Sunday, February 5, 2012

1878, The American Architect and Building News,

1878: The Internet Archive, volume 3, covering January-June 1878.

February 16, 1878, The American Architect and Building News, The Capitol at Albany. page 60,

April 13, 1878, The American Architect and Building News, Mr. Martin vs. the New Capitol Commission, Page 125.

April 20, 1878, The American Architect and Building News, WORK ON THE CAPITOL AT ALBANY.

1878: The Internet Archive, volume 4, covering July-December 1878

August 24, 1878, American Architect and Building News, THE STATE HOUSE AT ALBANY. ALBANY, N. Y. page 67,

November 30, 1878, American Architect and Building News, Mr. Hunt’s Decoration of the Albany Capitol, page 177,

September 28, 1878, American Architect and Building News, HEATING THE NEW YORK CAPITOL. Page 112,

December 14, 1878, The American Architect and Building News, CORRESPONDENCE. THE STATE CAPITOL AT ALBANY, Pages 196-98,

February 16, 1878, The American Architect and Building News, The Capitol at Albany. page 60,

THE NEW YORK STATE HOUSE. The new Capitol Commissioners of New York, under Assembly resolution of the llth ult., submit the following estimate of the cost of completing the new Capitol, including dome, laying out of grounds, etc.

Cost of building including dome:--
Granite $1,429,557
Sandstone 1,103,088
Plumbing and gas-fitting 55,445
Tiling of roofs 69,350
Iron-works 208,680
Carpenter-work 250,851
Brickwork 233,292
Plastering 102,500
Tiling floor 133,500
Marble 19,425
Heating 83,000
Elevators 120,000

Granite $238,496
Sandstone 379,829
Brickwork 154,472
Tiling 56,300
Carpenter-work 20,840

Furniture $400,000

Taking down buildings and laying out grounds $150,000

Total $5,198,625

The expenditure thus far has been $8,276,615.36, making a grand total when completed of $13,475,230.36. The commissioners say that both branches of the legislature and the executive may be placed in the new Capitol by Jan. 1, 1879, by the expenditure of $800,000. $303,000 has already been appropriated for the immediate commencement of the work.

April 13, 1878, The American Architect and Building News, Mr. Martin vs. the New Capitol Commission,
Page 125

THE issue of a suit which was lately brought against the New York Capitol Commissioners is of interest to architects, for it touches one of the most troublesome questions of the contract system. It is less satisfactory in that it has turned, as so many suits that concern the profession have turned, chiefly on some points of verbal interpretation, leaving unsettled points of importance that were really involved, but did not come to the sur- face, and were taken for granted without discussion. The case was this: a short time ago the Commissioners advertised for bids on the carpenters' work of the Assembly chamber in the new capitol, under an act just passed by the legislature, requiring them to insure the finishing of that part of the building by the first of January, 1879. A law of the State requires that "all contracts shall be awarded to the lowest bona fide responsible bidder or bidders," after due advertisement and on the giving of proper bonds by the bidders. The committee, it is true, advertised with the usual proviso, which reserves the right to reject any and all bids, but it is difficult to see how any commissioners, acting under such a law, can reserve this right.

The lowest bidder was a Mr. George Martin, whose bid the Commissioners rejected, although he gave the requisite bonds, because they found him to be in pecuniary embarrassment, and the contract was awarded to the next lowest. Mr. Martin therefore applied to court for a writ of mandamus to compel the Commissioners to award him the contract, on the ground that his bid was the lowest, and that he was responsible, inasmuch as the securities which he offered were adequate, which was not denied.

THE decision of the court turned naturally on the meaning of the word responsibility. The ruling was that according to the manifest intent of the statute the contractor must not only give satisfactory bonds, but must be himself pecuniary responsible as well. " Though a person may be able to give security to his employer," said the judge, "yet his ability to do and perform with promptness a heavy contract, involving large expenditure, must greatly depend upon his own resources. For this reason it is assumed that the statute required the successful bidder to be a responsible one, in addition to the giving of the bond for the faithful performance of the contract. Of that responsibility the contracting board must judge." This is tantamount to saying and the common sense of most people will confirm it that if the bondsmen only are solvent, and the contractor not, it is the bondsmen only, and not the contractor, who are responsible' bidders. The judge also cited what is of interest only in this particular case the provision in the recent act which required the Commissioners to "take such measures as shall insure the completion and finishing of that portion of the new capitol " in the specified time, which he said gave the Commissioners large discretion and authorized them to discriminate between bidders, inasmuch as efficiency and promptness in doing heavy work depended largely upon the man who did it, "having reference to his integrity, ability, and responsibility." The writ of mandamus was refused, and the relator, Martin, was ordered to pay the costs.

THIS decision is reassuring, so far as it goes, to architects and engineers, who have the care of public work. Such men are often embarrassed, in letting the work by contract, by the universal rule which obliges them to award it to the lowest bidder, in spite of the proviso that he must be a responsible bidder. It has been the chief argument of officials who have opposed giving out government work by contract, that no authority is allowed them to reject either dishonest or incapable, or even impoverished bidders, if only they can find adequate security.

As to the meaning of the word responsible, in this connection, important as it obviously is, we do not remember any case in which it had been brought into court for definition. There is some relief in the decision of the New York court, if it is followed, as we presume it must be, that a responsible contractor must mean one that is solvent enough to carry through his contract; but after all it goes very little way. The court did not, in this case, entertain the question whether responsibility had any other than a pecuniary bearing, and as the word is most commonly and carelessly used, we presume it has not. At the same time it is difficult to see for what reason the responsibility of a contractor should not extend to his capability and his character for honesty. As the usage is, and apparently the law, there seems to be no authority for refusing to put such a work as the Albany Capitol or the Cincinnati Post-Office into the hands of the poorest journeyman who might assume to undertake it, provided he could command money or credit sufficient, nor could the worst character for rascality be made a reason for rejecting him. The purpose of the law is doubtless to prevent favoritism in the distribution of contracts ; and its theory, that provided the government is secured against pecuniary loss, its officers can exact the quality of work that they require.

It is, to our mind, directly demoralizing to require that such officers shall enter into a struggle of wits with sharpers, or devote themselves to extracting satisfactory work from incompetent men, if it can be avoided, and it ought to be possible to avoid it by giving a proper discretion to them. If it be held that the government must assume all men to be honest, it is still beyond the stretch of official optimism to assume that every one is capable of doing difficult work satisfactorily. Or it may be said that the necessary authority cannot safely be deputed ; and if we accept the theory that our chosen officials are as likely to be untrustworthy as any contractor who may hover round them in search of a job, we may at least remember that they are more directly under control, and that the temptation to collusion with dishonest contractors is as great after contracts are awarded as before. The proper remedy, we believe, is in giving officials a good measure of authority and holding them to a strict accountability for the use of it.

