Pages That Need Review
AIA Southern Chapter Proceedings
20 THE SOUTHERN CHAPTER, A.I.A.
tastes, are equal with men at the brush, pencil and pen. They shine in the study, the parlor and drawing-room, and why not at the drawingtable?
To proceed, the architect should be a man of good education; have a natural taste for art and design, and ought to be well grounded in the practical details of the profession, besides having a complete theoretical training. He must know all about style and styles, be fully posted on the history of architecture of every land and clime; thoroughly versed in use and abuse of all known and unknown building materials, he must be an expert mathematician; a first-class engineer, a good deal of a merchant; a smart lawyer, of unquestioned and unquenchable integrity; a modest, affable and agreeable gentleman, always ready and willing to work, with or without pay (money is a very minor consideration, so it would be as well if he were a millionaire), and ought to possess the patience of at least one Job.
If we add to all these qualifications two others, which I was taught in my youth were indispensable, viz., that he should be able to perform on some musical instrument and to speak at least two languages, then you would have a model man architect.
I don't know how it is with my brethren about the musical portion of their education, but I take it for granted each one can blow his own horn. And I will guarantee none of you were very long in business before you were able to speak two languages, good bad, very effectively.
Now, whether the public expects to find such a rara avis, such a multum in parvo in one man, or whether it would appreciate him if it did, is another question. My private opinion is, that the public cares very little about him anyway, and thinks a great deal more of the "practical man," the carpenter, who is ever ready to furnish plans for nothing and to put up his building for less. If the public employs an architect at all it is grudgingly, and only because it cannot help itself. He is a necessary evil, a very costly luxury, and the thrifty public has very little use for such. Why an architect should be paid five per cent for merely a few sheets of drawings and specifications, and how he dare pretend to be superintendent of a building which he visits only once a day, or perchance once a week, is more than the public can understand. If the public built a house every day, or even every year, it would become better posted, and the architect as a consequence, be in greater demand. But it doesn't. Not one thousandth part of the public ever builds at all, and the portion that does build seldom does so more than once in a life-time. So, you see it has taken the public and the architect a long time to get acquainted.
Why this state of things should exist is, perhaps, after all, not entirely the fault of the public. There never was a time in the world's history when professions of every kind as so full of pretenders. We have not only "quack doctors," (why "quack" I don't know), but quack
THE SOUTHERN CHAPTER, A. I A. 21
everything else, architecture coming in for its share of the genus.
A young man with a little smattering of drawing and a big spattering of ambition suddenly rushes to the front, opens an office, hangs up his shingle, and blows his horn to such good purpose, thata patron is forthcoming much earlier than to his more intelligent and better qualified rival, the rara avis before alluded to, and for half the usual fees he serves his client, and generally serves him out. But what can you expect for two and a half per cent? After a few years of practice and the ruination of several unfortunate speculators, he in time acquires a respectable knowledge of the business he only professed to know, has made a living, and goes on his way rejoicing. But in the meantime he has done much mischief to the profession.
No wonder then, with such an experience, if the despoiled client should feel somewhat aggrieved, and telling his tale of woe to others, warn them from the evil door.
As a remedy for this unfortunate condition of affairs, I would suggest that all of our best efforts be used in getting the profession of architecture placed on the same platform with that of divinity, medicine and law, whose professors are not permitted to practice until they have undergone a rigid course of study, passed an equally rigid examination, and then properly certificated that they are what they profess to be. The would-be architect would then be stimulated, if not compelled to read up and work for his degree, and it would bring with it not only education, but an amount of respect for the profession and of the profession which never comes to it now.
Having disposed of the head of my subject, I am led, as a matter of course, to the body, or second division:
2nd. Where, the Architect, does he come from?
He comes from anywhere and everywhere. There is no land under the sun where an architect may not be found. He is of every clime, every nationality, all sorts and all sizes; and is as necessary to the comfort and well-being of mankind as food and clothing.
It would be impossible to enumerate the number and variety of styles which emanate from this vast number and variety of genius, as he made his advent on earth with Adam, the first man, so he will be the last to take his leave, if he ever leaves at all.
So yousee, he is somebody of consequence. And if a necessary evil, he is also a long abiding one. You and I may estimate him at his true worth, but we want the public to be equally sagacious and well-informed.
Time was, when the architectand builder were one, but with the increased demand for civilization the one was one too few. The architect could not find time to plan and build likewise, so a division of labor became necessary, the artist and designer became the architect, and the constructor and mechanic the builder; much to the advantage of the employers of both and to the profit of all. Thus the architect evoluted into existence, and might spend a very pleasant one but for the thousand
22 THE SOUTHERN CHAPTER, A. I. A.
and one little annoyances, as common to his calling as to every other; so he takes as little heed of them as may be.
