or capacity, to whose dictation his self-respect would not suffer him to submit. Charles Bulfinch was architect from 1817 to 1830, during -which time he simply carried out Latrobe’s plans, though he also was an architect of ability.

Nothing further was done to the Capitol until 1851, when our worthy and venerable vice-president, Thomas U. Walter, was appointed architect, his plans for the extensions to the building having been adopted in competition after an advertisement by a select committee of the United States Senate. We are all familiar with the history of Mr. Walter's connection with this important work. His work was practically finished in 1865, the original work being quite insignificant in comparison with extensions, and the mighty dome which crowns the whole structure. His former pupil, Mr. Edward Clark, continues as architect in charge of the building. The great time consumed in the erection of this structure seems wonderful for this age; but its history is a long and complicated one, and to any one acquainted with the difficulties in the way of the progress of the works it is not hard to understand. The principal difficulty in the way of harmonious progress has almost always been the intermeddling of ignorant and officious commissioners, and the periodical disposition of those in authority to interfere with the legitimate professional duties of the architect, by placing in authority over him superintendents, engineers, or commissioners who had no sympathy with the profession, or disposition to respect the proper office of the architect as that of head of the works.
The above is but a faint outline of the facts connected with the history of this remarkable structure. I might select other government buildings whose history, though shorter, would be similar.

March 11, 1876, American Architect and Building News, THE ILLUSTRATIONS: THE NEW STATE CAPITOL AT ALBANY, page 85

We give up this number to illustrations of the designs of the Advisory Board for the completion of the Capitol at Albany. The drawings which we copy represent a general perspective view, two partial elevations of the longer and shorter fronts of the building, and a section of the dome. They are printed from gelatine, it appearing that they could not be satisfactorily transferred to stone.

March 18, 1876, American Architect and Building News, GOVERNMENT ARCHITECTURE AND GOVERNMENT ARCHITECTS. Page 91,


It is curious that. although as far back as 1794 there was a government officer known as “ Surveyor of Public Buildings,” which position was held by James Hoban for twenty-five years, and subsequently by Benjamin Latrobe until a government “commissioner ” was appointed, no such officer has been recognized by the government or in any way authorized since that time.

The government buildings erected during the first part of the century, in Washington and various parts of the country, were conducted, somewhat as the Capitol was, under the direction of the cabinet officers or congressional commissions. These buildings comprised a few of the department offisce and Custom Houses, Sub-treasuries, and the buildings for the United States Bank. I have ascertained but few particulars in relation to the system followed in erecting these buildings; but one thing is certain, that there was no organized department having cognizance of them. Looking over an old number of “ Loudon’s Magazine " (London), I once saw the notice of a young English architect, whose name I have forgotten, having been selected in competition as the architect for the new Custom House at New York. This was in 1836. The building was subsequently built after his submitted design, but the credit of the work was given to an American. The design, as published in “ Loudon’s Magazine,” both as to plan and exterior, corresponded very nearly with the building erected. Notwithstanding all this, the structure bears a. marble tablet inscribed with the name of John Frazer as architect. Frazer was a sculptor of considerable ability. This incident may serve to illustrate some of the circumstances attending government work at this time.

It was about the year 1850, that something approaching a system came into use. The public buildings were erected under the direction of the War Department; and about this time an office was established under the charge of a major of United States Engineers. For many years Major Bowman was assigned to this duty. The plans were made under his direction by architects, who simply acted in the capacity of draughtsmen at so much per diem. An ofiicer of engineers was assigned to each building as superintendent, or “engineer in charge.” This strange system had at least one merit, —that under military rule there was no opportunity for wrangling and dispute; the business was admirably managed, and administered with honesty and fidelity. A large number of public structures were erected under this authority, comprising principally post-offices and custom-houses for the medium-sized cities. At length military discipline was carried to such an extreme that it was decided that all the public buildings should be of similar design, just like so many uniformed regiments of soldiers. Accordingly a standard design was adopted, and only varied to suit the requirements of the respective sites. The result was very remarkable. A traveller going through Portland,New Haven, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Richmond, Norfolk, and many other cities, would be successively confronted by the same structure, which seemed to be following him like a nightmare. It certainly was very military; but it was not art, and the monotony became unendurable. Military rule was degrading architecture, which it could not appreciate; and a standard was set up which was detrimental to taste and public education. The plans of these buildings were published by the government, and each drawing was indorsed with great formality, first by the major of engineers, with all his titles and brevets; in one corner by the engineer in charge, with all his titles and brevets; and in another corner, in small letters, sometimes was found the name of the architect, and sometimes the name of tho designer signed “ Supervising Architect; ” the supervision being confined, we may suppose, to the making of the drawings.

For many years the Supervising Architect was Mr. Ammi B. Young; and he came to be appointed in this way: In Major Bowman’s office he had been engaged for a long time as architect, and, in a capacity subordinate to the engineer-officers, was intrusted with the preparation of all the drawings for the public buildings. Mr. \Valter, while architect of the Capitol Extension, had been charged with making additions, also, to the Patent-Office and the Post-Office, and was later directed to design the extension of the Treasury Building; all of which as to exterior were, in the main, continuations of the old designs, but in more durable materials. The extensions of the Patent-Office and Post-Office were carried out under his superintendence; but in the case of the Treasury Building Mr. Walter, finding himself overtaxed with work, declined to superintend or work out in detail his design, which was therefore intrusted to Mr. Young, who was then named the Supervising Architect of the Treasury Department, under whose care the south wing of the building was built. On his retirement he was succeeded for a short time by Mr. Isaiah Rogers, who, however, soon lost his office on account of some irregularities in his management of it, and was followed by Mr. A. B. Mullett.

At this time the contingencies of the war had drawn all the engineer officers to the field, for the country could not spare their services for civil work. Meanwhile scarcely any thing was being done on any of the public buildings except the Capitol, which was being finished by Mr. Walter, and the Treasury Extensions under the direction of the then Supervising Architect of the Treasury. As, however, new buildings in the Northern States were needed, and a government architectural office was in actual operation in the Treasury Building. it became a matter of great convenience to have all the architectural work done in this office. As appropriations were made for new buildings, they were ordered by the various acts of Congress to be built under tho direction of the Supervising Architect of the Treasury Department. The admirable executive ability of Mr. Mullett enabled him to organize the machinery of the office in a comprehensive and systematic manner. But it existed only by virtue of clauses inserted in successive appropriations, and the small share of the annual appropriation for the Treasury Department for the payment of salaries and office expenses. It has never been organized under any special act of Congress, and is not a bureau existing by law. Its officers and employees really occupy clerkships under the Secretary of the Treasury. to whom they are responsible. During the twelve years in which the responsible position of Supervising Architect was held by Mr. Mullett. the office continued to grow in position, responsibility, and power. The patronage bestowed upon it was enormous,, and became the greed of aspiring politicians. The eyes of the whole country were directed upon its transactions. It was he battle-field of many a hot dispute, and the interests of contending sections were centred in its operations. The opportunity for the development of a national architecture was the greatest ever afforded in the history of the world. V\'e are all more or less familiar with the numerous public buildings which emanated from it, -a large number of which are still in process of construction. Mr. Mnllett is the first architect who has ever had authoritative control over our whole national architecture, without hinderance or control of commissions or other intermeddling superiors; and it is due to him to say that the amount of work accomplished was greater than had ever before been done by a single man, and was executed with remarkable speed, precision, and economy.

The profession can congratulate itself that his successor, a member of the Institute, is a gentleman of culture and education, who brings a fine artistic instinct to bear upon the important duties of his oflice. We have reason to hope, that, in so far as one man can labor, the artistic development of our government architecture in the present status is in good hands. But the question has been raised, as to whether it is possible to commit the designing of all the public buildings to one man; and, if it were, is it wise so to do? The Supervising Architect has himself answered both inquiries in the negative ; and of all men he is the best competent to judge. I believe that the profession generally will concur with him.

But the most important problem which arises is, as I have above stated it, “whether the development of the best art talent of the country, as shown in its public buildings, is possible.” It is hardly possible that the best talent be centred in one man; and, if not, what system can be adopted which is calculated to bring into play the best talents of a diversity of men, each being given the work to which he is best adapted? Mr. Potter, in his annual report, does not solve the problem, but proposes to offer further suggestions at a future time, upon further consideration of the subject. If this body, which is the only national representative and exponent of architectural art in America, is called on, it will have to take the responsibility of solving the problem. In so doing, we must look back to past experience in all countries and all ages. With the hope of drawing a faint outline of architectural history, I have ventured to collate some facts for our own guidance.

A radical change has been proposed. It is contemplated to offer a bill to Congress for its consideration, with a view to abolishing the present system, and establishing another. Let me suggest whether or not it would be wise first to inquire if the measure proposed will actually effect a change in any thing but a name. Is any thing suggested which cannot now be done? It seems to me that it would be wise to invest the incumbent who is the aclual government architect, with a more fitting and appropriate title, and to have an assistant, also with a proper title, to aid him in the work, and take his place when necessary; but it is a serious matter when it is proposed to cut loose from the regularly organized departments of the government. Surely snch'a. change can have no influence upon the nature of the buildings constructed, and will not result in the selection of better men to do the work. A government architect is a government architect, whether connected with a regular department, or independent of it. He should have the largest powers, as any man should who is called on to do professional work and assume large responsibilities. The greatest of men will call together councillors for advice. It is only a man of narrow and selfish instincts who will assume too much authority. Still it might be wise to confer upon a government architect authority to call in a board of councillors when necessary. But, if he is to avail himself of architectural talent outside of his office, it seems to me that he should exercise the largest liberty and discretion in determining how to do it. He should stand in the relation of client toward other architects in such cases, taking the place of a non-professional board or committee, being the representativc of the government.

As we have seen, the greatest bane to the progress of all public architecture, national, state, and municipal, has been the creation of non-professional boards and commissions, who are not only incompetent to judge of the matters intrusted to them, but are often knavish and corrupt. Our country is covered with architectural monstrosities which are the result of this system ; and it has become a notorious fact, that the greater part of our public buildings are erected from the designs of architects below mediocrity. It behooves the government of a great country to set an example in this respect. It not only has all past experience before it, but has its own painful experience to look to. The time has come when the nation must assert its manhood, and meet these questions which now arise with an intelligence becoming an enlightened age and country. Let us hope that our centennial year will not pass without a solution of the problem before us, and the establishment of a national architecture on a sound and enduring basis. If this is done, we may congatulate ourselves that in this respect at least the Republic is not a failure.

March 18, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, THE DESIGNS FOR THE ALBANY CAPITOL, Page 93,

The Capitol of New York is intended to contain two legislative chambers and their dependencies, all the executive offices, the State Library, and the Court of Appeals with its library.