April 20, 1878, The American Architect and Building News, WORK ON THE CAPITOL AT ALBANY.
page 138,

ON March 19th the Commissioners for the new Capitol at Albany opened the bids offered for the work to be done in the portion of the building known as the North Centre. As the comparison of such bids is always interesting and instructive, we present those submitted for the most important work at full length:
George Martin, Albany, $48,900 00
Weller, Brown & Messmer, Buffalo, 49,948 87
Pottier &, Stymus, New York, 49,889 00
Thomas Wilson, New York, 59,900 00
John Clemishire, Albany 68,775 00
Herter Bros., New York, 74,310 00
Bryce, McCann & Co., Albany, 76,635 85

The sums of $3,200 and $912.12 to be deducted from Weller, Brown & Messmer's bid, and $5,650 from that of Bryce, McCann & Co., for carving, which may not be required.

Walworth Manufacturing Co., Boston, $975 00
Pierce, Butler & Pierce, Syracuse, 1,713 00
G. H. Kitchen & Co., New York, 2,700 00
Shields Bros., Albany, 4,900 00
J. McCann, Albany, 5,030 00
E. H. Cook & Co., Elmira, 5,235 00

Pierce, Butler & Pierce, Syracuse, $7,974 00
Philip O'Brien, Albany, 10,913 00
Brannion & Bros., Albany, 11,129 00
John Flanagan, New York, 11,340 00
M. Delehanty & Son, Albany, 12,965 00
J. McCann, Albany, 14,900 00
Ridgway & Russ, Albany, 15,500 00
Henderson & Dacy, New York, 16,475 00
P. McDermott, New York, 19,445 00

F. Tudor & Co., Boston, $29,441 83
Baker, Mitchell & Co., New York, 29,500 00
Walworth Manufacturing Co., Boston, 29,879 00
W. H. Warner, Brooklyn, 29,884 00
E. H. Cook & Co., Elmira 32,159 16
Gillies & Geoghegan, New York, 36,300 00
Felix Campbell, New York, 47,500 00
G. H. Kitchen & Co., New York, 59,000 00

Sinclair & Miller, $215,590 00

Sinclair & Miller, $49,210 00

Sullivan & Rice, Albany, $16,538 00
For Window-Frames and Sashes (per window) $116 00
Henvelman, Hoven & Co., New York, $20,750 00
Mohawk & Hudson Manufacturing Co.,Waterford :
Roof part, $14 000 00
Windows, 2 at 20 each, $40
3 at 55 each, $165
48 at 70 each, $3,360
7 at 75 each, $625
2 at 125 each, $250
6 at 140 each, $840
Making a total for windows, $9,759 00

The Board then went into executive session, and on opening the doors announced the following as awards:-

Weller, Brown & Messmer, Buffalo $49,948 87
Pierce, Butler & Pierce, Syracuse, $7,974 00
Walworth Manufacturing Co., Boston, $1,713 00
Frederick Tudor & Co., Boston, $29,441 83
Sullivan & Rice, Albany, $16,538 00

Page 138

Jan. -June 1878
Mr. Schleicher Bill for Completion of Public Buildings, page 1,
Mr. Schleicher's Bill for Completion of Public Buildings, page 44,
Mr. Schleicher's Bill for Completion of Public Buildings, page 93,
Mr. Schleicher's Bill for the Completion of Public Buildings pages 97-98,
Mr. Schleicher's Bill for Completion of Public Buildings, page 190,
Mr. Schleicher's Bill for Completion of Public Buildings, page 220, 
Power of the Public Buildings Commissioners. 1(7
Charges Against the NY Superintendent of Buildings, page 221.
Fall of Arch of Brooklyn Bridge Approach, pages 7, 32
The Indiana State House Competition. Pages 16, 17, 105, 126, 130, 133, 139,
The Illinois State House Competition. Page 35
The New York State House Competition. Page 60
Albany, N,Y., near, House of C. B. Tillinghast, page 127
Convict-labor and Workingmen, page 106
The Chicago Custom House Stone Cutting Frauds. pages 153, 189, 197, 209, 213.
Dome of the Chicago Court House. pages 1, 42, 45, 58, 104.
Electric Light in the Place de l'Opera, Paris, pages 113, 162.
Elevator Accident at Chicago, page 159; at Cincinnati, page 72; at Paris, pages 88, 104;
Fire-Proofing the Government Buildings, Page 1.
Mr. J.B. Fuller and his Electric Lamp, page 162.
Contracts, Advertising, Government Buildings, page 196.
Hotel de Ville, Paris, page 113.
The old NYC Reservoir, page 43.
Model of the New York City Post Office, page 52

March 23, 1878, Page 98
THERE will be " nuts " for contractors if the House of Rep- resentatives passes the bill introduced by Mr. Schleicher of Texas. Mr. Schleicher, struck by the bad economy of the way which now prevails, of doling out appropriations for public buildings which are insufficient to carry the work on promptly, or of stopping work altogether for want of appro- priations, and noticing that while the buildings linger the Government is paying a million dollars a year for rent in temporary quarters, has devised a remedy. He proposes that the .Government shall borrow twenty millions at five per cent, and pay its million in the form of interest on this loan, using the principal to finish all its buildings in the course of a year, and establishing a sinking fund for the gradual payment of it. The bill is reputed, says the New York Herald, to be in favor with Congressmen, who desire to please their constituents ; but we should incline to doubt both its efficacy and its economy. The difficulty of administering such an amount of work so pressed would, under the present S3's- tem, be enormous ; and to ttiink of finishing it in any thing like a year would be preposterous. To set it actively in progress would give a great stimulus to the building-trades, certainly ; and as far as cheapness goes, the present would be as good a time to build as the Government would be likely to find. But to fancy that this would be the end of it, would be very sanguine. The hunger of constituencies for public improvements is not so easily appeased. We imagine more mouths would be opened than would be closed by the bill, and the Government would find that the price of building would not keep its present level very long.

June 1, 1878, Page 190

THE printed text of Mr. Schleicher's bill for the completion and erection of certain public buildings differs materially from the account of it given in the papers, to which we called attention some weeks ago (American Architect, March 23, 1878). The bill is drawn with a good deal of care, and contains some rather remarkable provisions. It authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to issue perpetual bonds, redeemable only by purchase in open market, to the amount of forty millions of dollars, the proceeds of which are to be the public-building fund of the United States, and to be used for no other purpose. The bonds are to bear interest in coin of the present standard value at four per cent, and to be sold at not less than par in coin. Out of these forty millions about eighteen are assigned in fixed sums for the completion of the various buildings now in hand, the chief appropriations being five millions for the State, War, and Navy Departments in Washington, three and a quarter millions for the Cincinnati post-office, three millions for that at Philadelphia and two for that at Boston, a million and a half for the Chicago post-office, and a million six hundred thousand for the St. Louis custom-house. It also provides for building twenty-four new buildings, post-offices, court-houses, and custom-houses in various smaller cities throughout the country, the appropriations ranging from seventy-five thousand dollars to two hundred thousand, on the condition that where sites for them are not now owned by the United States they shall be given for the purpose. About twelve millions more are appropriated for new buildings, for which the Secretary of the Treasury is empowered to select and buy sites, or, if need be, condemn and take possession of them, being assisted in each case by a commission of three disinterested persons in each place, whom he is himself to appoint. The chief appropriations for these buildings are two million dollars for a post-office in Baltimore, five millions for a custom-house in New York, one million each for post- offices in Brooklyn and Pittsburgh, a million and a quarter for appraisers' stores in New York, and three quarters of a million for the like in Boston. All these appropriations are to be immediately available for use under the Secretary of the Treasury. Finally, about five millions are appropriated for buildings in Washington : three hundred thousand for the extension of Winder's building for the use of the War Department ; three hun-dred thousand for a Coast-Survey office ; half a million for a fire-proof building for the public archives ; the same for " a plain, substantial, fire-proof building" of brick for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing; a quarter of a million for a fire-proof building three hundred feet square, to serve as a National Museum, to be placed on the grounds of the Smithsonian Institute, and built according to plans already on file with the joint committee on public buildings and grounds ; and three million for a new building, or for an enlargement of the Capitol, as may hereafter be determined, for the accommodation of the Congressional Library.

