Museum of American Precision

With great subterfuge and possibly some outright lies, I got Alix through the doors of the Museum of American Precision. This pulsing heart of luddite nerd-dom is in an old mill building in Windsor Vermont where machine tools were engineered and built over the past almost-200 years. There are several collections here but as my interest is in the history of metalworking, their unparalleled group of antique lathes, milling machines, and related tools sang my siren song.

The collection here has examples of machines going back to the early nineteenth century. Some of these machines are outwardly primitive but all are clearly recognizable and exhibit the major forms and concepts still in use in the most sophisticated of today’s tools. I love the puzzle of tracing back improvements to mechanical devices because it leads to pointed and difficult questions of a chicken-vs-egg nature as well as questions about the nature of “natural” vs artificial.

If a prerequisite for making flat surfaces is a truly flat surface or the prerequisite for making precise, repeatable objects a regularly pitched thread, how did the first flat surface or regular screw thread get made? How did we standardize measurements?

On a more philosophical tack, I see the development of tools in a big branched, but connected history from a sharp stick to an iron cooking pot to a pilot-less airplane. In each innovative step we commonly don’t see a stark deviation from “natural” but we very often end up at “clearly artificial”. Where’s the dividing line? That’s all without even adding the layer of value judgment that often comes with either natural or artificial.

-David Calligeros

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Brooklyn Made Certification

Made in Brooklyn

Remains is proud to be awarded Brooklyn-Made Certification by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. The Brooklyn-Made Certification program was created with the help of NYU’s Wagner Capstone Program Graduate students last year to promote businesses based in and/or manufacturing in Brooklyn. All design and production of Remains’ custom and made-to-order lighting fixtures takes place in Remains’ own LEED Gold certified factory in Bushwick. The Brooklyn-Made program uses a points-based scoring system as well as an independent advisory board to evaluate potential candidates. Factors taken into consideration include the location of design, development, and product assembly as well as the number of employees located in Brooklyn. In addition to the factory, Remains’ also maintains two Manhattan showrooms as well as showrooms in Greenwich, Los Angeles, Chicago, and London.

The below appeared in last week’s issue of Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s I+M Bulletin. For more information, visit brooklynmade.nyc

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Manufacturer’s (Hannover) Trust Building

In 1918 Manufacturers Trust bought the Northwest corner of 34th Street and Eighth Avenue. I can’t believe these bronze doorways are that early. They seem to date to a renovation in the early 1930s to my eye. I love the references to masonry and the textile-like chevrons and swirls. I wonder if there’s any specific iconographic meaning behind the placid faces of the classical figures. Unfortunately these were under scaffolding when I recently walked by. Here is a less-obscured image from a great website that catalogs vintage signage on the West side.

-David Calligeros

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181 Madison Avenue

181 Madison Avenue, at the corner of Madison Avenue and 34th Street in Manhattan has jaw dropping window and door surrounds by the French designer and fabricator Edgar Brandt. I pass this building, designed by Warren and Wetmore, often on my way to Grand Central Station, also coincidentally by Warren and Wetmore. 181 Madison is in a distinctly more Art Deco style than their earlier work at Grand Central.

 

Thankfully New York City granted landmark status to the façade in 2011.

-David Calligeros

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Stanford White Awards Winners

The Institute of Classical Architecture and Art has announced the winners of the annual Stanford White Awards for Excellence in Classical and Traditional Design. These awards recognize excellence in new classical and traditional architecture, interiors, landscape, urbanism, and building craftsmanship & artisanship throughout New York, New Jersey, and Fairfield County, Connecticut. The awards are named in honor of Stanford White (1853-1906), of the distinguished New York firm McKim, Mead & White, whose legacy of design excellence and creativity in architecture and the allied arts continues to serve as a source of inspiration and delight.

RESIDENTIAL-NEW CONSTRUCTION UNDER 5,000 SF

DAVID. D. HARLAN ARCHITECTS LLC

Extown Farm Cottage
www.daviddharlan.wordpress.com

RESIDENTIAL-NEW CONSTRUCTION OVER 5,000 SF

IKE KLIGERMAN BARKLEY

Black & White House
www.ikba.com

HOUSES – RENOVATION AND ADDITIONS

HAMADY ARCHITECTS LLC

18th c. Dutch Colonial Farm House
www.hamadyarchitectsllc.com

TOWNHOUSE AND APARTMENT RENOVATIONS

PETER PENNOYER ARCHITECTS

Bank Street Townhouse
www.ppapc.com

ANCILLARY STRUCTURES

JOHN B. MURRAY ARCHITECT LLC

Poolhouse Addition to an 18th Century Farm
www.jbmarchitect.com

COMMERCIAL, CIVIC, AND INSTITUTIONAL ARCHITECTURE

ATELIER & CO.