It is evident, that, if architecture is in any sense or to any degree an art of expression, the Albany Capitol, as originally designed, was not a work of architectural art. It is quite impossible to tell from the outside of it where are the legislative chambers, where is the Court of Appeals, where is the State Library, or where is the governor’s room. It is clearly desirable, that, in a place of legislation intended to hold on occasions six or seven hundred people, the ceiling should be more than twenty-five feet high. Yet the outside of the Albany Capitol asserts not merely by the uniform size of its openings, but by emphatic entablatures, that there is no such room. In point of fact, this declaration is untrue, since two exterior stories are made one interior story by the simple expedient of leaving out the floor. If there is a room in the building of particular dignity, it might be supposed to be designated by the central cupola. Yet the ground-plan shows that the room over which that ornament rears itself is devoted to nothing in particular. The next assertion of pre-eminence is made by the advanced pediment in the middle of the front. But behind that conspicuous feature lurks a miscellany of rooms of no particular importance. The central divisions of the side next suggest to the baffled inquirer after the halls of legislation that perhaps here is what he is looking for. It happens that in the upper and less accessible stories of these divisions are the apartments in question; but their lower stories, which are made conspicuous by porticoes, he will find to be occupied by entrance-halls without any entrances, by the adjutant-general’s office, and by the Court of Appeals, which is treated precisely like it. His first impression from the building, if he were fresh from Broadway, would be that here was a life insurance building raised to the n” power, so to speak; and his final reflection, that it is a pity that architecture of this sort should not always be accompanied, as he has commonly seen it accompanied, by signboards, which add to the element of pure decoration, that of expression.

In serious fact, there is no expression or pretence of expression about the original design. If great magnitude and absolutely systematical division constitute civic architecture, then this is civic architecture. If any meaning is necessary, then it is not.

What is true of the composition of the building is true also of its details. Only here there is not merely no expression of what is true: there is distinct statement of what is false. Here stone fails us in the balconies and gutters, and often where stone would be impossible, as in the sides of the dormers and on the ridge of the roof, its place is taken by zinc, or plaster, or cast iron, falsely boasting itself to be stone, and moulded or pressed or cast into forms hallowed by the conventions of several generations of architects, without the slightest deference to the nature of the material itself which is thus despitefully entreated.

All these things are common enough, and deplorable to such persons as have not become apathetic to them. But they commonly tell a story of shabby gentility. They are the dickeys and paper collars of architecture. Here they are done in a building supposed and meant to be monumental, which is to cost thirteen millions. Evidently they are neither good art nor bad art. They are entirely inconsistent with art, and until they are done away with there is no basis and material for art. One must stop telling lies before he can tell the truth poetically.

It is necessary to point out these things in order to understand the difficulties under which the architects of the Advisory Board labored. Architects who believe that their art has meaning, that structure should express function and respect material, and that ornament should express structure, have not a very easy time of it, applying these propositions to a building like the Albany Capitol after it is half built; and the half of it that remains to be built is in great part determined by what has been done already. The very foundation-trenches involved an inexpressive building. Nay, the purchase of the site itself would have hampered the architect, and forbidden him to do the best that could be done for the State. An architect left free in all these respects would have considered that a governor’s room was one thing, a legislative chamber another, and a court-room still another, and that any one of these differed from a clerk’s office. Of course the differences in treatment by architects of equal sincerity and nearly equal abilities would have been very wide. We may see that by recalling the designs for the London Law-Courts, where the problem was essentially far simpler than the scheme of the Albany Capitol, and where the widest variety of treatment was found in the designs of three or four men of great ability, all equally in earnest to give a true rendering in their designs of the uses and the structure of the building. If one of equal ability with these had undertaken the problem presented by the Albany Capitol in the same spirit, he would certainly not have built a hollow cube.

It is easy to imagine, even on the site of the existing Capitol, a pile of buildings so arranged as to fulfil at once and to express the uses of a State Capitol. Suppose, in place of the pavilion at the right-hand corner, a two-story building had been put up, with the executive chamber on the first floor, and the office of the Secretary of State on the second, an oriel at the angle carried through both stories, and covered with its separate roof. On either side of the rooms so distinguished, and set back from them, might be a range of rooms for clerks. Beyond one of these, again, the tower might rise, visible to its foundations, forming a background to the executive group, and a foreground to the group containing the judiciary. An open arcade would properly connect the two. The court, flanked by its cloistered libraries, retired from the street so as to promote, while expressing, the retirement and the dignity of its functions, would thus become the centre of the group, while at the other end the two semi-groups of the houses and their adjuncts would unite to flank the whole. Open arcades would naturally connect the groups, while each would have its separate entrance and its separate stairway. Necessarily the groups would differ, if the requirements of each were kept in‘ view, in ground-plan, elevations, and sky-line. Of course this arrangement is not put forward as absolute; but an arrangement on something the same principle, which would be made on grounds of simple convenience by a building-engineer, possesses already the elements of expression which a building artist could develop. Already the building would partly tell its story. Nobody could mistake a great group of fifty or sixty feet in a single story, with long unbroken windows and high gabled roofs, denoting great breadth of floor, for any thing but the legislative halls. Nobody could fail to see that the central group, subordinate in height and area, its windows raised high above the floor, must be the court of appeals. Let the architect add vigor and elegance of modelling, just proportions, and the charm of color, to the inherent and necessary effects of masses thus disposed, and the result becomes "a poem in stone."

Page 94
This is a vague sketch of the ideal of a State Capitol; but it is only by something like the process thus outlined that the ideal of a public building like the New York State House can be realized. The ideal is unfortunately, impossible to realize in the Albany Capitol; and yet it is necessary to be kept in view, since in all the changes made by the Advisory Board it has been kept in view, and in all of them the change is in the direction of expression. Their success has been in proportion to the degree in which they felt themselves at liberty to disregard the original design by the incompleteness of its execution. The basement, as the perspective shows, it is intended to hide altogether from the sight of people approaching the principal entrance of the building. The story next above the basement is done, and must be left. In the story next above, and from that upward, the change is as manifest as it could be made without undue abruptness. The columns and entablatures of the angles of the middle divisions and of the flanking pavilions are abolished; and a surface of blank wall, competent to the eye to carry what is above it, is left to manifest itself. The divisions between the curtain and the central mass are expunged on the short front, and emphasized, on the longer sides, by dropping the roof over the curtain, and crowning the angle turrets with more vigorous roofs. All these changes tend both to dignity and repose and to true variety. They tend as distinctly to expression, by abolishing the division of the front, which has no meaning, and by bringing out the division of the sides, which is capable of being made to bear an unintended meaning in enabling the legislative halls to assert their superiority to the unimportant rooms which flank them. All this is a real gain; and the increased refinement of the forms, the tone given to the monotonous granite by incised and multiplied ornament, and the immeasurably greater expressiveness and grace of the detail, constitute a great gain also.

But the architects of the Advisory Board would doubtless be reluctant to be judged by any thing in the building save those features in which they were practically untrammelled, such as the dome and the interior, which speak for themselves in the illustrations. The gratification which people who really care for architecture will derive from what these architects have done must be mixed with regret for the loss of what the Albany Capitol might have been, had they, or architects of their rank, had charge of it from the beginning.

March 18, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, CORRESPONDENCE. Page 95

New York..The architectural event of the past week here has been the report of the Advisory Board of Experts called in by the New Capitol Commission to give a careful, thorough inspection of the work already accomplished, and report upon various matters submitted. The document is one of the most important issues in the profession for some time back. It adds another instance of the errors which almost invariably follow the attempt at a selection of designs by persons not properly fitted for the task. While legislators may possess a general intelligence sufficient to carry them through the routine work, the treatment of a strictly professional problem should be left in skillful hands. In the whole of this Capitol blunder, extending back over so many years, the only wise step was the selection of the committee of experts whose report has just been presented; and, unfortunately for the citizens, they step on the scene only to find it one of general waste and disorder, esthetically, constructively, and financially.

Among the city architects, activity is beginning to show itself. John G. Prague is at work on a new circus to be built on fourteenth Street, near Fourth Avenue, on the site of the old Hippotheatron, at which the destructive fire of Christmas Eve, 1872, broke out, effectually wiping out of existence Barnum’s show then exhibiting there, Grace Chapel which stood adjoining, and several large manufacturing houses in the vicinity. The chapel has been rebuilt, and is just now receiving the finishing touches; and the church people are any thing but gratified at finding that their old combustible neighbor is to come back to them. The old circus was of corrugated iron within and without, with a light roof of the same material. The new building will be of brick to the cornice-line, and will have an iron roof. The lot to be occupied by the circus is one hundred and twenty-five feet front, one hundred and five feet deep. The building proper will be about one hundred feet in diameter, with a ring in the centre forty-two feet across, and seats rising on all sides. The capacity will be about fifteen hundred.

The Eagle Theatre, recently completed, is undergoing a vexatious ordeal in the way of seat experiment. First the seats were too compactly arranged, and more room was made by a re-arrangement; then the seats were found to be too small, and were replaced too slight to afford a ready view of the stage, and a general overhauling is to be made to remedy this defect.

Mr. Griffith Thomas is busy on several alterations for Delmonico, the famous restaurateur, who has secured new quarters farther up town, and is having them fitted up into fine supper-rooms and dining-halls. The plans are not as yet quite completed. Mr. Thomas is also preparing the designs for the new business house of the American News Company, which has recently purchased the old Burton's Theatre, for so many years occupied by the United States Courts. The Society of the Paulist Fathers have determined on the erection of a new church edifice to stand at the corner of Ninth Avenue and Fifty-Ninth Street; laborers are now at work blowing out a foundation in the solid rock. Mr. Jeremiah O'Rourke of Newark has been selected as the architect; and, if report says true, the design which he is preparing is for something very costly and fine

March 25, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Albany Capitol, Page 98,

WE were sorry to see that, in a late number of the Albany Times, one of our articles was copied with the caption, "By the official organ of the American Institute of Architects." We wish distinctly to say, for the sake of the Institute and ourselves, that we do not assume to represent in any way the opinions of the Institute. Our journal has been adopted by the Institute as the means of making public whatever documents or records of transactions it chooses to publish through the press; and all such publication is sufficiently discriminated in our text from the private utterances of the journal, for whose opinions no one but the editor is responsible. We take this opportunity to caution our readers, on the other hand, against receiving the communications which we print in smaller type as indications of the views of the American Architect. We may mention, for example, the communications which we have already published concerning the designs for the Albany Capitol, and to which we refer because we have thought it important not to present our views until we could give a fair representation of Mr. Fuller’s design, for comparison with that of the Board; and any one who will take the trouble to consider our article in No. 11 (March 11) will see that, while we have given as clear a summary as we could of the report of the Board, we have carefully refrained from expressing any opinion whatever of the justice or wisdom of it, or of the comparative merits of the two designs. We had hoped that in this number we should have been allowed to give Mr. Fuller's design, and so been free to say our say without exposing ourselves to the imputation of having given one side a better hearing than the other.