The provisions of the bill bid fair, if it is passed to revolutionize the architecture of our public buildings. The Secretary of the Treasury, the Postmaster-General, the Attorney-General, the President of the American Institute of Architects and the Supervising Architect of the Treasury Department are made a commission to select plans for the post-offices, custom-houses, and other buildings outside the capital, provided for by the act, as well as for the Coast Survey building and the building for the public archives. They are to call for such plans by public advertisement, requiring elevations, floor plans and sections to be submitted in competition under whatever rules they may propose, and are to choose the materials and deter- mine the question of fire-proofing for each building. They may call in to assist them such disinterested experts as they desire. In like manner the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the two chairmen of the joint committee on the library of Congress, the chairmen of both committees on public buildings and grounds, and the Librarian of Congress are made a commission to select a plan for the accommodation of the Congressional Library. They are to call for plans of alterations of the Capitol for this purpose, and also for plans of a separate library building, and shall decide on the best plan for this purpose ; in doing which they also may call in such expert assistance as they see fit. If they decide that it is best to find accommodation for the library in an extension of the Capitol, they are to so report to Congress, with their recommendation of a plan and estimate of cost. But if they decide on a separate building, they are empowered to select a site for it in one of the government reservations, or otherwise; and if a site is chosen which does not belong to the Government, the Secretary of the Interior is directed to purchase it, or in default of a satisfactory agreement with the owner to condemn it and appropriate it in the usual way ; after which he shall build the library according to the plans drawn by the commission. We do not know what chance there is of the bill becoming a law or how much alteration it may receive if it is passed : that it has got so far as to be printed is at least something in its favor, and so far as we have seen it noticed in the press it has been with approval. One can fancy the flutter that its passage would cause among a profession which in the prolonged depression of all kinds of business has been more than commonly cast down. It is not our province to discuss its fiscal aspects, or to consider how fast the irredeemable bonds are likely to be disposed of at par in coin. The provisions which seemed to us objectionable in the first reports of it do not appear in it as printed. There is no attempt to regulate before-hand the way in which the work shall be put on the market. So far from assuming to finish up the great amount of building proposed in it within the year, the bill says nothing about any limit of time, but leaves this for the natural working of circumstances. There is enough laid out in it to occupy ten years, and it is better that it should do so.

Page 191

A reading of the bill suggests that it must have been prepared in consultation with some professional authority, for it shows a regard for the position of the architects whose plans may be adopted that is unusual in such documents. The building for the library of Congress is to be carried on under superintendence of the selected architect, and for this a special compensation is to be fixed, unless he prefers not to superintend it, in which case an officer of the Engineer Corps is to be detailed for the purpose. No changes shall be made in execution which involve a change of the purpose of the architect without his consent, except by authority of the Secretary of the Interior, and this authority is not to be given until after the architect has been consulted concerning the changes. There is. a similar provision in respect to all the other buildings for which designs are to be got by competition.

The fees of the architects to be employed on the various buildings are fixed with a precision which is probably for the advantage of the profession, considering the tendency of all committees to abate its compensation. There is a carefully graded scale both for premiums and commissions. The accepted drawings in any competition are to receive a premium which is to be one half of one per cent when the estimated cost of the building is not more than two hundred thousand dollars, a third of one per cent when it is between that cost and half a million, a quarter when it is above half amillion. The commissioners are empowered in each case to pay such other premiums, to designs not adopted, as they may consider them to deserve. In the same way the architect's fee for working plans, detailed drawings, and specifications, which in all cases is to be in addition to what he receives as premium, is fixed at three per cent (making therefore really three and a half) for a cost of two hundred thousand dollars or less, two and a half for a cost between that and half a million, and so on decreasing, two per cent between half amillion and amillion, one and one half from one million to two millions, and beyond two millions, one per cent. By this scheme, the superintendence being a separate matter, the fees for the buildings of lower cost are all that could be fairly asked ; but the rate of compensation diminishes with the increase of cost much more rapidly than is in accordance with usage or than we think reasonable, although perhaps it is in this respect all that can be expected from a government whose settled policy it is to be liberal in all its stipends of lower grades and narrow in the higher ones.

The architect's labor and his expenses do not, it is true, increase as fast as the cost of his buildings, but they follow it very rapidly, nevertheless ; while his responsibility and the importance of his service increase part passu with the cost, and according to those also he ought to be paid. The fee for the architect of the Congressional Library according to the bill would be one and a quarter per cent on (say) three million dollars, that is $37,500. It would take pretty much all his time for four or five years. If he were an architect of the best class he would be likely to spend two thirds of this fee in office expenses, and there might remain to him twenty-five hundred or three thousand dollars a year for his compensation. A literal construction of the terms of the bill would lead to some curious anomalies in the sudden diminution of the fees as each successive limit was passed. Thus if the Baltimore post office, for which two millions are appropriated, should be found to cost one million nine hundred thousand, the architect's fee, being one and a half , per cent, would amount to $28,500; which if it cost two million one hundred thousand, the fee at one per cent would be only $21,000, and it would not be till the cost had reached nearly three millions that he would recover the compensation due him before it passed two millions. Strictly speaking, in fact, an increase of five dollars in the money spent on the building at the critical limit might strike off at once almost ten thousand dollars from the fee. This severe discipline, severer in truth than that which awaits the sharply curbed architect of the Indiana capitol, might prove an effective restraint on the exuberant imaginations of architects, but it can hardly have been intended by the author of the bill. It would naturally be avoided by the provision, which is usual, of computing in each case the full compensation up to the first limit, then adding the reduced per centage for the excess up to the second limit, and so on.

