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I Forge Iron

Any tips for an Architecture Student Designing a House with a smithy?

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Hi everyone,


As the title suggests, I'm a first year architecture student at the University of Bath in the UK who has a uni project to design a brick house, part of the brief stated that one of the people had to work from home and we were allowed to choose the occupation.I chose blacksmith as I had recently seen some of the amazing wrought iron architectural details that metalworkers make in a museum in London.

I also chose it as I was wondering whether I could use the huge amount of heat generated from the forge to heat the rest of the house in some manner (e.g. waste heat heats up the water) or a forge that doubles up as back of a hearth?


I've done a little bit of research into the big (as in relevant for designing the space) equipment needed and narrowed it down to forge, anvil, extraction hose/blower, work bench, vice, tool rack/table and possibly power hammer? - if I've forgotten anything please say!

I've also seen a few plans here such as this one:  but I just wanted to ask a few things:'?do=embed' frameborder='0' data-embedContent>>


Anyway, I just wanted to ask a few things:


1) any particular reason for the arrangement of the equipment? should the forge be in a certain spot etc.?

2) rough dimensions (only really need floorspace occupied and maybe heights) of the equipment

3) does anyone have a workshop attached/on the same site as your house? does this make any differences?


and finally:


if you were the client are there any things any of you guys would specifically want/need? 


Obviously, there are fire safety issues which would probably make getting planning permission a lot harder than if I'd chosen something like painter as many of my colleagues have, but since I'm only first year we don't have to go too in depth into that, it just has to not be ridiculous and clearly set on fire. But I'm probably going to separate the smithy from the main house so as to negate those issues. 


Any other comments or advice would be welcome





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The forge area is like a kitchen, you have a work triangle.  You move back and forth from the forge to the anvil, to the forge, to the power hammer, to the forge to the vice... Yes I realize I just illustrated a work triangle with 4 corners... ;-)   Best to keep the forge separate, and attempts to recycle the waste heat are likely to be overly ambitious rather than practical.

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All of the tools being used on hot iron, like SJS says, need to be within quick range of the heat source.  If you have to walk a hundred feet to get to the anvil, the hot iron's going to cool down.


Can the forge be the back of a fireplace in the house?  Sure.  Though, to be correct, they'll only be sharing a common chimney structure.  There can't be any pass-through from one to the other or you'll get fumes from the workshop entering the house.  Coal dust, noise, paint fumes, blah!  The wife would have your head!


Sharing the heat from the forge with the rest of the house?  I'm not sure that would work.  While the forge does generate heat, it also doesn't run all the time.  There could be days at a time where you're just doing assembly work or are out on a job site.  Would it be worth the trouble to fabricate a heat-exchanger of some kind?  What's the return on the investment?  What if you're using your portable forge away from the main forge?


Size of the shop is entirely dependent upon the type of work that you do.  A knife-maker doesn't need much room at all.  Someone making fences and grills could need 100' of open floor for layout and assembly.  Figure that metal stock comes in a standard length and you need that much wall space for a rack unless you're going to cut it shorter before use.  Then calculate the types of tools you want to include in the shop.


A powerhammer is nice for just about every type of smithing, especially as you get older, but they come in different sizes for different needs.  A permanent forge can be nice, but mobile forges can come in really handy around the shop.  Same with anvils and vises.  Even work benches can be rolled around to better suit the needs of the work at the time.

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Nice to have some more people entering the world of architecture!


I'll leave others more knowledgeable comment about shop setup & space needed for all the different equipment. I've found that a big work bench is very useful though, if you have the space that is. At the very least you can put your grinders, drill presses & all the other tools you pick up on one centralized location.


In regards to heating the home with the forge, have you thought about using hydronic in-slab heating? You could loop heating lines in the bed of the coal forge, recycling heat from the forge when in use & storing it in a thermal tank tied to the hydronic system. The forge loops could be tied into a pump that switches on when the forge blower fan is in operation.


Since you are already using a storage tank, you could even add solar hot water panels to the house for additional heat supply during the day. I'm not sure the climate in the UK can support solar hot water (since supposedly its rainy & overcast all the time over there!), but I'll let you be the judge of that. This will cut down on heating costs, in theory anyways.


I'm tempted to separate the shop & home, not only for fire safety but also to keep sound transmission between the two spaces down too. I'd fire rate the shop walls & ceiling even if is not required by local Code, since blacksmithing has a greater risk of fire related incidents, may as well err on the side of caution. It would also be nice to choose construction materials and/or finishes to deaden sound in the shop. Maybe just some acoustic paneling on the walls will do the job.


Sounds like a fun project, you should let us know how things go!