WE wish to say a word to correspondents, which may save some trouble to us, and perhaps to them. Communications which refer in any way to the business of the paper, its circulation or advertising, should be addressed to the publishers. Those which concern the matter of the paper, literary or pictorial, should be addressed simply to "the editor of the American Architect," under care of the publishers. We must not be expected to publish communications of which the author's name is not given. We would call to the attention of correspondents who are unused to writing for the press, the old-fashioned rule that communications should be written on only one side of each leaf; and request them to send clear and open manuscript, and to leave a liberal margin at the top of their sheet for the necessary directions to the compositor. We wish especially to remind those who send us papers of controversy, that the public to whom our journal is addressed cannot be assumed to take any interest in their private feelings, however much it may give to the subjects they discuss; and that recrimination, the expression of personal annoyance, and the imputation of unworthy

March 25 1876 The American Architect and Building News, THE PUBLIC VALUE OF A TOPOGRAPHICAL SURVEY, Page 103,

At a recent meeting of the American Topographical Society, Mr. James T. Gardner read a valuable paper on the subject of a topographical survey of the State of New York. He proves quite conclusively the following propositions:

"First, That there can be no proper valuation of real estate, hence no equalization of taxation, till the State is provided with correct maps of its entire public and private property.

"Second, That, owing to the perishableness of old landmarks, and gross inaccuracies in outlines and areas described by deeds, the boundaries of a large amount of property are so uncertain as to cause serious troubles, which will become more difficult of settlement with increasing values and density of population. To remedy this, is required a survey, that, by means of a system of imperishable monuments and accurate measurements, shall establish permanently the present lines between adjoining owners and States; so that each may know exactly what and how much he has, and be furnished with official maps.

"Third, To prevent the waste now in progress by successions of special surveys to meet each new need, it is desirable that the State make one general survey, of such accuracy that the maps may be used by engineers for planning and estimating the cost of public works, such as the laying-out of towns, villages, roads and railroads; drainage-systems for improving the health of our great marshy districts, and increasing the value of agricultural lands; water-supplies for towns and factories ; and nameless minor wants of a developed civilization.

"Fourth, A detailed topographical survey is the necessary preliminary basis for a scientific examination of the State’s natural resources. Without it we cannot know nor represent the distribution of rainfall, evaporation, water-power, woods and plants, soils, clays, coal, irons, gypsum, &c.

"With an exact knowledge of climate and surface conditions of the State, it would be possible to predict the regions where each different crop would flourish best. So the geologist, having determined the position of each underlying stratum in its relation to the surface, could tell when and at what depths to search for many valuable deposits.

"Prof. Benj. Pierce, the former Superintendent of the United States Coast Survey, states to the legislature of Massachusetts (House Doc. No. 40, 1875), that the most expensive coast-survey work costs $150 per square mile, or about 23} cents per acre. Since the State of New York has 47,000 square miles, it would not therefore be safe to estimate the total cost of a survey at less than $6,000,000, and the time necessary for completion at less than fifteen years. It will certainly take three years to organize and train the corps of surveyors sufficiently to expand the work to its proper scale. An expenditure of $20,000 the first year, $50,000 the second, and $100,000 the third, would be about the rate at which money would be required.

"Though the work will be equally accurate over the whole State, it will necessarily be far more detailed, and consequently most costly, in thickly settled regions, where also accruing benefits will be greatest. In general the cost will be proportional to the value of land; so that taxes for maintaining the work will fall heaviest where most work is done, and most benefit given.

"The gross amount of money may seem large; but when it is remembered that we have just sunk $6,000,000 in building basement stories for theState Capitol; that $2,000,000 of taxes are probably annually falling upon the wrong people; that thousands are wasted in costly disputes over questions of boundaries; and that deeds do not describe within ten per cent the areas of land actually conveyed, surely 86,000,000 is not too much to spend in fifteen years to render tenure secure and taxation just upon real estate worth four thousand millions of dollars (i54,000,000,000)."

He recommends that the survey be made with all the accuracy of the United States coast-survey methods, in order that the result may obtain the entire confidence of the public, and be final in the settlement of all questions at issue. Among the details it is advised that,

"The determination of all positions must be done with the exactness of the best coast-survey work; and the horizontal contours, or line of equal elevation by which surface form is shown, must never in the improved parts of the State be over twenty feet apart vertically, and sometimes ten, or the maps will be useless to practical engineers and geologists.”

Concerning the cost of the work, Mr. Gardner says, —

"This cannot be exactly estimated until a reconnaissance has been made, and the ability of the superintendent tested. The cost may be lessened twenty per cent by his superior skill and energy.

"There are about fifteen million improved acres in the State, of which the survey must be prepared to furnish plats on a scale of -“AW, or about one inch to two hundred feet. Our towns that now have tax-maps use this scale for the farm lands, and fifty or one hundred feet to the inch for village and city lots."

March 25 1876, The American Architect and Building News, THE NEW YORK STATE CAPITOL, page 103,

THE NEW YORK STATE CAPITOL. Boston, Mass., To the Editors of the American Architect.

The advocates of "architectural competition" may find an instructive lesson in the present condition of this extensive pile, and may possibly modify their opinions as to the best course to obtain the happiest work for the many important buildings for the General Government.

It seems from the report of the "Advisory Board," that this eminently successful competition resulted in furnishing to the State a building principally noticeable for wasteful extravagance and sham construction. "Dark passages," "narrow and dimly lighted stairs," "shams and makeshifts," "frittered away in unreasonable and incongruous complexity of detail," "lighting, ventilation, and acoustic adaptation are also disapproved," the dome "cumbrous and costly beyond reason," "stairs cramped and undignified," &c.,—-these are the terms of the expert critics. I have nothing to say about the design they condemn, nor about their own which they propose to carry out on the two stories of the original one already built; except to suggest that in view of their own statement that "the fact really is, that by no possibility could the accommodations which have been required to be provided for in the new Capitol be conveniently arranged on the ground-plan of the present building," it would be hardly prudent to spend "four and a half millions" of the people's money in trying to do so. Neither is it worth while to raise any question as to the disinterestedness or competency of the "Advisory Board." These points are for the consideration of the people of New York, who pay the bills. But it may do no harm for a disinterested spectator to suggest that if the first competition has failed, and if competitions are such profitable affairs, that new ones might be instituted for each successive story of the remaining structure. These would doubtless result in a beautiful, convenient, and economical embodiment of the taste and liberality of the "Empire State," which might rival the "Washington Monument" or the "Tower of Babel." Such contests, in these dull times, would unite the profession, increase fraternal feeling, and perhaps develop unsuspected talent. The successive problems, as they arose, would certainly give a sufficient amount of "academic discipline," as well as training of a more plodding and practical sort. The city of Albany would also thrive on the board-bills of successive boards of impecunious architects, who would swarm like ants on the incomplete structure.
--John A. Fox. New York, March.

March 25 1876, Page 103, Mr. Editor,—I have looked over the revised drawings for the new State Capitol at Albany with considerable interest; and must say, if the State is to save but $996,000 by the greater economy in the design, I certainly think it would be the greatest piece of extravagance in its adoption, as nearly all whom I have heard speak on the subject think Mr. Fuller's design is better worth two million additional. Sincerely yours, F. A. I. A.

April 1, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Summary, Page 105,

The reply of Mr. Fuller, the architect of the New York State Capitol, to the report of the Advisory Board, has been submitted to the Capitol Commission. The architect says that for the chief points of the disposition of the building, to which exception is taken by the Board, he is not responsible, since they were determined for him by the authorities of the State. He implies moreover that several of them have been neglected by the Board themselves in proposing their amendments to his design. He states, for instance, that whereas the commissioners appointed in 1868 required that his original elevations should be increased in height, and they were accordingly made higher, the Advisory Board objected that they were too high; and that finally, in the design submitted by the Board, the salient points are made higher still. He represents also, as we understand him, that the corridor of communication across the Assembly Chamber, which the Board condemns, was added to his plan on account of the objection of the Board, that the connection between the east and west ends of the building was severed by the interposition of the chamber; and that, this corridor being stricken out by them, the connection remains severed as before. Without following his critics into their minute examination of details, he in general terms defends his construction. Their condemnation of his use of galvanized iron he does not discuss, except to say that it need not appear as an imitation of stone unless it is painted to that effect. He believes that to complete the building according to the designs of the Board would be much more expensive than to carry out his own intention.

Mr. FULLER objects to the kind of decoration adopted for the upper stories in the designs of the Board, which he considers entirely unsuited to the material (granite) in which the Capitol is built, and out of keeping too with the proper character of the building. He protests earnestly against the use, in the upper part of the work, of a style inconsistent with that of the two lower stories, and quotes in his support the opinions of other architects, among them a passage from a letter by Mr. R. M. Upjohn, who says, “I can hardly believe my eyes, that any architect could recommend ingrafting another style to a building so far advanced as yours has been." To this he adds a letter in his favor, from Messrs. Hunt, Dudley, and Lienau, which we give in our résumé of his reply in another column. We have seen it reported by the press, that the Capitol Commissioners have reported to the Legislature their adoption of the designs of the Board, believing that the Capitol might be finished according to those designs, —excepting the central tower and the approaches, -—for four and a half million dollars, and that it might be ready for occupation by the 1st of January, 1879. But we are also informed that the plans of the Board are to undergo revision.

April 1, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, MR. FULLER’S REPLY, page 106,

The architect of the Albany Capitol, Mr. Fuller, has published his reply to the report of the Advisory Board. His account of the development of his designs for the building states, that when the plans were first approved by the commissioners of the Land Office and the governor, near the end of the year 1867, the size and position of the legislative halls, the central court, and the position of the main tower, which are the subject of criticism in the report of the Advisory Board, were determined by the authorities. Additional commissioners were appointed by the Legislature of 1868; and several changes were made by authority, involving an increase in the height of the elevations, additional height and projection of the porticos, and a change in the treatment of the roofs. At the first meeting of the architect with the Advisory Board, the objections were made to the plans, that the legislative chambers were too large, and were higher than was safe for acoustic effect, the limit determined by experiments at Washington being thirty-two feet; also, that they interrupted the communication between the east and west ends of the building, and that it was desirable to secure this communication on the gallery floor; also, that the court of appeals and the governor’s rooms were too large, and that a separate room for the law-library was not needed. It was objected, that the building was too high, and that the small towers on the east and west fronts were superfluous. Modifications in the plans were made, which received a conditional approval, —- an approval which was ratified at a later meeting; and the architect was requested to complete his detail drawings and specifications.

In regard to the changes proposed by the Board; the architect says that the area of the legislative chambers is increased, and the ceilings, vaulted in stone or brick, are carried up to a height of fifty feet at the crown. The corridor by which he had provided the required communication between the east and west ends of the building is done away with, in order to recover the light from the lower range of windows. The height of the corner pavilions has been increased, and also that of the roofs on the north and south fronts.

Mr. Fuller agrees with the Board, that the omission of the small towers on the east and west fronts, and of the upper stories of the porticos on all the fronts, might give greater breadth of effect; but objects, that to do it in the way required by the designs of the Board would make it necessary not only to take down all the work above the springing of the window-arches of the principal stories, and eighty feet of both east and west fronts, as well as the four towers on the north and south fronts, to a level twelve feet lower, but to abandon or recut at considerable cost the greater part of the stone now cut for the building.