There is one respect in which the bill is likely to find more or less disapproval among architects. The superintendence of the Congressional Library, as we have said, is to be offered to the architect whose design is adopted ; but in case of most of the other buildings, such as are by law and custom placed permanently under care of the Supervising Architect, the plans, detailed drawings, and specifications are to be filed in his office and the work to be carried on under his superintendence. A proposition like this, included in the bill to establish a Bureau of Architecture which was proposed in the Treasury Department two years ago, and which was stifled in Committee, called out a good deal of energetic criticism from the profession. There are difficulties in the way, certainly ; but we are inclined to think that the method proposed in the bill is as a general system the best one, and a general system there must be. The difficulty of finding capable local architects in many places where the work must be done, the inconvenience of getting proper supervision from distant architects, the desirability of securing a uniform standard of excellence in workmanship, the value of a uniform system of supervision, and the need of a regular record of the progress of all the work, all agree in making a central superintendence desirable. An arrogant or meddlesome Supervising Architect might, it is true, make things very uncomfortable for the designing architect ; -but so may, and does, an arrogant and meddlesome client. The Government, like another client, has the right at the last resort to have its work done as it pleases, and to watch it as closely as it pleases, is bound to watch it closely, in fact. This provided for, the step to the assumption of the whole superintendence is a short one ; it ought to be possible to take it at less cost than to provide supervision by the individual architects, and to secure on the whole a better as well as a more uniform result. The opportunities of the Supervising Architect to interfere injuriously are pretty well taken away by the clause which forbids him to make any changes against the wish of his fellow. The provision, which is a necessary consequence of the other, that drawings must be given to the Government and filed in the Supervising Architect's Office at Washington is a necessary consequence of it, for without them the supervision could not be carried on. This is an inconvenience, requiring each architect to make complete duplicates of all the working drawings for preservation. It leads to some rather difficult questions, and would have to be carefully watched to see that it did not invalidate the established usage, which we hold to be important, which maintains that in all ordinary practice the drawings are the property of the architect, and not of the client.

June 22, 1878, Page 220
NOTES AND CLIPPINGS. MR SCHLEICHER'S PUBLIC BUILDINGS BILL. Mr. Schleicher closed as follows a speech made June 13th, in the House of Representatives, on his Public Buildings Bill, which we have before discussed (American Architect, No. 127). "The following facts are worthy of consideration: In the last ten vears the annual appropriations for erecting public buildings have aggregated $43,536,905.86 ; adding to this ten years' rentals at the rate of $1,250,000, make an annual average expenditure of over $5,500,000. The adoption of the measures proposed by this bill would reduce this expense to $2,000,000, namely, $1,600,000 interest on forty millions of bonds, and about $400,000 for rents of small post offices and other buildings, in locations where the rents being paid are not sufficient to justify building. All the buildings now being erected, and hereafter every building which is begun, will be finished without interruption in as short a time as consistent with good construction and careful work."

THERE is instruction for contractors or for their bondsmen in the experience of Mr. Mullins of Brooklyn : if the Schleicher bill should be passed by Congress, the lesson ought not to be lost on the hundreds of builders who will rush to offer doubtful bids on the buildings which it will put upon the market ; for the lesson is the same although Mr. Mullins's tenders were for beef and mutton instead of for labor or building materials. The Board of Supervisors for King's County advertised for supplies for the public institutions of the county, requiring that each bid should be guaranteed by two bondsmen. Mr. Mullins put in his bid with proper sureties, and then attempted to withdraw it. The Supervisors, however, insisted on awarding him the unwelcome contract, and when he refused to perform it, they sued his bondsmen, against whom the city court has rendered judgment for some three hundred dollars. There are few greater annoyances in the administration of government work than the intrusion of insincere bids into competitions. If the system of letting public buildings by definite contract is to prevail, there will be a great deal of such annoyance, to which the Government is more exposed than private persons, both by reason of the greater importance and attractiveness of its contracts, and because it has less liberty of discrimination than private persons. It is therefore to be desired that such adventures as that of Mr. Mullins and his bondsmen, and the late quarrel of Mr. Martin with the Albany State House commissioners should be as widely known as possible, by way of caution to bondsmen, of warning to straw bidders, and as admonition to those who are charged with the letting out of public work.

At the other end of the city from this building, an important work is going on in the patchwork additions to the new Court House standing in the City Hall Park. The work is not out of place, since the Park has long been a place for every thing and any thing. To a critical observer, a few moments spent in this place will not rouse encouraging thoughts of progress in art in this city. There are old buildings and new ones, but merit and novelty do not come together. The old City Hall, built in the early years of this century, stands to-day solid and firm ; a good Italian model, unpretentious yet excellent, with faults, but beyond question the best of the public buildings in the old Common. The Post Office building by Mullett, in its paltry greatness, its poverty of invention, and meanness of motive, but barely covered by its bulk and the excellent materials used, in the popular mind is ac- counted good, but pretty much on the ground that, the Pyramids might be styled excellent art, because they are bulky and built to last. There are a few minor court-rooms in another building, whose chief characteristic is its wretched ventilation; and then last on the list of this congeries of buildings stands the New York Court House, the place from which the most magnificent public stealing known in municipal history was done. Its architect, the late Mr. Kelluin, chose the Palladian Italian style,* and carried it out fairly into a building whose halls and passages are the darkest in the city, and whose waste of interior space is most remarkable. Upon this has recently been grafted an addition by Mr. Leopold Eidlitz. Of course no attention was paid to the design of the existing building, and within and without a rank Romanesque runs cheek by jowl with the old Italian, one bald, the other florid; cream-colored brick and buff sandstone come in juxtaposition to white marble. What was merely proposed to be done in the case of the Albany Capitol, has actually been carried out upon our unfortunate Court House, and only raises the provoking wish that the whole edifice had been done by the hand that could produce the excellent though misapplied addition. As it now stands, the ensemble will always remain an eyesore to those who believe that purity of style and freedom from admixture, in forms and spirit, is a merit. If, as more than one prominent architect in this city declares, "style is nothing," then the criticism 'of such mongrel buildings as the Court House must be approached from a different standpoint; but at present, protest must be entered against the tacking on of additions, however excellent, to buildings designed under a totally different motive. W.

June 29, 1878, Page 221
THE Secretary of the Interior has addressed to certain architects in various parts of the country an invitation to unite, under assumed signatures, in a competition of designs for the restora- tion or alteration of the Patent Office at Washington. Briefly stated, the scheme of this competition embraces, first, a project for the restoration of the building substantially according to its condition before the fire, referring, we suppose, to the designing of a new fire-proof roof; second, a project for the conversion of the model-rooms, lately occupying the upper story of the north and west wings, into offices, and the addition of a model-room above the offices, or over the entire building, so contrived, however, as not to change its present exterior aspect, although designs for an additional architectural story to the facades may be submitted if desired ; and third, a project for a new corps du bailment uniting the centres of the north and south wings, with elevators, etc. Line drawings are required and perspective illustrations permitted. The drawings are to be submitted before July 20th, and a committee of " three skilled architects, to be appointed by the Secretary of the Interior," is to examine the plans and recommend to the Department the award of the six hundred dollars appropriated for this purpose by Congress in three prizes of three hundred, two hundred, and one hundred dollars. There is no assurance of the employment of any of the successful competitors to furnish detail working- drawings or to superintend the execution of the work as architects.

