AIA Southern Chapter Proceedings

Needs Review



foolish boasts, what the building would have been had the architect not put it "in shape."

Now, what an archltect does not want is to be classed with the "Jacklegs" who never did learn the business nor ever could. He does not want to be invited to go into a competition where he is expected to put a dollar "in the slot" and take out a nickel. It is all very well to say "competition is the life of trade," and that it ought to bring out the best points of an architect. Experience does not bear out the statement, "The battle is to the strong ''--the man in the ring. The race is to the swift; the fellow who does the most drumming. In short, it is the thick-skinned, half-taught, not-to-be-downed, strong, hearty, pushing interviewer who wins the prize. The modest, quiet, unassuming architect who may have spent much money and many years in: fitting himself for the art he professes and adorns, has but a poor show in most competitions; and if he enters upon them atall he is almost sure to find the prize awarded to a design as inferior to his own as he may be superior to his opponent.

I need scarcely tell you that in many a competition the award is made beforehand, and if, out of policy, half a dozen men are invited to send in competitive designs, it is only because the committee wish to get half a dozen ideas for the price of one. That is what the architect is roaring about, and it's enough to make him roar.

One word more about competitions, and I have done. It not infrequently happens-let us hope very infrequently-that after an architect has done his best and won the prize, he finds he has been underbid by a rival, and is forced to accept half the regular fee for his services or leave the prize untouched. Five per cent is a small remuheration for the services an architect is expected to render. For this he must be held responsible for the safety and stability of the building, see to every minutiæ of detail; must undergo much anxiety, spend many toilsome days and sleepless nights perfecting his work, and when all is done, perhaps has to wait many weary months before he can collect his fees, and that is what the Architect, he, is roaring about.

The President: Mr. G. L. Thompson, electrician, is present, and has a paper to read on " Electricity and its Applications to Building and Equipping Buildings." He will now read that paper.


The principal act in practical. electricity is to see that the machine, iustrument or battery be properly connected with the wires and other apparatus to be operated. Electricity, however, as connected with architecture, is a subject on which little has been said, and at first thought one might wonder how the two could in any way be connected; truthfully, only a few years ago they were not; but as demands are advancing and increasing every month and year for both architecture and elec-

Last edit 11 months ago by Colin Morgan
Needs Review



tricity, the two are rapidly and gradually coming together, as without doubt every architect and electrician has experienced.

An architect is seldom,if ever, seen who has not expressed a desire or thought to be more fully posted on subjects pertaining to electricity, and on the other hand there are very few buildings being erected to-day in which architecture and electricity do not display a prominent part.

My desire at this time is to mention a few of the most important subjects in which the two are the more closely related, and although covering a very large field, they can be condensed to such an extent as to be expressed under two headings, namely: "Electric Lighting" and "Transmission of Power."

Referring to the former, each architect present has probably devoted a great amount of time and thought to this subject, when having on hand a building of considerable size which is to be wired for electric lights, or in which an isolated electric lighting plantis to be used.

I will not only suggest for the future, but comment on the past, by saying that, as a rule, in the construction of buildings, no provision is made for properly locating the wires and wiring devices; but this is left for the electrical contractor to find for himself the best location he can, which is generally "a round-about course" in "an out-of-the-way place."

In commenting I am in no way finding fault, as, owing to the comparatively short time the two have been brought together there has been no very convenient time in which to refer to the work; but by unison in our efforts the desired result can be obtained, which is, through experience, to superintend the erection of buildings of different classes so they will be not only neat in appearance, and safely constructed, but conveniently planned as to the fittings of different kinds. The remark is often made that electricity is in its infancy, and while this is true we must also acknowledge that electricity is here, and must be cared for as well as any other industry.

It is customary, in planning buildings, to make provisions so that the main steam, gas, water and drain pipes are carried through the structure in a systematic manner, which not only reduces the cost of installing, but facilitates and lessens the cost of repairing if needed in future.

This plan in connection with electric lighting should also be observed and carried out for the same reasons. Electricity is rapidly coming in general use, not only for store and general use, but for residence lighting; and each building erected should have, if possible, a little space near its centre, running from the basementto the attic, in which can be placed the gas meter and main feeder, the electric meter with its main wires and wiring devices, as well as the batteries and wires necessary for operating the annunciators, burglar-alarms, watchman's clock and automatic gas-lighting attachments. This is not only convenient and desirable, but by concentrating and giving these well-earned, laborsaving necessities a place, it makes them more perfect by reducing the chances for a possible interruption to the service, and if additions, altera-

Last edit 11 months ago by Colin Morgan
Needs Review



tions or repairs are at any time necessary, it greatly reduces the cost of same.

The space required for this work is of little value compared with the satisfactory results which would be obtained, and depends, in all cases, on the size of the building and the purpose for which it is to be used. In exceptional cases, where the stucture is unusually large, a main shaft or riser would be advisable, together with two or more additional ones in remote sections of the building.

Electric current for lighting purposes, where supplied from central station plants, is generally furnished fromwhat is known as the alternating circuits, although there are comparatively a few Cities--and generally in the larger ones--where the direct current is used.

When electricity is generated in the building itself, this form is known as an Isolated Lighting Plant, and most of the larger buildings are equipped in this way.

The nature of the current from the two machines is entirely different, and a building in which the wiring is adapted for one, will in some cases not answer for the other; it is therefore advisable, in the erection of buildings to-day, to have the wiring so planned and arranged as to be equally adapted and efficient for either system. This can be easily arranged and the work performed at a slight additional expense, so that a building can be lighted from a central station plant, or, if at any time desired, the necessary machinery can be placed in or near the basement, and the current manufactured by the owner.