Of the style of the alterations suggested, Mr. Fuller says, "I consider that any changes that may new be deemed advisable should be carried out strictly in harmony with the building as already erected; and I cannot see any difficulty in so doing. The style adopted for the modifications proposed and shown by the plans prepared by the Advisory Board, and submitted to the Commission this month, is entirely at variance with the plans heretofore adopted, and with that portion of the building already built; and, to be thus grafted on a building so far advanced, would present a most unsightly appearance. The style of these proposed modifications, with its elaborate surface and carved ornamentation, is not applicable to granite, and should only be used on a more free-cutting stone or in terra-cotta; and such decoration, together with the use of polished panels and colored tiles of various shapes and tints, laid in various patterns, however pleasing in small churches, schools, or rustic dwellings, in no manner is expressive of the purposes for which this building is intended. I consider the treatment of the main tower exceedingly unfortunate, and out of all character with the building. The elaborate decoration both of the interior and the exterior, with the pinnacles at the angles constructed of detached columns and pierced tracerywork of Gothic form, are extremely out of place." And, finally, “The exterior stairs and terraces . . . are, in my opinion, likely to very materially detract from the appearance of the building; and projecting, as it is proposed, about one hundred and seventy feet from the east front, would, in the approach from State Street, effectually hide a great portion of that facade."

In regard to the materials of the interior work, the choice of which is criticised by the Board, Mr. Fuller says that the Legislature of last year appeared to be of the opinion that iron and brick should be used, rather than stone, and that he was especially cautioned by the Senate Committee to avoid unnecessary expense in fixing the details of his work. He considers that copper is a better material for roofing than slate, which the Board propose to substitute for it. The galvanized ironwork on the exterior would not, he argues, appear as imitation of stone unless it were painted for that effect. Parian cement he considers to be as appropriate as stone or marble for interior finish, except where the stone can form part of the construction of the walls, which is impossible in the Capitol since the walls are already built in brick. The cement, moreover, he thinks is susceptible of finer finish, and is less easily injured. The iron columns in the court of appeals, which were also objected to, were important to reduce the bearings of the iron girders of the ceiling, as well as to improve the proportions of the room: if the room is considered too large, he sees no objection to substituting a brick wall for the columns. For the ceilings of the porticos he would have preferred stone to iron; but, in view of the difficulty of securing perfectly sound stone in very large masses, he thinks it would be unsafe to trust to it for spans of twenty-two feet.

The recommendation of the Board, that the windows should be subdivided by mullions and transoms, he intimates is inconsistent with their complaint that the rooms are insufficiently lighted, besides which they cannot now be made part of the construction; and he considers that the wooden sliding sashes of the original design are better and less likely to get out of order than the iron sashes hung on pivots, which the Advisory Board would substitute for them. On the whole, he feels sure that, if the building is finished as proposed by the Board, its cost will be considerably increased.
Mr. Fuller expresses surprise that the report of the Board should charge upon him, as he assumes that it does, the whole responsibility of the disposition of the main parts of the building, the adoption of a central court, the placing of the main towers and legislative hall, and the dimensions of the rooms; all of which, he says, were fixed by the State authorities. He cites the expressed opinion of various architects against the modifications proposed by the Advisory Board, giving the following communication from Messrs. Hunt, Dudley, and Lienau, of New York: — THOMAS FULLER, ESQ., ARCHITECT OF THE STATE CAPITOL AT ALBANY.

April 1, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Page 107

Dear Sir,—In accordance with your request, we the undersigned have carefully considered the proposed alterations suggested for the completion of the State Capitol, as published in the American Architect and Building News, March 11, 1876; and we are unanimous in the opinion that the suggested alterations are no improvement on the original design, and, furthermore, that the style adopted is totally at variance with the portions of the building already erected.

The proposed changes for the Assembly Chamber we consider defective, inasmuch as thereby all communication between the east and west ends of the building is sacrificed on that side, for no commensurate gain.

Furthermore, we consider that the arrangement of terrace and approaches, as shown by the model, is decidedly preferable to that suggested; not only as regards the building, but also the surroundings. It is unnecessary for us to offer any suggestions concerning minor points, such as the height in the corridors, the various materials to be used, &c., as undoubtedly they can all be satisfactorily arranged.
Truly yours,
R. M. Hunt,
Henry Dudley,
D. Lienau,

April 1, 1876, THE NEW YORK STATE CAPITOL. (Communicated.) Page 111,

The modified designs for the completion of the new Capitol of the State of New York are the result of a state of things intrinsically very singular, though so common and well established as to have attracted far less comment than it deserves. But it is a highly discouraging state of things for the art of architecture; and it is only through the exertions of the body of architects that it can be remedied. The State had clearly outgrown its old State House, when the project of building a new one was first broached. The first step towards the execution of it was to hand it over to a board of Capitol Commissioners, some of them officials we believe, others eminent unofficials; all, so far as appears, perfectly respectable and estimable citizens. This board first selected and secured a site. Then it advertised for plans. It invited mankind to come in and compete for the chance of building the Capitol of New York; offering mankind, as usual, a rather sketchy programme of requirements, offering no considerable “consolation purse,” and offering the person whose drawings it preferred the appointment of architect, and the uncertain status and uncertain emoluments attached to that station. The programme was necessarily sketchy. If the commissioners had set themselves to work to make a full and definite programme of what they wanted, or if they had in any other way taken the pains to find out just what they wanted, they would have seen that they were inviting every architect, but one, in the country to do three months’ work, at least, for nothing, and that one to do it on the chance of getting an employment of uncertain tenure at uncertain rates. If this proposition had been put to them plainly, they would have seen that what they would get would be either the designs of architects who had nothing else to do, or the slight and hasty sketches of architects who had something else to do; in other words, the best work of presumably bad architects, or the worst work of presumably good architects. What they really wanted was a “ magnificent pile.” They got a picture of what seemed to them a magnificent pile, and accepted the same. The result is, that the State has a Capitol half built, which can neither decently answer the purposes of a State House, nor tolerably express them; and, after all that the architects of the Advisory Board could do to remedy its defects, it is the deliberate opinion of good judges, that the best and cheapest thing for the State would be to abandon the unfinished Capitol altogether, and put up a new building with the money which is estimated to be necessary to finish it. The improvements which the Advisory Board have effected, and the appointment of an Advisory Board capable of effecting improvements, seem to be due to the fact that Lieut-Gov. Dorsheimer, ea: officio head of the Capitol Commission, happened to be a man of some discernment and some sense of responsibility in aesthetic matters, though of course his election was on grounds entirely irrelevant to those traits. It is submitted that this is rather a precarious tenure for a great State to hold its chance of a decent public building by.

April 8, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Summary, Page 113

The New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects has presented a memorial to the Legislature of New York, protesting energetically against the adoption of the designs of the Advisory Board for the completion of the Albany Capitol. The memorial urges that the design, as amended by the Board, is “ an agglomeration of incongruous forms,” Renaissance and Romanesque, inharmonious in detail, and that if it is carried out these faults will be as obvious to the public as they are now to architects. It disclaims any indorsement of the original design of Mr. Fuller as a whole, and any criticism of the work of the Board per se. It speaks nevertheless of the towers and dome as being discordant in character, the color decoration as destructive of repose and dignity, and the new work in general as extravagantly rich and expensive in parts, and meagre to baldness in others. It presses upon the legislature the belief of the Chapter, that any attempt to change the style of the building to Romanesque or Gothic, retaining the present work, must inevitably result in a disastrous failure, and urges that no design be sanctioned for the completion of the Capitol “ which is not harmonious in character and style with the work already executed." Or, if the existing work is adjudged to be so objectionable that the building cannot be satisfactorily completed in harmony with it, “ the Chapter submits that the common interests of the public, and of the art of architecture, demand that the facades should be removed and sold, and the work commenced anew.”

The memorial was adopted by a meeting of architects whose practice favored widely different styles.

We had fully expected, in discussing the reports and designs of Mr. Fuller and the Advisory Board, to have given the architect’s design in our illustrations; but as we go to press we find ourselves disappointed in our hope of having sufficiently presentable plates to offer, and are obliged to leave the illustrations over till another number; much to our regret, since we had not meant to express any opinions till we could lay Mr. Fuller's design under our readers’ eyes.

April 8, 1876, American Architects and Building News, The Albany Capitol, page 114,

The discussions about the Albany Capitol, so far as they interest the body of architects, are concerned with two questions which are best kept distinct, and neither of which should be passed over,---a question of practice and a question of design; including in the latter both the planning and the architectural treatment of the building.

To speak first of the question of practice: When a year ago and more it was brought to the notice of the Capitol Commission, that their building, which was to have been completed for some four millions of dollars, had cost already more than five, and, after several years’ work, had only been brought to the floor of the principal story, and that the general estimate then submitted reached some seven millions more, although no complete and detailed drawings and specifications had then been made on which to base close estimates, it was clearly their duty to take careful account of the situation, and see how they could make sure of the cost and progress of the work in fixture. It appeared too, that owing partly to the unskilful meddling of former officials, and partly to the dispositions adopted by the architect, the arrangement of the building was likely to be unsatisfactory and inconvenient. Under these circumstances the Commission, reserving to themselves the authority to act, but aware of their own incompetency to judge of purely technical matters, called in experts to make the necessary examination for them and to advise what should be done. The feeling is common in the profession, we know, that an architect once engaged, should have full swing; that all questions should be directly settled between him and his employers, and that it is an offence to appeal from him to any one else. But we see no reason why, in cases which prove particularly difficult, it is not as proper to call for consultation among architects as among physicians. When public work seems to be going ill, and where the officials in charge are responsible to the community for the conduct of it, they are bound to subordinate personal considerations to the general welfare, and the State has a right to the assistance, professional or otherwise, of her citizens whenever she is in need of it. The work could not be done without considering the architecture of the building, its architectural treatment had been called in question, and neither builders nor engineers therefore were competent for the duty. If the question had been put into such hands, the profession would have been outraged. It was essential that architects should either compose the board of advisers, or be strongly represented in, it. if it were an established custom to refer such questions to a well recognized body, such as the Institute of Architects, it would be a great advantage. But unfortunately no such custom yet obtains; and we cannot see that the Commission were at fault in laying upon their advisers the duty they did, or the Board in accepting it. If the Advisory Board made any effort to supplant the architect or if they pursued him with personal animosity or even if they thought fit to recommend his dismissal and allowed themselves to be put in his place they exposed themselves to condemnation but it does not appear that they did any of these things Attention has been diverted from their report on the condition of the building which should be the principal part of their work to their design which is subordinate and might properly have been made a matter of less prominence This difficulty is due partly to the style in which their design is made and partly to the elaboration with which it is presented Apart from the language of the report which is in some places needlessly sharp we do not see that the Board have criticised the work more severely than from their point of view was reasonable In some points of construction and especially the substitution of better material their suggestions are sensible and important Their criticisms of the planning of the building seem judicious but unfortunately in this the most essential matter of all they do not succeed in recommending any real improvement The building is evidently ill planned and the Board feel obliged to leave it so and after all the chief suggestions they have to make are in their treatment of the exteriors They were called on from the beginning as part of their work to suggest what changes they thought best in the design of the Capitol and their natural mode of suggesting them was by slight sketches Here we should have been glad to see them stop The Commission however naturally wished to know what the cost of the alterations proposed by the Board would be that it might be compared with the cost of carrying out the first design For this it was necessary to carry them into detail and to prepare specifications a work which it was proper in courtesy to defer to Mr Fuller It fell however to the advisers to work out their own ideas which they did with an elaboration which is to be regretted both because the drawings hastily prepared cannot be thought to represent what they would deliberately recommend to have done and also for reasons which we defer till we speak of the style of their alterations