WE understand that the Secretary is already in receipt of numerous letters from the invited architects, declining to compete on the ground of insufficient compensation a very natural attitude for the more respectable members of the profession to assume, and one consistent with the most approved ideas of practice, as it is evident that the competition implies a large aggregate of unremunerated professional labor, hardly justified perhaps even to the winner of the first prize, unless the winning of it implies more than is evident in the scheme of the competition. This proposition from the general government is remarkable, and in late years, at least, unprecedented. We are not informed why Congress selected this case of repairs and alterations as a fitting opportunity to try its first experiment in architectural competition, but it certainly seems to be an honest though in some respects an ill-considered scheme to appeal to the general profession for assistance in the decision of an unusual but apparently not a very difficult question of architectural design. The invitation, therefore, as it may carry with it results ultimately of great importance to the profession and serve as an illustration of the practicability of making use of competitions of designs for public buildings, as proposed, for example, in Mr. Schleicher's bill (American Architect, June -, 1878), is not to be lightly dismissed through a too scrupulous regard for customs devised and maintained to suit the exigencies of private practice. It is true that the precedent is dangerous in several respects, especially in the matter of inadequate awards, but if the response to the invitation proves to be one fertile in ingenious and profitable suggestions, the employment of the profession, by some process of selection, at least in the designing if not in the construction of the buildings of the general government, would seem to be more clearly assured than if architects, in this trial case, stood aloof, exacting better and more honorable conditions. Doubtless many architects of good repute will consider it politic, therefore, to show what the profession can do in such an emergency as this and, after such showing, to demand in future cases its proper service and its proper pecuniary recognition. It is only through competitions of some sort that architects can ever have due share in the public works ; it is worthy of consideration, therefore, whether the establishment of a policy of competitions should not be encouraged by the profession even at the expense of some sacrifices in the preliminary experiments. Certainly the improvement of the national architecture by any proper means is an aim which may well demand the patriotic sympathy of the profession.

THE Department of Buildings in the city of New York seems now to be " under fire." An article in the New York Times of the 17th enters into an examination of the conduct of affairs in this Department while under the charge of the present Superintendent, Walter W. Adams, and, with much circumstance of facts and figures, charges him with submitting this important part of the public service to the baleful patronage of Tammany Hall, by increasing his force and his pay-roll from time to time in accordance with the needs of politics, and by subdividing his office into three Bureaus, one entitled the " Bureau of Inspection of Buildings," another, the " Bureau of Violations and Applications," and the third known as the "Bureau of Fire Escapes and Iron Works," each requiring an extensive apparatus of clerks and inspectors. The article charges that the appointment of these inspectors is in the interests of party and not of sound building ; that they are not " practical architects, house carpenters, or masons," who have " passed aii examination before the Board of Examiners," as required by law, but politicians and the friends of politicians, and the expenses, under this system of reorganization, have increased three or four fold without a corresponding increase in the needs or efficiency of the Department. The specification of malfeasance with which the public is most immediately concerned and which most vitally affects the efficiency of the Department seems to be that referring to certain buildings now erecting in the upper part of the city, which are sixty-five feet deep and fifty-five feet high, and yet, contrary to law, are separated by party walls only eight inches thick; also drawing attention to " Hale's Building" in Thirty-sixth Street, which, sixty feet wide in front, forty-eight feet wide in rear, and eight stories high, is yet allowed to be built without the cross wall required by the act ; and also to two theatres in the Bowery, lately built, which are stigmatized in general terms as "man traps."
THESE serious charges encounter a specious and prompt rebuttal in the New York Evening Post of the same date, inspired by the Superintendent himself. He is charged with raising the expenses of his office from $30,000 per annum in 1873, when he entered upon his duties, to $126,000 in 1874, $106,000 in 1875, $89,000 in 1876 and $91,000 in 1877. _ He maintains that the expenses for these years were respectively $114,000, $95,000, $75,000 and $75,000; and that to contrast these figures with the $30,000 appropriated in the last year of his predecessor's service is unjust, because, on account of "a contest " between said predecessor, Mr. James M. Macgregor, and the Comptroller, the appropriations for that year were reduced to an abnormal figure, a statement which seems to be sustained by the fact that the appropriations for the five previous years were respectively $60,300, $69,300, $136,000, $181,000 and $87,000. The Superintendent, in meeting the other charges in detail, enters into an explanation of his conduct of the office, maintaining that the variation in the number of his subordinates has been governed by the direct needs of the service, because of special general examinations, such as that of warehouses and storehouses ; that his pay-roll contained names of men of both parties, and that the inspectors of fire-escapes were placed on his [Page 222] pay-rolls as messengers (who by the law are not required to pass an examination), because men fit for this service could be obtained for one half the amount properly charged by skilled mechanics who are no better suited for this especial duty. The specific charges relating to alleged neglect in the supervision of certain buildings, as before noted, are explained by the statement that the plans for the buildings with eight-inch party walls, after having been rejected by the Department, were submitted by the owner to the Board of Examiners, which is composed of the Superintendent himself, of ten members of the Mechanics' and Traders' Exchange, of one member of the Board of Under- writers and one member of the American Institute of Architects, and that the Board, under the law, allowed the thin walls in this case, because the two buildings referred to were together not more than 25 feet wide and because a single building of this width can be legally constructed with only outside walls and wooden partitions. The case of Hale's Building, which was charged with being erected without cross walls, is explained by the fact that it is in reality two buildings separated by a brick wall from top to bottom, one building 06 feet wide extending from street to street being divided by a cross wall, the other 84 feet wide and only 41 feet deep having girders substituted for cross wall by especial permission of the Board on account of the comparative shallowness of the lot in this part. As to the theatres in the Bowery the Superintendent maintains that as the twelve-inch walls are enforced by buttresses 20 inches by 24 inches at intervals of ten feet, and as the proscenium arch is of brick and carried up to the roof, and as in one case there are three staircases inside and one outside, and as in the other the entire front is open for exit, and as both buildings are furnished with separate entrances to the dressing-rooms, the requirements of safe construction are fulfilled according to the definitions of the law. This statement is followed in the Eceniny Post of the 21st inst. by a personal rejoinder from Mr. Macgregor, the former incumbent of the office, denying many of the facts, figures, and arguments stated in defence, but leaving untouched several charges which the present official appears to have refuted in his letter, notably the specific charges relating to the buildings.

ON the whole it is a very pretty quarrel as it stands, and doubtless there will be much more of it. Apparently, however, there is an element of malice in the charge against Mr. Adams ; but however this may be, the public safety, constantly imperiled by imperfect buildings and by minute evasions of the law, requires the Department of Buildings in every great city to be held to a very strict accountability, and it is better for this service to be stung to vigilance by a constant and jealous scrutiny of its details, even to the extent, we think, of occasional injustice and unreasonableness in the fault-finding, than to be lulled to carelessness and inefficiency by the appearance of public indifference. A municipal administration like that of Baltimore, which, as we have seen, needs the admonition of a few more fatal accidents from unrestrained habits of bad building, before it will accept the definitions and requirements of sound construction embodied in a law, slumbers while the enemy is at the gates. But a city which enjoys the protection of the necessary building laws and neglects to watch the administration thereof, and to perfect them by all necessary amendments, is also asleep, and, according to the doctrine of chances, the tragedy which will murder this sleep in either case is inevitable sooner or later. Therefore we cannot entirely condemn the spirit of criticism, even if harsh and over-strict, upon the administration of this essential part of the public service.