A New Boutique Hotel
www.atelierandcompany.com/

INTERIOR DESIGN & DECORATION

RESIDENTIAL

JAYNE DESIGN STUDIO

A House in the Hudson Valley
www.jaynedesignstudio.com

COMMERCIAL, CIVIC & INSTITUTIONAL

BUNNY WILLIAMS INC & G.P. SCHAFER ARCHITECT PLLC

Library Reading Room at the New-York Historical Society
www.bunnywilliams.com
www.gpschafer.com/#/home

LANDSCAPE DESIGN

DOYLE HERMAN DESIGN ASSOCIATES

A Classic Home in Greenwich
www.dhda.com

SAWYER | BERSON ARCHITECTURE & LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE

Fifth Avenue Terraces
www.sawyerberson.com

HISTORIC PRESERVATION

ANDRE TCHELISTCHEFF ARCHITECTS

Smith-Taylor Cabin
www.tchelistcheff.com

DAVID SCOTT PARKER ARCHITECTS

Williamsburg Savings Bank
www.dsparker.com/#/home

CRAFTSMANSHIP & ARTISANSHIP

LEONARD PORTER STUDIO

An Altarpiece for a Catholic Church
www.leonardporter.com

STUDENT PROJECT

HA MIN JOO

Williamsburg Center for Arts and Crafts

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Third Annual Stanford White Awards – Submissions Due October 27th

The Institute of Classical Architecture and Art has announced the third annual Stanford White Awards for Excellence in Classical and Traditional Design. These awards recognize excellence in new classical and traditional architecture, interiors, landscape, urbanism, and building craftsmanship & artisanship throughout New York, New Jersey, and Fairfield County, Connecticut. The awards are named in honor of Stanford White (1853-1906), of the distinguished New York firm McKim, Mead & White, whose legacy of design excellence and creativity in architecture and the allied arts continues to serve as a source of inspiration and delight.

The 2014 jurors are Suzanne Tucker, Tucker and Marks Design; Michael Imber, FAIA, Michael Imber Architects and David Jones, AIA, Jones and Boer Architects.

For details visit: http://www.classicist.org/awards-and-prizes/stanford-white-awards/

Winners will be celebrated at an Awards Presentation on December 3rd in New York City at the Highline Hotel.

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ICAA SoCal 10th Anniversary

October has always been my favorite month, and this October will be even more special.

Not only will I celebrate my own birthday this month (yes, it does keep getting better!), I’ll be celebrating with the Southern California Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture on its Ten Year Anniversary.

The roster of events kicks off October 1st at Therien on La Cienega Blvd, with the opening of the exhibition Idea & Manifestation. LA has a vibrant and active chapter of the ICAA, and our creative community will be represented by work from forty artisans, architects, artists and interior designers in the show.

Idea & Manifestation will be on view through October 18th.

Check out the ICAA So Cal’s website for information on all the Ten Year Anniversary events, and to RSVP: http://www.classicist-socal.org/

-Valerie Thomas, Remains Los Angeles

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Architectural Plaster Factory

I visited my friend Adrian Taylor, one of the owners of Hyde Park Mouldings recently. Those guys are working on a small custom project for us and I had to bring them some of the hardware. Their factory is out on Long Island. If you look for it on the satellite view of google maps, it looks a bit like someone dropped a large bag of plaster on nice factory building. These guys use a LOT of plaster. Actually, it’s totally amazing what they produce with the simplest of materials, plaster, water, and burlap: basic, natural, and incredibly versatile.

They make classically inspired ceilings, domes, moldings, and other architectural work in a few methods.

Pretty much everything starts off with artists in the sculpture department.

They carve and model the masters in clay. Those masters are then molded, and the molds then cast in plaster reinforced with burlap, and assembled into full ceiling or wall elements.

When they need to create straight runs of a molding profile, they cut a steel knife and build it into a sled. The sled cuts the thick, but uncured plaster which is resting a trough.

When you are hungry at Hyde Park, make sure to put “only food” into the microwave. We chose, instead, to eat out at a Japanese place for lunch

-David Calligeros

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