Page 115

In considering the planning of the Capitol its construction and its architecture it is convenient to refer more in detail to the report of the Board and to Mr Fuller's reply though we can touch only on the leading points The criticisms of the Board on the general disposition of the building the unhappy position and diificult access of the legislative chambers their interruption of the communication between the ends of the building the ill success of the device for remedying this by the interpolated corridor the cavernous character of the main corridors the bad distribution and lighting of the committee rooms and otilces all this seems to us fully warranted The arbitrary arrangement of the whole in uniformly planned wings round a single court was probably the original occasion of most of these faults which are the natural outgrowth of an attempt to cram such a varied and complex series of rooms into a prearranged shell Many of these faults perhaps most of them as appears from Mr Fuller's reply are not to be laid to his charge having been imposed on the plan by the State authorities but our criticism is not aimed at the architect but at the building as it is So in regard to the material of the building the free use of galvanized sheet iron for the elaborate architecture of the roof story seems to deserve the condemnation with which the Board visits it The finishing of an interior in east iron too is an almost hopeless vulgarization of it except in positions where the evident need of unusual strength and a frank and specially characteristic treatment give the metal dignity Into the other details of construction it is not worth while to enter for they are of secondary importance In their discussion and handling of Mr Fuller's exterior the Advisory Board are less successful Their objection to the position of the tower that it does not mark the situation of any important part in the interior of the building is worth noticing for its bearing on general criticism A tower at least one commanding enough to be the crowning feature of so large a building is monumental rather than utilitarian and does not easily lend itself to practical uses It may hold a peal of bells a clock or a staircase but it is itself superior to its contents Its importance is its own and if it cannot justify its existence except as an index of what is under it it had better be left out In fact a tower is intolerant of rivalry and commonly spoils whatever is put in its base In churches only so far as we know has it been found practicable to give any distinguished use to the part of the floor at the base of the tower Of the two towers before us we think Mr Fuller's altogether the best It has a movement and poise that the other lacks its height is better adjusted to the building and it crowns the composition better The roof of Mr Fuller's design also is the subject of severe criticism It is as the report complains with reason unduly broken up the turrets are not fortunate nor the detail promising but it is adjusted to the work below it and in its external disposition carries out fairly the general scheme of the design Of that which the Board would substitute for it it is not worth while to say much As shown in their published drawings it is decidedly ugly since the Board are to revise their design it cannot be doubted that it will be changed Mr Fuller's criticism on the approach to the building proposed in the report is it would seem quite reasonable Isle says that the steps and terraces projecting one hundred and seventy feet from the east front would in the approach from State Street effectually hide a great portion ot that facade But the obvious point of attack in the design of the Board is the style of the proposed alterations The transition from Roman to twelfth century work is abrupt and undisguised Not only is the detail changed but the disposition of parts is different The windows in the three lower stories for instance are in careful vertical alignment their position being emphasized by the columns of the order which is applied to the two principal stories but the arcades in story supplied in the new design have no relation to alignment of those below them It seems as if the Board having taken up the problem had altogether put out mind the design which they were to modify and carried an independent conception of their own with no thought adaptation except such as was required for its mechanical adjustment to the work below it This we take to be altogether wrong both artistically and as a matter of comity As a matter of art the clashing of the two designs disparages both The ordonnanee of the lower part points to a subdivision of masses which is not carried out in the upper The simple massing of the new part looks bald and clumsy against the more broken surface of the old the old by the contrast is made to look trivial and slight and the more massive style is uppermost Each part is discredited by the other and ensemble which is more important than either is thrown to the winds Moreover as a matter of comity though this is a secondary consideration the thing for a person or a board to do when called in to amend the desig of another man is one would say to do so with as little destruction of its unity as possible and the work which has already been done if it is to be retained should not be subjected to any needless indignity When whole communities worked only in one style and knew the practice of no other it was natural that whatever additions they had to make to a building should be made in the only style they knew but in our time when there is no style understood to the exclusion of others and with experts presumably capable of working in all the case is altogether different The following words of the report of the Board on Mr Fuller's designs come naturally to mind and apply with especial force to their own amendments It will be found that the detail seen by itself might in each case be readily supposed to be designed for a quite different building and that consequently it has a claim on the admiration of the observer in competition with rather than in alliance to that of all the rest We submit that you should consider whether such a frequent change of motive is not again unfavorable to unity repose and dignity

Page 117

NEW YORK CHAPTER At the regular business meeting held at the Chapter Rooms March 7 1876 the secretary of a special committee reported the issuing of a circular letter to members giving all necdful information concerning the representation of members works at the Centennial It was voted that the selection of designs for exhibition at the Centennial be made by ballot A communication was presented from the Boston Society of Civil Engineers in regard to the metric system which was laid on the table During a discussion apropos of recent articles in the American Architect and Building News in relation to the Congressional bills drafted by the Institute and by the Supervising Architect of the Treasury Department Mr Pfeiffer objected to the views expressed by the said journal and hoped that the Chapter would disclaim any responsibility for them implied by the claim of the journal to be the organ of the Institute He said that the ideas of the author of a design could not be fully realized unless he retained general control of the work and had opportunities of explaining his designs from time to time that the objections of the editor in regard to superintendence of government work could be met by providing a clerk of works who should be appointed by the government and who should receive his directions as to detail from the author of the designs After further discussion the following resolution was passed Resolved That the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects re atlirrns the views expressed in the Fifth Annual Convention of the Institute held in Boston in 1871 viz that the architect and author of the design of any proposed work should retain the supreme control and general supervision of the execution of the work At a special meeting held March 28 it was voted to reconsider the resolution passed at the meeting of March 7 viz that the selection of designs for the Centennial be decided by ballot It was voted that the designs should be selected by a committee of three including the chairman After a discussion upon the merits of the controversy between the Advisory Board and the architect of the New Capitol it was voted that a committee of three be appointed to prepare a paper to be presented to the Chapter at a special meeting to be held on the following day At the special meeting held on March 29 the committee read their report which took the form of a memorial to the New York State Legislature After prolonged discussion and the adoption of several amendments the report was accepted in the following form

The New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects has examined deliberately and with care the heliotype (i.e. literal) copies of the designs of Messrs Olmsted Eidlitz and Richardson the Advisory Board appointed by the New Capitol Commissioners for the completion of the State Capitol building published in the American Architect and Building News of March 11, which design is reported as approved by the Commission and recommended for adoption The report of the Advisory Board has been also carefully considered The Chapter finds that the projected work is designed in direct antagonism to the received rules of art It finds that Italian Renaissance under stories are surmounted by other absolutely inharmonious Romanesque stories that no successful attempt has been made to avoid the abrupt transition from one style to the other that the axes of windows have been totally disregarded a feature the preservation of which is indispensable to Renaissance work of importance that the whole is surmounted by roofs towers and a dome of discordant character Renaissance in form Gothic in treatment that it is proposed to introduce brilliant color in the facades and roofs which is not only out of keeping with the work already done but which will be destructive of the repose and dignity of a structure of this class and material and that the new work is extravagantly rich and expensive in parts while in others it is meagre to baldness This society respectfully directs your attention to the fact that while elaborately prepared architectural drawings particularly for works of great magnitude rarely fail to secure the commendation of those who are not experts when put to the crucial test of actual construction if not in accord with the axioms of design derived from the accumulated experience of centuries they are equally repugnant to the natural taste of the public and to the cultivated taste of the artist The members of this society are severally votaries of all recognized styles and schools and it considers it its duty to assure you as it does by an unanimous vote that this design is false in principle an agglomeration of incongruous forms that its details are inharmonious and that the result must be bad also that if the design be carried out these facts will be as obvious to the educated public as they are now to your petitioners The primary object of the American Institute of Architects is to foster the growth of architecture as a fine art in this country and its New York Chapter most respectfully prays that you will not by causing the construction of this design establish a great public example which will stand for ages in all its grandeur of proportion and magnificence of material to vitiate public taste by its extreme incongruities of form and ornamentation Your petitioner the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects is the representative of the great mass of the cultivated architects of the State and together with its sister chapter in Albany is their sole organized representative and it considers itself justified in demanding that the greatest public work in our great State which will doubtless be accepted as a lasting type of the architectural knowledge and skill of our generation shall be free from the unpardonable and obvious faults which characterize this design This society has neither the intention of indorsing as a whole the old design for the building nor of expressing an opinion as to the merits of the new design per se ie from above the point to which the work is now constructed but it can safely assure you that any attempt to change the style of the partially constructed building from Renaissance to Romanesque or Gothic retaining the present work must inevitably result in as disastrous a failure as is promised by the present design Therefore the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in the general interest of the public and of its art education as well as of the profession which it represents feels itself called upon to urge you to sanction no design for the completion of the Capitol building which is not harmonious in character and style with the work already executed or if the work is so faulty in construction or so bad in design that it is in your opinion impossible to complete the structure in harmony with it so as to make a good and suitable Capitol building this Chapter submits that the common interests of the public and of the art of architecture demand that the facades should be removed and sold and that the work should be commenced anew And your petitioners will ever pray Signed RM Ilusr per AJB President AJ Bnoon Secretary NY Chapter Amer Inst of Archts.

It was voted to forward a copy signed by the President and Secretary on behalf of the Chapter to the Albany Chapter and request them to submit it to the Senate together with its own indorsement thereof The Secretary was directed to forward to the other Chapters AIA all documents relating to the controversy together with a report of the proceedings of the New York Chapter A paper on acoustics was read by Mr. Oakey and accepted the Secretary was requested to forward the same to the editor of the American Architect and Building News for publication The Chapter approved the action of the Secretary in sending to said editor abstracts of the Chapter meetings The invitation of Mr. Schwarzmann architect of the Memorial Hall and other buildings for the Centennial Exhibition tovisit and inspect the progress of the buildings was accepted and the 15th of March, was appointed for the excursion.