1878: The Internet Archive has volume 4, covering July-December 1878.

September 28, 1878, HEATING THE NEW YORK CAPITOL. Page 112,
The contract for heating the capitol building at Albany, N. Y., has been given to F. Tudor & Co., ventilating engineers, of Boston, who have devised a very novel and very economical method. The space now being provided for is within one half the main building, 300 by 400, 100 feet high, and is to be completed at an outlay of about 830,000. The leading feature is that the control of the atmosphere within the building is centered with the engineer in the basement, and be will be supplied with indicators that will show the temperature of every room in the edifice as well as that of the several parts of the two large assembly chambers. The system is an air-blast. By means of two 8-feet 3-ton exhaust fans the cold air is drawn in over the boilers, passes through two steam coils having a surface of 10,000 square feet each, and in a direct lire cif 250 feet from the entrance of the cold air to the end of the coils it shoots under a damper 12” by 5 feet into a chamber, where from over the dumper cold air rushes in and is mixed with the hot. Then it is caught into the blowers and sent through large zinc tubes to its several points for warming. By a movement of the damper the temperature of the air going through the blowers can he raised or lowered. Thus will be secured an even temperature ; the highest proposed to be reached is 75. There are to be six 54 horse-power steel boilers, with sixty 3-inch tubes each. They are built by Hodge, of East Boston. The fans will be worked by a 35 horse-power Buckeye condensing engine, having a 14-inch cylinder, 28-inch stroke, and running on 15 pounds of pressure. As an offset to the cooling surfaces of the many 5 by 15 windows, pipes are run behind the mopboard and will throw up from regular vents radiations from live steam.

PROTECTION AT ALBANY. The federal government is erecting a building in Albany for the use of the Collector of the Port and other government officers, the material being granite. The Treasury Department having advertised for proposals for the necessary granite, to be delivered cut and ready for setting, several prominent citizens of Albany, including State Senator Harris, George D   Wson, and Thomas W. Olcott, recently addressed a letter to the Treasury Department directing attention to the fact that there are many unemployed laborers in Albany, and asking that the proposals be allowed to offer both cut and uncut granite, in order that some of the cutting may be done in that city. Secretary Sherman in his reply says that experience has shown that " materials and labor can be secured at much lower rates when obtained after ample advertisement and competition," and that only by adopting this course can the expenditures be kept within the appropriation. This reply is conclusive. The building in question is paid for, not by the city of Albany but by the whole United States, and in the expenditures only the interests of ihe whole country should be considered. Besides, if the workmen of Albany arc favored at the expense of economy, the workmen of some other place will be deprived of employment. N. Y. Evening Post.

November 30, 1878, The American Architect and Building News, Mr. Hunt’s Decoration at the Albany Capitol, page 177,

IT was a happy inspiration of the same growing desire to make the best of our artistic resources which put the decoration of Trinity Church, Boston, and St. Thomas's, New York, into the hands of Mr. LaFarge, that has called Mr. W. M. Hunt to paint the walls of the assembly-chamber in the New York State Capitol.

The chamber is a large room with stone walls, and covered by two broad pointed vaults intersecting at right angles, also in stone. It is, we believe, the only important room in the country which is entirely walled and vaulted in stone. Above the windows in the north and south walls, in the tympana under the vaults, Mr. Hunt has placed two great compositions, covering spaces forty feet wide. He has taken advantage, in choosing his two principal subjects, of the coincidence of the revival of letters and the discovery of America. On the north wall he is painting the '' Flight of Night" before the advance of modern civilization ; the pendant on the south wall is " The Discoverer," Columbus sailing forth to discover a new world. These two leading compositions are already well advanced, and under some- what novel conditions, the painting being done directly on the stone walls with no preparation of plaster.

The pictures are at once assimilated and contrasted by a fortunate treatment. In the first, we have a single female figure seated, semi-nude, on rolling clouds which bear her forward through the open sky, while three fleeing horses dash violently away before her, unrestrained by the hand of a groom who seizes one of them by the head. This is a conception which Mr. Hunt has long had in mind, and visitors to his studio, if they were not fortunate enough to see the original cartoon, destroyed in the Boston fire, will remember at least a photograph of it, and will recall the superb rush of these horses, which seem ready to run down the spectator. The second picture shows Columbus, as a single male figure standing in his vessel on the open sea, and attended by allegorical figures, which represent Hope, Faith, Science, and Fortune. A very ingenious device was used for adjusting the designs to their positions. The cartoons, once drawn, were photographed on glass slides and then thrown on the walls from a camera. By changing the position of the camera the image on the wall could be enlarged or diminished, and moved about, till the figures were duly adjusted both in scale and position ; and then the outlines were traced at once directly upon the wall. Perhaps we shall find that Mr. La Farge's work and Mr. Hunt's will open a new chapter in our treatment of important buildings. The one which we have before tried to decorate with mural paintings the Capitol at Washington had always been tacitly accepted as the only one of its class; and its painting, it must be confessed, like its other artistic treasures, had not been widely enough or warmly enough admired to command imitation. Yet it is very desirable that such treatment should prevail. Perhaps nothing has in times past so much encouraged the development of a general feeling for art, as the habit of seeing and studying the work of the best painters and sculptors in commanding positions and on a generous scale; certainly nothing is a greater stimulus to artists themselves. A few years ago not many Americans would have dared ask an artist of reputation to paint a wall. To-day, we fancy, few artists would refuse.

August 24, 1878, THE STATE HOUSE AT ALBANY. ALBANY, N. Y. page 67,

THE new capitol, while promising much beauty of interior, is forever marked architecturally on its exterior with non-affiliation with original design. Highly decorated but disproportioned dormers impose their heavy stone flanks on massive bow girders, despoiling the symmetry of attic rooms, and the acroterial finials and tympanums are composed of sculptured " blazes," of funereal significance; and coats of arms and crests of some of the commissioners, with such mottoes as " JOVI-PRAESTAT-FIDELE-QUAM-HOMINI," and " SI-JE- PUIS." Certainly strangely odd, and of questionable taste in free America, and on a public building.