In the not very distant past the domain of Art in this country was occupied almost exclusively by foreigners. The natives of the soil were too busy tilling it and making crops by the sweat of their brows to give much time to luxuries. As a consequence the arts flourished with a foreign accent. Less than fifty years ago the greater portion of the buildings in this country were designed by foreigners, while to-day these re-united States occupy as conspicuous a place in the domain of fine art as any country in the world. The accumulation of wealth by the older generation, as a reward for their constant toil and steady habits, gave to their children the advantages of better education, facilities for travel and a contact with the outer world, which has resulted in an improved race, with minds expanded and enlarged, filled with the love of the beautiful, and purses equally well filled for gratifying their improved tastes. The results are to be seen everywhere in the beautiful and costly buildings which have sprung into existence, so that few countries can boast of superior. The fine arts are cultivated and flourish to an extent hitherto unknown, and if they go on at the same rapid and American pace for another half century, this country will be the most magnificent --and let us hope, the best--on top of the globe.
We now come to the tail, or last part of our subject.
What, the Architect, does he want? Or, in the expressive language of the divine, What is he roaring about?
He wants recognition as an artist and as a scientist; he wants to be placed in his rightful position before the public he desires to serve. He wants to work for fame as fortune. Wealth is not everything in this life; a little well fed and well feed pride and vanity is very acceptable now and then, and very often the best efforts and best qualities of a man ere brought out by a little--ever so little--well-timed praise and commendation.
He wants to be believed in and trusted; he wants his client to feel that in employing him his best interests will be subserved, and his work faithfully performed. He wants to be as promptly paid for his services as a mechanic is for his; and moreover, he wants the same rights as are given the mechanic, a lien upon the building his patience and skill have caused to be erected. While his modesty may be too great to admit of his forcing himself into prominence, he wants to feel that he is somebody, and then he will be somebody ; let him feel that anybody can be he, and he will soon be nobody, if he has any pnde at all about him; and when he has finished his work and indulges in a commendable pride upon surveying his own creation, he wants to have the full credit of the design; and not have the wind taken out of the sails by such expressions from the secretly gratified owner, "Oh, well you know I designed the building myself, but just got my architect to put it in shape for me." Yes, I often wonder when I am compelled to listen to such
THE SOUTHERN CHAPTER, A. I, A. 23
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.
ARCHITECTURE: AS CONNECTED WITH ELECTRICTY.
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-
24 THE SOUTHERN CHAPTER, A. I. A.
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-
THE SOUTHERN CHAPTER, A. I. A. 25
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
26 THE SOUTHERN CHAPTER, A. I. A.
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.
THE PRACTICE OF BUILDERS MAKING AND FURNISHING SO-CALLED "ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS."
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
THE SOUTHERN CHAPTER, A. I. A. 27
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
28 The Southern Chapter, A. I. A.
committee consisting of L. F. Goodrich, D. B. Woodruff and F. L. Rosseau., who reported that in their opinion it is inexpedient at that time to take any action, and recommended that the resolution be laid upon the table. Upon motion of Mr. Lind the report of the committee was adopted.
At this point the Secretary stated that there had been a successful attempt made by some members of the Institute to have the dictionaries make a clear distinction between the "supervision" of work by architects and the "superintendence" of work, and that it was understood that such distinction would be in future editions of the dictionaries, and that it was high time that the profession generally were dropping the expression "superintendence," as applied to their "supervision" of work; as superintendence could be furnished only by persons who remained all the while on the building, and this was clearly the duty of the cleck of the works; and the expression "superintendence" should not be used in connection with architectural service.
Mr. Helmich : In view of the fact that the evening session will be occupied by the members of the Legislature, and the amount of work that is yet to be accomplished, it strikes me that we should go into the election of officers at this morning session instead of afternoon, as formerly decided upon, and since Mr. Burke has waived his objection to proceeding before hearing the report of the Committee on the Treasurer's Accounts, I move that we hear the report of the Nominating Committees now.
Which motion was carried.
Mr. D. A. Helmick, chairman of one of the committees, submitted the following recommendation : Mr. L. F. Goodrich for President, W. P. Tinsley for Vice-President, Mr. P. E. Dennis, Secretary and Treasurer. Directors: D. B. Wood, ruff, T. H. Morgan, Tom Wood, T. H. Maddox and C. C. Burke.
Mr. Chas. Wheelock, chairman of the other committee. made the following recommendation : Mr. L. F. Goodrich for President, Mr. E. G. Lind for Vice-President, and W. P. Tinsley for Secretary and Treasurer. Directors : C. C.