April 15, 1876, Page 121,

The New York Senate appears to have left the Capitol Commissioners in possession of the field The Finance Committee had put into the supply bill provisions appropriating a million of dollars for the construction of the Capitol during the year but requiring that Mr Fuller's design should be carried out to the roof line without modification and also that the Speaker should add a new member to the Board of Commissioners On the consideration the bill by the Senate the appropriation was reduced to a million and the provisions for carrying out the original design and the appointment of an additional commissioner were struck out In the course of the debate Senator Starbuck made a strong effort to have the present system carrying on the work given up and the completion of the building provided for by a general contract proposing that instead of making an appropriation for the continuation the work thirty thousand dollars should be appropriated to the completion of plans and drawings presumably specifications also and the procuring of estimates from contractors He supported his proposition by urging that undue prices had been paid for much of the material used and the building had been unreasonably costly thus far Senator Harris resisted the proposal for contracts and argued that there was no building in the country which had cost so little Be this as it may a rough computation shows that up to present point the Capitol has cost about seventy three per superficial foot and that if it is completed to the architee_t's present estimates it will cost about hundred and twenty five dollars per foot lVas it on the cost of public buildings built in this way that Mr Fogerty based his erroneous deduction that it cost five as much to build in the United States as in England FINALLY the Finance Committee having asked leave consider the bill again it was once more reported with appropriation of half a million dollars and the clause The Commissioners of the new Capitol are directed to report to the Legislature at the opening of next session full detailed plans and specifications for completion of the whole work by contract They are required to secure by advertisement estimates of bids the construction of the work from responsible parties which estimates or bids shall be accompanied by such sureties as the said Commissioners shall deem to be necessary in to guarantee the faithful performance of any contract contracts that may be made All such estimates or shall also be embraced in the report to be made to the Legislature as above required An amendment was added increasing the appropriation to eight hundred dollars and with this provision the bill passed the Senate leaving the Commission as before with authority to the design.


Between Pages 124-125,

WE give up this issue to the reproduction of the plans and elevation of the New York State Capitol as originally designed by Mr Fuller. The plans are printed from the stone while the perspective the negative for which was taken from the plaster model is printed from gelatine

April 15, 1876, American Architect and Building News, HISTORY OF THE MASSACHUSETTS STATE HOUSE. Boston. Page 127,


Sir,--I am frequently asked for information about the history of the Massachusetts State House which I cannot give. Presuming there may be many others who wish for more knowledge than they have of the origin and history of this interesting building, I would like to make a request through your columns that some one who can will give us this bit of architectural history. And while on this subject why not have a series of articles on our prominent old buildings. Some account of the Old State House for instance would be very desirable. Very respectfully, S. C. E.

REPORT OF MEETING Rhode Island Chapter, Providence, April 6, 1876.

The regular monthly meeting of this Chapter was held last evening.

The Committee on the memorial for the adoption of the metric system reported that in consequence of the opposition of the Boards of Trade and of prominent manufacturers of machinery it would be inexpedient to press the matter at present The Committee on Building Laws reported that they had held several conferences with the Committee on Ordinances of the City Government and that committee had promised to recommend the appointment of an Inspector of Buildings but were not inclined to undertake the formation of a commission for the preparation of a law at the present time The Common Council have instructed the mayor to obtain authority from the legislature for the enactment of a building law by the council After some discussion the Chapter decided to go on and form a suitable law to be ready for enactment at the first favorable opportunity Communications were read from the Secretary of the Institute in reference to the building law accompanied by a full set of the forms in use by the Department of Buildings in New York.

A communication was read from the Secretary of the New York Chapter accompanied by the reports of the Advisory Board of Architects on the completion of the New York State Capitol with Mr Fuller's reply thereto and the proceedings and remonstrance of the New York Chapter in regard to the same. Whereupon after discussion and severe criticism of the design recommended by the Advisory Board the following resolutions were unanimously passed:--

Resolved, Whereas the evil influence of mongrel architecture is not confined to the locality were it exists, but is felt throughout the nation, in the vitiation of the public taste; and building expressing the majesty of the State should especially be distinguished by purity of style and dignified consistency of detail. Therefore we the Rhoda Island Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, having carefully examined the design for the completion of the facades of the Capitol building at Albany as proposed by the Advisory Board and published in the American Architect, do heartily approve of the remonstrance of the New York Chapter in reference thereto, and hope that Chapter may succeed in its efforts to prevent the perpetration of such an architectural absurdity as the addition of two stories and dome of Romanesque design to a building so far completed in the style of the Renaissance. The Chapter then listened with much interest to a description by Mr C. E. Carpenter of his visit to Pompeii, with notes of personal observation, illustrated by photographs and sketches, and after a vote of thanks to him for the pleasure conferred, adjourned. CHARLES P. HARTSHORN, Secretary

April 22, 1876, American Architect and Building News, ARTISTIC CRITICISM. Page 130,

A great drawback to the satisfactory practice of art among Americans, and to the popular appreciation of it as well, is the lack of good criticism. The criticism that we have is mostly either of the easy-going kind that pervades the average daily papers, — a "genial criticism,” which receives with admiration whatever comes along,—or that which lays about unsparingly, and confounds the work with the author in irritating contempt. In fact, the characteristics of current criticism, next to the pervading one of want of knowledge, are mainly two,—its incapability of seeing a thing in more than one aspect, and the apparent impossibility of keeping clear of personalities. The old complaint, that artists do not write, and that writers do not know enough to criticise intelligently, does not cover the ground. Doubtless it is generally true in both respects; but any one who converses much with artists will find that on the whole the diversity and incompatibility of their critical opinions leaves him as much at sea as does the ignorance of the professed writer of criticism.

The fact is, that among American artists at least, —even among architects, whom we have chiefly in mind, and whose practice is more formal than that of either painters or sculptors,—there exists no recognized system of working to furnish canons by which the excellence of their work can be judged; while their keen interest in it, and their attachment to their own ways, altogether interfere with the dispassionate and judicial frame of mind which the critical function requires. The difficulty comes—leaving out of view the natural vehemence of the artistic temper— in great measure from the fact that our architects and other artists have no common and systematic training. Every one acquires his own manner of work from some course of study and practice peculiar to himself, and generally altogether empirical. Such a condition of things as obtains among the French architects, for instance, where the code of criticism is well established and understood, and where every one has a distinct justification to offer both for his procedure and for his judgments, is altogether unknown here. There exists, to be sure, here as well as elsewhere, a certain kind of doctrinaire criticism based on a few simple maxims, mostly moral, and of perfectly easy application by whoever chooses to take them in hand. Of this criticism, which is chiefly administered by amateurs, and reduces the skilful and the untrained, the artistic and the prosaic, to a most democratic level, we shall have something to say at another time.

It not unnaturally results from the kind of criticism to which we are accustomed, as well as from certain national traits, that Americans are peculiarly sensitive to it. The strictures which come from uncontrolled dislike of a work, rather than from a reasoned estimate of its faults, are apt to run into imputation to its author of intellectual and even moral baseness. On the other hand, the coaxing and patting of the common newspaper adulation soften the skin admirably to catch the smart of a vindictive lashing; and even a cautious spurring draws blood. There are no more deplorable symptoms to one who is interested in art in our oommunity, than the prevailing want of faith in the honesty of any criticism, and the apparently hopeless tendency to degrade every expression of difference of opinion into a personal quarrel. The recent controversy over the question of the Albany Capitol is a case in point. It was a case of great delicacy and ditflculty, one which especially called for forbearance and the most judicial treatment, one in which it was of the utmost importance for each party to maintain its position in the clearest, most dispassionate, and most logically convincing way. Yet it has been blown into a hot professional quarrel. The strictures of the Advisory Board, mostly reasonable in themselves, were expressed in language which was in parts needlessly annoying; and every successive utterance grew hotter. The protest of the New York Chapter was legitimate in its purpose ; but its warmth asperity of tone took away the judicial character on which it should have relied for its influence ; and newspapers on both sides lost their tempers altogether. The question became a struggle of excited advocates ; and hardly a critical voice was raised.

No doubt a good deal of the sensitiveness to criticism which Americans show comes from a feeling that to criticize implies an assumption of superiority in the critic ; and no doubt, also, the air with which it is administered is apt to indicate such an assumption. For instance, responses that we have seen to the protest of the New York Chapter have argued that the architects of the Advisory Board were men of equal professional standing with any in the Chapter ; and that to object decisively to the design the Board was to assume superior knowledge or capability, and therefore "impertinent." But such imputations are entirely gratuitous, unless there be an actual claim to speak with authority, or a noticeable arrogance in the manner of the critic. The old saying that the looker-on sees most of the game, is in its way as applicable to questions of this sort as of any other. The critic, if free from the prepossession of a fixed idea, has his mind open to many considerations from which the force of a definite creative impulse may divert the attention of the designer ; and his notice will be often attracted by relations which the other in his artistic haste has overlooked. The converse proposition is also true,---that the critic cannot fairly judge the work the artist unless he is careful to consider the point from which the artist regarded his problem, and to divine as far as he can the reasons and feelings by which hisdesign was shaped. The artist from his own position has noted and been controlled by considerations which have seemed to him convincing, and which will probably escape the notice of a critic who forms his impressions from an outside look. There are those, indeed. who insist that an artist's work should be regarded and criticised solely from his own standpoint ; but this is not reasonable, since his standpoint itself is as much a matter for criticism as any other characteristic. A man's work, bad in its actual effect, is not to be pronounced good because its faults result from his having chosen to regard his problem from a point from which his view of its conditions was imperfect or distorted. The rightfulness of his conception is one thing, the success with which he has carried it out is another ; both should be considered in judging his work, and he is responsible for both.

Much of the personal character of critical judgment and still more of its imputed assumption of superiority would disappear if any common ground for it were recognized among us. Where the critic can support his decision only by the statement of his own opinion, it is easy to retort that his opinion is not better than another, and that to express it in reprehension of the work of his brother artist, is to proclaim himself superior. But so soon as the critic refers his judgment to some principle, code or scheme, recognized, even if not accepted, by the artist to which himself pays deference, the sting of personal assumption is gone. A decision for which a reason is given that convinces the judge, if not the judged, has not the offensive air of one that rests on personal authority. Rules of art or criticism may be fetters to original power, but we are not called upon to spend much time in contriving for the protection of geniuses. Arbitrary maxims are likely to cramp a healthy development in more ordinary folk, yet there are some principles in art there are harmonies, and there are discords, and the collective study of men can determine them. For the mass of artists, it would be a valuable means of training, as well as a wholesome restraint, if we could habituate ourselves to a kind of criticism such as prevails in the French ateliers,---keen, incisive, well understood, and impersonal, and requiring that the artist be able to explain and justify the treatment of his work, as the critic does his criticism.

April 22, 1876, American Architect and Building News, Page 134, Chicago,

THE report of the Advisory Committee to the New York Capitol Commissioners attracts much attention among the architects of Chicago; and they are anxious to get the whole history of the matter. If we are to believe all that the Committee say, Mr. Fuller will have to be set down as a stupid dunce, which conclusion is hard to accept in view of the fact that his exterior design, with which every one is so familiar from its numerous illustrations, is generally regarded as one of the most successful of the many designs in the modern French style, which have been adopted for public buildings throughout the States. Whatever its failings are, they must be attributed to the style of architecture to which he has been confined, rather than to his treatment of it. Of the interior, no one who has not examined the plans is competent to judge.