[“Jovi Praestat Fidele Quam Homini”- Actually, “Jovi praestat fidere quam homini” Stuyvesant family motto.
“Si Je Puis”]

Page 196,

December 14, 1878, The American Architect and Building News, Vol. IV. -- No. 155, CORRESPONDENCE. THE STATE CAPITOL AT ALBANY, Pages 196-98

ALBANY, November.
I HAPPENED to be in the Assembly Chamber when the first attempt was made to show Mr. Hunt's pictures on the walls which they were designed to adorn. The attempt was itself a novelty, as are several other points in this scheme of mural decoration. The artist had already occupied some weeks on his sketches, the studies of single figures, and the colored cartoons. When the cartoons were at last completed they were photographed upon glass slides, and an oxyhydrogen light behind the camera threw them, magnified to their full size, into their true position. Two scaffoldings for the use of the painter had been erected, one at either side of the room over the upper of its two ranges of windows, and a bridge, some forty feet above the floor and fifteen below the ridge of the groined ceiling, connected them. From one end of this bridge the picture at the other could thus be seen, and judged in all but its color. The artist, with a movement* could shift the picture downwards or upwards, to the right or left, enlarge it or diminish it, at will; and when it was finally adjusted, could fix the outline on the wall from the photographic image with such variations as seemed needful on a view of the whole from across the room a distance of eighty odd feet. As you already know, the pictures are. painted directly on the stone. The space which each is to occupy is bounded by the line of the vault above and at the sides, and by the window heads below, and is some fifteen by forty-five feet in area. The subjects are allegories. That on the northern wall (the axis of the room is east and west) represents the Flight of Night. The Queen of Night is driving before the dawn, chariot-ed on clouds drawn by three plunging horses, one white, one black, one red. without other visible restraint than that of a swarthy guide, who floats at the left of the picture and whose hand is lightly laid upon the head of the outermost horse. At the right of the goddess, and in deep shade, is the recumbent figure of a sleeping mother with a sleeping child upon her breast. The other picture is equally simple in composition. The Discoverer stands upright in a boat, dark against a sunset sky, Fortune erect behind him, trimming the sail with her lifted left hand while the right holds the tiller. The boat is rising to a sea, and is attended by Hope at the prow, with one arm resting on it and one pointing forward, Faith, whose face is buried in her arms and who is floating with the tide, and Science, unrolling a chart at the side. Of the effect of the pictures as mural decorations it is too soon to speak, but there is already matter for admiration in what may be seen of them in black and white; in the monumental largeness of the conception, the impressiveness of the individual figures, and the skill with which they are grouped, and, most of all, the repose which is preserved even in the tempestuous action which fills the Flight of Night. On the occasion of which I have written, when, after some experiments with single figures, this picture was thrown on the wall, three spontaneous cheers from the little group of people assembled on the scaffolding told of its effectiveness.

You may have a curiosity to know something of the chamber and the building which these pictures are to decorate ; for, though the architecture of the Albany capitol has been hotly attacked and hotly defended since you published the modified designs in March, 1876, I do not remember to have seen any description of what has been done. One's first glimpse of the building from the river, or the river streets, is of a black roof of very steep pitch, with chimneys of gray granite emerging from it half-way up, and a range of granite, dormers at the cornice line. From this point of view the mass recalls at once the chateau architecture of Francis I. Scarcely anything is to be seen as yet from below of the walls thus crowned, and on climbing the hill one finds that the finished work is the central pavilion of the north side with the curtain walls which connect it with the corner pavilions. These latter are very nearly as they were left two years ago. The portion which will be ready for occupation when the legislature meets in January is about three hundred by one hundred feet. The side elevation, published by you March 11, 1876, in connection with the original ground plan, published April 15, will give an idea of what is done, though it will give very little idea of how it is done. The massing of the building has been changed altogether from that shown by the sketch. The small, flanking towers rise only to just above the cornice line, where they are roofed with slabs of granite. The main roof rises in an unbroken pitch of sixty degrees to a height of eighty feet above the cornice, becoming thus the crowning and most conspicuous feature of the building. The grouping of the upper openings of the wall, seven over five, is maintained, as shown in the sketch, and the axial lines are disregarded. The modelling of the openings is also as shown, the law requiring a return to the first style not having been passed until the wall was built to the springing of the arches in the upper story. The columns are finished, however, with classic capitals. A light label moulding, with a leaf ornament, surmounts the upper windows, and the spandrels of the lower arches are decorated with classic detail. The cornice, which is of much greater height than the sketch shows, but not of great projection, has several rows of classic ornament, the most conspicuous detail being a conch. The dormers, three in number, aligned over the pilasters below, are high and narrow, composed each of an order enclosing the window and sustaining an entablature, which in turn carries a dwarf order with fluted pilasters, the pediment flanked and crowned by acroteria. The work below the upper story is very much as it was, except that the porch has not been built, and that the projecting keystones have been cut off from the whole building. On the court side the work is quite different from that on the street side, the statutory restriction not applying here. The nook shafts have very plain cushion capitals, the cornice, simply and emphatically moulded, is without other ornament, while the dormers are in every way different; they are richly treated, each is composed of two arches separated by a pier, the capital of which is to carry an eagle, and flanked by others which are to bear statues. The gables bear what I have seen described in your columns as " the coats of arms of the commissioners," but were meant to be the, arms of colonial families. The three in place are of Stuyvesant, Livingston, and Schuyler. Mr. George W. Schuyler, the canal auditor, is a member of the capitol commission. There is no color on the outside of the building except the gray of the granite and the black of the slate. The modifications in the composition are all in the direction of breadth and simplicity. The great roof is perfectly unbroken, and there is a flank of plain wall at either side, and a belt of plain wall above the upper arcade. The thing which mainly strikes one in looking at the new work in connection with the old is, that the new work is a modelled wall, while the old is a wall with modelling applied to it. The curtain walls lack the upper story, in which the difference of treatment mainly appears, and have dormers similar to those of the pavilion, except that they are smaller and plainer, and are aligned over the openings.

The staircase, which is nearing completion, is in the well shown on Mr. Fuller's ground plan, to which it was committed. This well is at the southeast corner of the finished portion of the building, and abuts neither on the street nor on the court, but upon the lower stages of the tower. It receives no light, therefore, except from a large skylight at its summit. The well itself is some fifty by thirty feet. The staircase has two landings in each story. The stairs are built of a harder sandstone than that with which the walls are lined. The inner side of them is carried upon a wall, pierced in each flight with three arches which follow the slope of the stairs. From the upper and lower columns arches are turned to corbels, richly carved in foliage on the outer wall. This staircase rises from the basement to the gallery floor of the Assembly Chamber, and the wall is carried through the roof. There is some talk of filling the wall spaces thus obtained between the top of the stairs and the skylight with a picture in each of the four faces. The basement and ground floor are pretty much as they were left by Mr. Fuller, and need not detain us long. The most striking feature of the latter is the "entrance hall," which is not an entrance, some fifty by eighty feet, with two rows of square granite piers running the long way of it, connected by granite arches. The spaces between are ceiled with very flat brick arches, and the corner of each pier carries one very large round moulding. The next floor, the "entrance floor," of the plan, contains the Court of Appeals, to be used this winter as the Senate Chamber. A corridor, amply lighted from the court by seven windows and vaulted in plastered brick, extends one hundred and forty feet along the inner side of the central pavilion. A dado of tiles framed in sandstone skirts the corridor; the walls are decorated with gold and yellow on a ground of red, and the ceiling in blue, red, and amber, on a ground of gold. This decoration is now in progress, and it is proposed to enhance the effect of it by placing a box of growing plants in the recess of each window. The Court of Appeals, as shown on the plan, is nearly a square of sixty feet with a height of about twenty-five feet. Its shape and its apparent size have been much changed by the removal of the cast-iron columns shown in the plan, and the prolongation through the room of the line of a wall which divides it some twenty feet from and parallel to the corridor. The line is formed of granite columns bearing a marble wall. From the capitals of the columns rise the pairs of braces which support the great beams of the ceiling. This is very heavily panelled in oak, to the depth of some feet, and consists of three series of beams diminishing in size and richly moulded, while the panels are richly carved. The walls have a dado of tiles, while the wall-screen is wainscoted in oak, with a diaper carving in each panel. Above this, again, appears a belt of stone wall, as yet left quite plain. The subordinate rooms on this floor are meant for judges' rooms and minor offices ultimately, though the executive offices are temporarily lodged in them.