Another use for which electricity is in quite general demand and in which more advancement will be made in future than in lighting work, is the "Transmission of Power "; and, while the energy of the greatest electrical minds in this as well as foreign countries, is now being directed to this branch of the industry, we have, at the present time, power delivered at our doors, for operating machinery of all kinds, and among the most successful, and probably the one more closely connected with Architecture, is the transmission of power for operating Elevators for either freight or passenger service.

Both the electric and hoisting machinery are specially constructed so as to be coupled direct on the same bed-plate; and as the machinery only runs when the caris ascending or descending, no expense is incurred while the elevator is not in motion.

At the present time there are several hundred electric elevatorsin successful operation, and as they have only been introduced about two years, the prospects in this direction are very encouraging,

There is probably no doubt but that within a very few years this plan will be generally adopted for this service whenever the electrical power can be procured, as the advantages are numerous overany other system.

The electricity or current consumed. is recorded by an electric meter, so the actual amount of energy used is paid for,--no more or no less.

In conclusion, I trust that special care will be taken and more thought given to the better arrangement of electric wires and wiring devices

Last edit 11 months ago by Colin Morgan
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which are to be installed in public or private buildings, in which architecture and electricity are alike advancing, hand in hand.

The President: The Secretary has a paper written by Mr. M. J. Dimmock, of Richmond, Va., on "The Practice of Builders Making and Furnishing So-Called 'Architectural Drawings.'" Mr. Dimmock's essay was read by Mr. W. E. Hall, of Winston, N. C.


Mr. President:

This is a matter which concerns the profession of architecture generally, but more particularly does it interest those who are located and practising in the smaller cities and towns where the evil is the greatest.

The Southern States in the past were strictly an agricultural district, and consequently the cities were few and the plantations large, and there was little which led to the study of architecture, and the buildings partook more of the practical than the artistic in design. There were public buildings and many planters' houses which were admirable in design and were planned to suit the wants and requirements of the day and climate, and someof these are to-day worthy of study.

But a new condition of affairs now exists, and the new South has become manufacturing as well as agricultural; and, as a consequence, her cities are growing and new towns have sprung into existence, and so new architectural conditions are required. The resources of the South are being rapidly developed, and capital from home and abroad is seeking investment. Great business schemes are projected; and it is a recognized fact that after maturing a scheme when the planning and erection of buildings is necessary, the first thing to be done by the projectors is to secure the professionalservices of an architect--one in whom all confidence is reposed--to advise with and prepare the plans, etc., of a building which shall fill all the requirements of the special scheme, not only as to arrangement of plan, but also as to appropriateness and beauty of design, and which shall not fall short, but surpass, if possible, other buildings of a similar character. This is a recognized business proceedure and the only proper mode of carrying out the scheme in hand. Now to find this architect and advisor, one must first look for an educated man in his profession, and one who has had experience in all matters pertaining thereto and is able to study and solve the problem given him in a careful and business-like manner in all its details; and the architect, to do this, must have years of study and long experience, and a certain aptness for his profession, coupled with decision of character and a gentlemanly bearing, which are all necessary for success,

These qualifications it would be unreasonable to expect in a builder who has neither had the time nor means of study, and whose early manhood has been spent in the details of probably but one branch of the

Last edit 11 months ago by Colin Morgan
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carpenter's trade. 'These men have, in some instances, familiarized themselves with a few plans and specifications prepared by architects, and have finally essayed the practice of architecture; and in most cases the community loses a good builder and gains a person too large in his own estimation for the honorable trade, and yet greatly too small for the profession he calls "Arch e tecturing."

The trade of a builder is a most honorable one, and carries with it great responsibilities; and its emoulments are always satisfactory and often large; and there is always room in any community for a good builder while there should be no room for a pretender.

It would be impossible in this paper to enter into a criticism of the drawings furnished by builders and to follow them up and examine the building erected from them; but suffice it to say, they are in almost every case crude, raw, and undigested, and even to the uneducated eye there is something that stamps them as builders' drawings, and the house erected from them is neither in design a thing of beauty nor in plan a joy forever.

The question is how shall we seek to remedy this evil. The fault lay not at the door of the builder; for he, in making these so-called architectural designs, is but supplying a demand of the public, the masses who are too often ignorant and careless in all matters of architecture, and who, thinking to save the professional fee, will expend often twice the amount of this fee in patching up mistakes in faulty plans and specifications, and inflict on the community a Dolly Varden monstrosity.

We can only hope for an improvement by the gradual education of the public to a higher standard in architecture. That this standard is improving, there is little doubt; and here in the South-land, which we all love so well, and in whose development we are peculiarly interested, there isa growing demand for better things, and the public is discriminating between good and bad architecture. This is the age of travel and observation, and much is learned by comparison. Art is now diffusing itself into everything, and this is seen in the simplest forms of household decoration; and the child of today is surrounded and educated by artistic objects that were not thought of in our boyhood days.

And so it behooves us now, one and all, to strive for this end; and with unceasing study and the careful preparation of every detail of design, both in small as in large buildings, to improve the architecture of the South, and to place it on a level with that of any other part of this land. Nature has been most bountiful and the resources of our country are unlimited; and we desire the traveler in the future to pause and admire and study our architecture as well as our history.

At this point. Mr. W. S. Smith, of Birmingham, offered a resolution looking to the strengthening of this Chapter by further obtaining a charter from the State of Alabama, which elicited considerable discussion and was finally referred to a

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