In regard to the exterior, the profession here will frown upon all attempts to mutilate Mr. Fuller’s design without his assent. The principle should be maintained, that an architect, after his design has been approved, and his work commenced, must be respected and sustained in whatever he does to jealously guard his reputation. It too often happens that clients attempt to indulge their own fancies at the expense of the reputations of their architects, by making alterations in designs; and in this light the question comes home to every practitioner. How much worse it is to see these things done by rivals who temporarily have the power to do so!

The question is not whether the Committee’s design is better than Mr. Fuller's. My own opinion is, that, if the whole building were in that style, it would be a more valuable work of art than his. But the question is, whether they had any moral right to force upon him a new design for the finishing of his structure, which is not only distasteful to him, but is discordant with the work that is done and must remain. There are more ways than one in which his design can be modified ; and it is not diflicult to conceive that even a. man of the strongest Gothic tendencies, had he the motive to improve rather than to destroy, could accomplish all that is desired by the State in the way of economy and retrenchment, and produce a result entirely consistent with the principles of design laid down by the Committee, without doing violence to the work already done. This is just what Supervising Architect Potter is now doing with the Chicago Custom House, a building whose faults in design are incomparably worse than those of the Albany building.

April 22, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Page 135, “THE REMONSTRANCE OF THE ARCHITECTS.

To the Editor of The American Architect.

Sir, —I have had my attention drawn to the Albany letter in The World of April 1, containing "The Remonstrance of the Architects" in the matter of the New Capitol, and an editorial on the same subject.

Considering, that among the prominent practitioners of this city who unanimously adopted the memorial it thus designates, were included the architects of the Connecticut State House now being built at Hartford, of the Lenox Library, of the Williamsburg Savings Bank, of the Equitable Insurance building (or at least one of its associate architects), of the Masonic Temple, and of many other structures certainly not less monumental and important than, and quite as much admired, whether by experts or by the public, as the average productions of the two architects out of the three members of the Advisory Board,—one of whom is, by the way, himself a member of the Chapter,—its phrase of “amusing impertinence” is certainly as apt as it is frank ; apt, that is, as applied to the juxtaposition indicated in the performance of that member of the Board, who may safely be held responsible for the design.

For "Risum teneatis?" I am persuaded, must have been the mental question of that undoubted artist as he submitted the result of his labors to the artistic discrimination of our lawgivers. No one less readily than himself would give a moment's serious entertainment to the scheme of projecting his work beyond the paper it is drawn on ; the more especially as his “design”—I think two out of three architects who may have paid attention to his previous productions would allow—falls, per se, far below his best performances, and has probably received little of such attention as he would have bestowed on a bona-fide project intended to be worked out into enduring shape.

If the Advisory Board had limited its functions to the simple advice it was ostensibly created, as I understand, to give, it would have performed a duty which most other architects would no doubt have been glad to have the opportunity of performing ; and the New York branch of the Institute of Architects would not have been called on, in the interests of public architecture, to depart from its rule of never, in its ofiicial capacity, offering “uncomplimentary criticism" or the reverse as to the “style” of its professional brethren ; agreeing as it does, with yourself, that distinction of style “is a question which every educated architect is at liberty to hold his own views upon,”—whether the style be that of the designing architect of the Advisory Board, or that of the architect of the actual incompleted structure under question, which is now committed to a certain style beyond the artistic possibility of alteration, or whether it cannot be brought under any received classification at all.

April 29, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Page 143, REPORT OF MEETING. PHILADELPHIA CHAPTER, A.I.A.

The attention of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects having been directed to the report of the "Advisory Board," appointed by the commissioners of the "New State Capitol" now being erected in the city of Albany, in the State of New York, and having carefully examined the designs of the said Board for the completion of the building, which designs are found in the American Architect and Building News of March 11, 1876, have unanimously adopted the following resolutions:----

Resolved, That this Chapter finds the projected alterations of the designs upon which the aforesaid work is being executed to be at variance with the rules of art, and wholly inconsistent with the harmony, repose, and dignity of a representative public structure.

Resolved, That the "Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects" fully agrees with and hereby indorses the statements and opinions of the "New York Chapter," as set forth and expressed in their communication to the Senate of the State of New York under date of March 29, 1876.

Resolved, That the general interests of the public, and of art education, as well as the interests of the profession which this Chapter in part represents, render it of the first importance to urge upon the authorities having control of the work of the New York State Capitol at Albany, not to sanction any design for the completion of the building referred to, which is not entirely harmonious in character and style with the design of the portions of the structure already executed.

Done at a special meeting of the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects held at the rooms of the Chapter, April 17, 1876.
Signed THOMAS U. WALTER, President
ALONZO B. JONES, Secretary

May 6, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Page 152, NOTES AND CLIPPINGS.

The New York State Capitol.—At a recent meeting of the Baltimore Chapter, A. I. A., action was taken as follows: “At the request from the Albany and New York Chapters to express an opinion in regard to the action taken by those chapters in reference to the questions touching the State Capitol, the Baltimore Chapter, while it concurs in opinion with the New York and Albany Chapters on the question of the design of the building, thinks the discussion and settlement of the points in question had better be confined to the New York State Chapters.”

May 20, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Page 168, PLASTER MODELS.

An exhibition of all the models for the stonecutting for the new Public Buildings has just been opened at Philadelphia. These models have been made by Mr. Alexander Calder of Philadelphia, from the drawings of the architect Mr. McArthur. It a large and a very striking collection. Amongst others is the fullsized model of the statue of William Penn. which is to crown the dome of the central tower. The Public Buildings are said to be largest mass of buildings in the United States ; and the tower, which is to be 510 feet in height, is intended to reach a higher altitude than has been attained by any other completed building in the world. This throws out of account the uncompleted spires of Cologne Cathedral, which are intended to be 532 feet in height. It is to cover an area exceeding the area of the Capitol at Washington by 2,809 square feet, and the area of the new Capitol at Albany by 44,301 square feet.

May 27, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Page 174, Reports of Meetings, A. I. A., Board of Trustees.

The Secretary presented several letters addressed to him by Mr. Fuller, architect of the New York State Capitol, together with accompanying copies of letters addressed to Mr. Fuller by Lord Monck, Governor General of Canada ; Joseph Cauchon, Speaker of the Canadian Senate ; and John Page, Chief Engineer of Public Works, Canada,--- giving the facts of Mr. Fuller's connection, as architect, with the Government Buildings of the Dominion of Canada. Copies of resolutions passed by the Rhode Island, Chicago and Philadelphia Chapters, indorsing the addressed to the Senate of New York by the New York Chapter, were also presented. It was voted that inasmuch as these documents were of general and not merely of local interest they be referred to the Board of Trustees of the American Institute Architects.

June 17, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Page 193 The commissioners on the New York State Capitol held a meeting at Albany last week in conjunction with the land commissioners. The supply-bill recently voted by the New York Legislature, it will be remembered, appropriated eight hundred thousand dollars for continuing the construction of the Capitol, with the stipulations that the commissioners should submit at the opening of the next legislature full plans and specifications and bids for the completion of the building, and that no change should be made from the design according to which it had been built thus far, without the approval of the governor, and the commissioners of the Land Ofiice. The lieutenant-governor offered a resolution to the effect that the commissioners of the Land Office approved the changes shown in the design that day submitted by the Advisory Board. After some question whether the design of the roofs should properly be passed upon by the land commissioners, and a distinct refusal on the part of the comptroller to in any way commit himself to the sanction of the upper part of the building, the resolution, having failed to pass in its first form, was modified by the lieutenant-governor so as only to approve the plans of the Advisory Board up to the roof-line (it having been stated by the superintendent of the building, that the appropriation made would be expended before the building reached that level). In this form the resolution was voted.

The State engineer, having stated that several Chapters of the American Institute of Architects had objected to the design of the Board, was reminded that the design now submitted by the Board was a different one from that against which the architects had protested ; to which he replied that the style remained the same. From this it would appear that the form or details of the design had been altered, but that the stumbling-block of a change of style still remains. The lieutenant-governor’s statements seem to indicate, however, that up to the cornice-line no change was now proposed except the omission of certain of the porticos and columns or pilasters. In the course of the debate Mr. Eidlitz argued that it was not a question of style at all, but only whether the design of the Advisory Board was worse or better than the original one: to which we should have expected the answer, that it was not a question simply of the design of the Board, but of the whole building as amended by the Board, in which the question of the discordance in style was an essential point; also, that the question about the design of the Board was not only whether it was better than that of Mr. Fuller, but whether it was as good as they could make it.

June 17, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Page 200,
THE ALBANY CAPITOL.--Various changes proposed by the "revising" architects were recently submitted to the new Capitol Commissioners. One of these carries the senate-chamber back to the open court so that it may receive light and ventilation on two sides ; and others provide in various ways for additional means of ventilating and lighting the interior. Certain changes were also proposed in the exterior of the building ; and as by the law no change can be made in this particular except by the consent of the Governor and Commissioners and the Land Officers, it was resolved to submit the plan to that Board. The Commissioners of the Land Office consist of the Lieutenant-Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney-General, State Engineer, and Speaker of the Assembly.

June 24, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Page 206,
Interest is revived in the Albany Capitol matters, by the appearance before the Commissioners of the Land Office,---who are the working representatives of the State government touching the new Capitol,--- of Messrs. Eidlitz and Olmstead, now the consulting architects. The whole matter is resolving itself into a quiet diplomatic contest between Messrs. Eidlitz and Fuller, as to who shall control the erection or completion of the building, and thereby determine whether the ultimate completion shall be in the Renaissance or Romanesque style. Mr. Eidlitz is progressing also with his plans for the completion and general utilization of the New York City Court-House. It is a hard problem to work out; but the sketches place upon its flat roof another story in Gothic, and a great dome treated with Gothic details. What the result of the job will be, it is hard to say. This court-house had been turned into such an avenue of approach to the city treasury, and so vast were the pieces of thievery committed under pretext of contract upon it, that the very mention of any further expenditure upon the ugly pile will raise an outcry from a city full of indignant tax payers. The mention of this ill-fated court-house recalls the Kellum suit, brought by Hannah Kellum, the widow of the architect of the building, the late John Kellum. The suit was characteristic of Kellum, even though dead. As A. T. Stewart's architect and real estate man, he secured a great influence over the millionnaire, and executed for him the buildings which mark his want of taste as an architectural critic and judge. Beyond the Stewart work and this court-house, it is diilicult to recall what Kellum ever did do. From a very poor carpenter's foreman he suddenly blossomed into an "architect," and rushed on into a goodly fortune if not into much renown. Blackballed by the New York Chapter of the Institute, he failed to comprehend that receiving fees from mechanics as well as clients might prove a proper ground for rejection. Even while the trial was in progress,a committee of the Board of Health were at work on an examination of the heating and ventilation of the building, and found blunders of construction which should disgrace the merest tyro in an architect's office.

