CASTLES IN THE AIR

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
–Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Very often in New York City we are called upon to design ‘castles in the air’ in the form of additions atop already existing, usually masonry, structures and then, quite literally, design and build foundations under them to support the new additions.

View of the interior at 320 West 115th Street in New York City showing the recently removed wood stairs and a new steel beam installed above to support the new addition brought to you by Shukri Sindi.

  

THAT ONE'S DEFINITELY TERRA COTTA

Terra cotta has been used on many of the buildings throughout New York City, imparting a characteristic grace to our streetscape.  Most often its use is subtle and difficult to spot as it can be glazed in greys and beiges to mimic granite and limestone.  But there is one delightful example on the Upper West Side that celebrates its terra cotta, unmistakably as orange as a flower pot, and even more striking in its details. Not every joint is perfect, but that adds to the charm of a building covered in clay!  I had walked past it dozens of times on the way to one of CTA’s restoration projects a block away, but finally took a few moments to look and appreciate the details of the Lucerne Hotel, truly an icon and, in my mind, the ultimate NYC spokesmodel for terra cotta.

Views of the Lucerne Hotel terra cotta brought to you by Laura Termini-Lande.