The next floor, some sixty feet from the ground, is the principal floor of the building, and the Assembly Chamber which occupies it may almost be said to be the building. The novelty of a vaulted room in this country is not its chief claim to study. The conception of the room, its treatment, which so evidently proceeds from the whole to the parts, and its decoration combine to make it the centre of the architectural interest of the building, and, to your correspondent, the most interesting architectural work in the country. I mean strictly to describe, but when one considers that this room is not an unhampered conception of a legislative hall, but has been conceived and executed under the hard limitation of adjusting such a conception to a predetermined box at the top of a building, it is not easy to suppress some enthusiasm. The ground plan of the room shows what these limitations were.

The extreme dimensions of the room are then one hundred and forty by eighty-four feet. The extreme length is shown, however, only

Page 197

in the gallery floor and at the ends of the nave, if it may be so called. Each of these extreme spaces is a public gallery. The square spaces on each side of them are walled out of the room altogether. The spaces under them are vaulted lobbies, and it is the vaulting of the lobbies and not of the galleries, each of which is covered with a single vault, which is indicated on the plan. The squares at the corners of the central space are also separated from the main room on the first floor, at the speaker's end by a solid wall, and at the entrance end by columns carrying a stone screen, and each contains a gallery. It is scarcely necessary to point out how this disposition assists the perspective effect of the room, and gives it variety and movement. The Assembly Chamber proper is thus confined to the central transept, including the bays at either end, in one of which the speaker's desk is placed. The space bounded by the columns is forty-five by fifty-five feet, nearly, and the keystone of the vault over it, the highest point of the room, is fifty-six feet from the floor. The four abutting vaults are five feet lower at the apex. The ridges of the vaults are not horizontal, but have a rise of three or four feet at the centre. There are no ridge ribs and no formerets, the capping abutting directly upon the walls. The range of coupled columns behind the speaker's desk carries the wall which forms the front of the reporters' gallery, the floor of which, consisting of stone slabs, is carried by stone girders laid from this wall to the one behind. The reporters' gallery is thus in front of and lower than the public gallery, which occupies the extremity of the room.

The shafts of the four columns which support the central vault are four feet in diameter, each composed of three drums of red Connecticut granite, polished. The capitals and bases are of Westchester marble. The walls and the cells of the vaults are of Ohio sandstone, with ribs and arches of Dorchester-stone. The nook shafts of the windows are of brown Belleville-stone, with capitals and bases of Ohio-stone. All wall openings in the room, by the way, are round-arched. The hood moulds of the windows are of Belleville-stone, the voustoirs of Ohio-stone, the archivolts within them and the impost moulding of Dorchester-stone. The only wood in the room, besides the furniture, is in the floor and the doors. It will be seen that, even without pigment, there is already an effect of color attained, and that the constructive features of the room are distinguished by tint as well as by modelling. In the design of the room it is evident that two things have been kept mainly in view, one that the room is a civic apartment, though treated in forms traditionally associated with church architecture, the other that there is already, in parts performing functions, an inherent effect which ii is quite possible to injure, and highly desirable to emphasize by the treatment of them. The architect has been less afraid of leaving his great constructive features rude than of frittering them away, or doing too little than too much, and this feeling has cooperated with the other of avoiding an ecclesiastical expression, and the wire-drawn attenuation of late Gothic, to produce the vigor and, so to say, the terseness of style in the Assembly Chamber. The annexed profile, however, will illustrate my meaning better than words. The jambs, wall arches, and other features are of the same character as the vault. The mouldings are rather clear and emphatic than intricate.

The carved enrichment of the room is abundant, and incised arabesques are freely introduced as well as modelled carving. Of the latter, besides the capitals of piers and columns, of which there must be something like a hundred in all, and the hood moulds of the windows, are the very rich traceried railings which form the front of the six galleries the room contains, and become important in the general effect of it, the corbels which carry the reporters' gallery, and the detail of the chimney pieces which are yet to be put in. The spandrels of the arches immediately behind the speaker's desk are covered with carving in diaper, as are also the spandrels of the entrance arches. The soffits of the galleries at the entrance end are similarly treated. The springing course of the lower story carries an incised leaf ornament, as do the girders of the galleries, and each voussoir of the windows is covered with an incised pattern. The decorative detail is, throughout, highly conventionalized.

The color decoration is everywhere a part of the carved decoration. I recall but one piece of stencilled work, a narrow border along the ribs of the vault. The decoration of the vault is completed, but that of the walls which leads up to it and to the pictures, which are the crown of a system of decoration embracing the whole room, is not yet done. Each side of the transept, you will remember, has three windows below and five above. Between these two ranges is to be Mr. Ward's frieze, and above the upper, Mr. Hunt's picture. The wall is left plain up to the springing of the lower windows. The springing course has an arabesque ornament, as already said. The leaf is to be left in its own color, and the ground filled with vermilion. The cove of the brown stone hood-mould is to be filled with ultramarine, the ground of the voussoir with vermilion, and the edges of the ornament gilded. The wall above the springing line is to be decorated, each stone by itself, with an incised ornament, and the ground filled with a brown red. Over this comes the sculpture, over this the second range of windows, the wall plain as before to the springing line, and decorated as before above it. and over this the picture. The decoration of the ceiling is also part of the system. The Ohio-stone, of which it is built, is of a mellow and yellowish gray tint. Each groin bears two belts of decoration, one almost at the ridge, the other not far from the springing, which follow the line of the courses. The ornament in the upper belt, fifty feet from the spectator, is very bold in design, and very boldly cut, the lower belt subordinate in all respects. The principal ornament is somewhat modelled, the inferior simply incised. The stone is excavated to a depth of some inches, and the ground filled, as before, wilh vermilion or ultramarine, the ornament edged with gold. It should be borne in mind that the ceiling has not the look of being decorated with horizontal bands, for the reason that it is not so decorated. Besides the concave curve of the vault, there is the rise of some feet between the apex and the ends, which determines the direction of the courses, and of the ornament they bear, and each course is also slightly concave in plan. On a dark day, the fact that the work is in relief can scarcely be perceived from the floor, but it is felt at once in the life and movement which it gives the decoration, an advantage over simply stencilled painting, at least as great in effect as that which a fabric woven in colors has over one printed. The ribs and arches are left without color, though the ring of the central vault, a stone of three tons' weight, is decorated. The white marble capitals of the columns which carry this vault are to be painted in red, blue, and gold, the only colors used in the room. The carpet is to be red, with a border of positive colors, the furniture mahogany upholstered with red leather, and the window heads are to be filled with stained glass. S.

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