June 24, 1876, The American Architect and Building News, Page 208,
THE NEW CAPITOL,--- A stone-cutter writing to the New York Times asks: "Why is the State paying ten thousand dollars a year to a superintendent, when he has nothing to do six months of the year? We have worked one month on the building since the 24th of last December, when they knocked us idle. 'What are a thousand deaths like thine to a fame like mine?' exclaimed Parrhasius to his tortured victim. So say I, what are a thousand hungry men, women, and children, that they should be thought of when the time is required to further an aspiring politician on the road to fame?"

THE approach of a nation's centennial anniversary not only suggests a review of the work of a century and an inquiry as to whether our efforts in the various fields of human progress have been well directed or not, but it arouses a spirit of reform based upon past experience. This I conceive to be the spirit with which all well thinking men and bodies of men are to-day actuated, and it is especially appropriate that we as a representative body should carefully consider those things which pertain to the future welfare of our country from an architectural point of view. The recent agitation of the question: What is essential to the best progress of government architecture, is in accordance with this spirit. If it is deemed necessary that any thing should be done to that end, we shall be called upon, and shall be held responsible for its solution. 

As we read the history of the world in past ages by its monuments, just so surely will ours be read by our monuments. We are prone to think lightly of how we are to be judged by them hereafter, and are too apt to consider the architectural monuments of the present age as transitory in their nature, as most of them are. But though our country is covered with vast numbers of unsubstantial structures scarcely able to endure for a lifetime, it yet contains many which will live with the greatest monuments of antiquity. 

I have in mind one building in New York covering an entire square of ground, which having proved to be a bad financial undertaking was sought to be removed some years ago. This structure is now owned by the United States Government and is the present Custom House for New York. It is safe to say that it will never be taken down. It was so massively built that it would not pay to destroy it for the sake of putting the ground to more profitable use. We often look to the Parthenon at Athens as an enduring monument. An attempted copy of it stands only one block from the building just mentioned, formerly built for a Custom-House, it is now the United States Sub Treasury Oflice. This building exceeds the Parthenon in dimensions and in massiveness of construction. By these we shall certainly be judged in future ages when the Old South Church and Fancuil Hall have passed away. The Treasury Building and Patent Office, the new State Department Buildings, the United States Capitol, the Girard College, and the former United States Bank of Philadelphia, the New York, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee, and South Carolina State Capitols, the Philadelphia and Boston Municipal Buildings, the Williamsburgh Savings Bank, the Equitable Insurance Building, the Telegraph Building, the Tribune Building, and the Coal Exchange of New York, the Gault House in Louisville, and the Palmer House in Chicago, the Post Offices in Boston, New York, Cincinnati, and St Louis will all stand for ages as architectural monuments of our generation, which time will scarcely efface. 

Are we to be judged by these, and if so shall we be misjudged? Are we capable of better things? I will not venture to answer, but only suggest the inquiry as leading to a thoughtful consideration of the subject, not intending on this occasion to offer my own criticisms. The buildings named are of all classes---national, state, municipal, and private, agreeing only in that they are all massive and enduring.

It is our national buildings with which we are at present mainly concerned. By them our system of administration will be judged, and in them will be read plainer than books can tell the history of government architecture in America. 

Let us glance for a moment at the past: The history of architecture read by its monuments begins in Egypt. We are all familiar with its remains. They are the offspring of a purely hieratic government, and as with most succeeding nations, one in which Church and State were combined, The Pyramids are emblems of power without art. Karnac is an emblem of power combined with art. These remains embody most that we know of Egyptian history. The evidence in them is incontestable that all that there was of power and all that there was of art in the nation was combined in them, which together have made them so great that nothing else remains to compete with them. Whatever else there may have been must have been incousiderable.

The monuments of India through all ages record a similar history. The temple, the palace, and the tomb are all government buildings, the offspring of a hieratic government which gathered under its centralized power all that there was of art in that country.

We know little more of government architecture until we arrive in Greece. Here was a democratic government which fostered art as no other country or nation ever did. Here we have evidence that the spirit of competition reigned in Arcadian loveliness. The Olympic games instilled a spirit which pervaded a whole nation. History tells us that Greece in her greatest days was a country made famous by peaceful contests; her orators, her athletes, her poets, her artists, all entered the contests actuated by n. spirit of emulation, which was fostered by an appreciative, intelligent, and just public opinion. Though we have no record of the fact, we have the best reason for assuming that her architects entered into competitions, and that the high positions accorded them were attained after the most spirited contests ; for such was the ruling spirit of the nation. Her remains which have come down to us show structures of nearly equal merit; and we are fortunate in having relics not only of her great but of her small monuments, from the great temples to the portico of the Erectheum and the Choragic Monument. An atmosphere of refined art surrounds them all.

It is only when we go to Rome and her dependences that we find a state of afiairs more nearly resembling our own.

The city of Rome under the kings has left no monuments, and we know almost as little of those of ancient Etruria. The republic is in this respect also a barren wilderness of little or no interest to the archaeologist. Says Viollet-le-Duc, “ The Romans in the early days of the republic properly had no art, as did the Egyptians, the Orientals, and the Greeks. The actual state of their history presents to us a weak populace subject to a few patricians, entirely engaged in self-aggrandizement at the expense of their neighbors, a kind of land-pirates, all actuated by a common desire for power and plunder, having little or no pleasure in those occupations which tend to the culture and love of art. However, Rome was set among neighbors with whom the arts had attained an extraordinary development. The Campagna and Etruria were covered with sacred edifices, public or private, whose value as works of art is attested by remains of the greatest beauty.” And, as illustrating the disposition of the Roman character to appropriate to itself the ideas of others, he quotes from Sallust the words of Caesar; " The greater part of us, whenever we find among either friends or foes a useful thing, appropriate it with studious care,” or, as a modern American might say, “ gobble it up.” The state of Roman society under the republic is described by Viollet-le-Duc in these graphic words: “ We see in Rome an aristocracy all powerful, possessing admirable political traditions, recruiting unceasingly from all classes, even among their adversaries. The Roman senate was the power of Rome, and directed every thing. The senators were either descendants of ancient families, or distinguished persons who had filled public positions. All public business was prescribed by the senate. The business of a Roman was either war, the government of conquered provinces, or the exercise of right, that is to say, to plead or dispense justice. Now, there is not one of these occupations which is not opposed to the culture of art. Ofiice-holding was the aim of every Roman citizen ; and this tendency was so pronounced at Rome, that, during the last days of the republic, the Latin territory was occupied by only two very distinct classes, office-holders and slaves; the first, owners of the soil, entirely occupied in self-aggrandizement and political intrigue ; the second, reduced to an abject state, delivered over to robbery and all the vices engendered by servitude. As for the free Roman plebeians, they were the most barbarous, the most disgusting, and the most venal of all the people who have ever composed a great city; ready for any thing, superstitious, easy to corrupt, and consequently at the mercy of the most crafty, most turbulent, and withalof the wealthiest members of the old families." He says also, “ The Greeks were industrious, commercial, sensible of physical and moral beauty, passionate for discussion, and controversial; willing and glad to be men, to possess among themselves their poets, their historians, their orators, and their artists.”

The picture of Roman society may be strongly drawn; but it is based upon the inevitable facts in the history of a declining republic which did nothing for art. Let it be a terrible warning to this nation, which seems often to be given over to the greed for office, power, and plunder, until in despair we are prone to lose our faith in republics. If the tendencies of our own government are like those of ancient Rome, we need not hope for our art unless they are checked; but there is a Greek spirit among us, which yet may save us.

After the republic, the empire. So it was in France in the last century. Imperial Rome, a hieratic government, reared her mighty architectural piles,—Church and State again combined, —tried to rival Egypt with her grandeur, and failed; for the artistic spirit was not within her. She was great in engineers, and poor in artists; and the remains which she shows us to-day are strong in the works of the former, and display the secondary rank taken by the latter. There was nothing indigenous in Roman architecture save her construction. If we can understand her system of government architecture, it appears to us to be one in which architecture was subordinate to engineering, and in which artists were called in only to decorate her architecture. All the failings of modern architecture are seen in her remains. Elaboration of ornament, hiding rather than elucidating construction, prevailed. Veneering was carried to the extreme. The remains of Pompeii, beautiful as they may be if restored, are only examples of decoration. There, stuccoing was resorted to, to the fullest extent; and it is not uncommon to find columns of brick stuccoed to represent stone. The splendid material afforded them was an additional iucentive to this. The word “ Roman " is proverbial for good cement. I doubt not that clubs of Roman engineers devoted their time mostly to discussing the qualities of materials and constructive problems applicable to the public buildings of the time, while they were as thoughtless of the grand comprehensive architectural problems essential to the production of unique and consistent architectural monuments, as would be a board of engineers of our time consulting over the erection of a water-battery or barracks, or an “engineer-in-charge” intrusted with the erection of a custom-house or post-office.

The result of this is that Roman architecture to-day is only the wonder of unlearned travellers, and a means of living for chattering couriers.

From the Roman empire to what we term “the middle ages” followed a long transitional period, chiefly remarkable for great ecclesiastical structures. No record remains to us of the nature and extent of government architecture in Europe during this time. From the eleventh to the fifteenth century, governmental power was centred in the chateaux and palaces. Feudality followed by centralized monarchy placed all power in the hands of kings and nobles, who dictated their wills to the masses, and ruled the world of art with absolute sway, except in so far as church influence was felt. Europe is covered with chateaux which combined in a wonderful way military art with fine art; and this combination is the distinctive feature of the architecture of this period. It was not until the latter part of the thirteenth century, when mediaaval art was at its apogee, that municipal power began to be asserted; and, as a result of this, we see the grand town-halls which adorn the older cities of the Continent of Europe. Meanwhile church architecture attained its greatest glory; and the world saw, for the first time since the despotic days of Egypt and the intellectual days of Greece, a consistent architecture covering nearly the whole of Europe, varying but slightly in quality, and equally perfect in chateau, town-hall, and church ; and, as recent investigation has shown, in the domestic or household architecture of the middle classes. Where a style was so consistent throughout, directly expressing all the constructive and decorative motives in perfect harmony, it is diflicult to say how much governmental administration had to do with it, or how far it tended to develop the architecture of the day. Less is known of the authors of these works than of those of the classic period; but they live in the pleasant memories created by their works.

It is only after the attempted revival of Roman architecture, under the name of the Renaissance, that we begin to find some record of government architects. The kings of France undoubtedly selected their greatest men for this \vork. They became court favorites, and were petted and flattered to the highest degree, while their names are inscribed on their monuments. England made St. Paul’s to be the monument of Wren, and buried him within its walls. Wren was, in his time, government architect and director of public works. As such he was expected to make his own designs, and was not simply an administrative officer. But he had but few works on hand at a time; and neither then nor since then, until within the last ten years in our own country, has any architect been intrusted with so many public works and such an amount of money to be expended in a given time on public [more on page 77]

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Eaton and the Albany Capitol, Page 337

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