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Hydronic heat was also going to be my suggestion. I've done quite a few poured in place concrete floors with radiant heat floors.You might also look into hypocaust systems used by the Romans to heat buildings and bath houses. In those the heat of the fires heats the floor and the smoke goes up chimneys that heat the walls and ceilings. If the building is about brick/masonry, you almost must use arches as that IS the way to do openings in masonry. Square openings in brickwork do NOT work. The material does not function in that mannor. Square openings are from wood or steel. Very primitive stone work copied wood and used straight lintels over doors and windows. "Advanced" masonry used arches.



As far as tooling, while the blacksmith may do a lot of forging, many also do a lot of other metal working. Welding ( TIG, MIG, or stick), metal lathe, Mill, shaper, surface grinder.... A small machine shop area might be nice.  A CNC plasma table would be high on my shop list. I'd also have an area for cutting. My band saw with roller in feed table for long stock,  Chop saw on table allowing long lengths to be supported. An iron worker for shearing, punching and cutting is always nice.  Shop amenities. Large doors that can be opened to let light and fresh air into the shop as well as move large heavy pieces of material or tooling.  Back to back doors are nice to have, especially if you need to work with really long lengths of stock. Stock racks. Cantilevered wall racks for storing long lengths of various stock and possibly sheet goods. An overhead crane might be nice for moving heavy items about. If you can't use a crane, a fork truck is very useful for loading and unloading. Think about an outdoor work area, possibly with a shed roof for weather protection.




A few thoughts from someone who went to school for Architecture. You want to have the house use a lot of accessories that are based in the old iron work tradition to go with the theme of the building.  You want the house itself to reflect the ideas of it's occupants. Wrought iron rails,  brackets, chandeliers. Lots of work using traditional joinery, mortise and tenon joints, rivets, etc. Think about the use of glass and iron. The Crystal Palace of the Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park London comes to mind immediately. While your project is masonry, Sky lights in this style would be a good use of iron work in the project. "Iron" balconies overlooking 2 story spaces, circular stairways. While not directly related, stained glass and the tracery that goes with it can go well with iron. You can do glass of blacksmithing vs religion...


When I went to college I used to roam the city of Philadelphia with a camera and take photographs of old iron and brickwork throughout the city. Brick and stone masonry as well as old iron work is still a passion of mine.  I used to often keep any number of these pictures tacked to the wall of my work space for inspiration. The Profs loved it when you had stuff like this for inspiration especially when doing critiques. Show where you got your ideas. Books and the internet are great, but real world personal images often show a deeper interest in the subject. I still have binders full of these picts as well as a whole slew of books on the iron age for details and reference. While I'm on the subject of examples, Having a a few hand wrought items on hand for inspiration wouldn't hurt either. Riveted brackets, forged hinges... If you want to look at some really impressive forged architectural items take a look at this thread 



Note that all the stuff forged in there is all done in Monel. not iron/steel. Iron isn't the only medium of the smith.



One of the big things they used to love was the "parti" or over lieing idea of the project. Some guys would read this literally and for a blacksmith, say make a house like an anvil... That's a very crude way to do things. One of my projects had to do with lab space. they wouldn't tell you what was being done in this space, only that it might change ( mostly to keep people from getting locked into one task and build around that). My idea was a space that was that my lab space was designed to be able to be retrofitted as needed.  One other student ripped me because he said I should have been an interior designer instead... His idea was the building was "ever changing". As such he had the walls constantly changing in plan and elevation. The design would have been a nightmare to build as all the furniture would have had to have been individually designed for each room and would on;ly fit in one space. Also there would be no two pieces of anything the same in the building... Funny thing was one of the guest crits for our mid term suddenly saw not only how impractical the design was, but that to make his drawings look so pretty, he'd drawn all the labs with sloped floors! After marking up all his drawings showing how he'd impose a rigid structure on the design for practicality and showing how the ramped idea in the design wouldn't work once you leveled out the labs, he wanders around the room looking at projects muttering that he'd seen the perfect project for his ever changing idea earlier. Sure enough he stops at mine and points out all the things that other student had talked about in my project and suggested if he wanted to do that parti design, he talk to me so I could help him understand his project better. LOL :lol:



Think about how you can work blacksmithing into the project besides the obvious ones. I won't make any suggestions that I can think of right now. I want you to work on it yourself. There's nothing wrong with the practical side of things, but it shows a better understanding when you can look deeper into the project.





Edit: Oh and Glen. Thanks ever so much for the auto save feature as I'd just about finished all this when the stupid computer decided to shut down and reboot for updates! ( grumble)

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Many times extraction of heat from a forge or a forge chimney is counter productive. You must waste some heat in order to make the chimney draw smoke from the room. The chimney will then draw both hot air, smoke and room temperature air. The make up air will come from the outside. The fire from the forge (solid fuel) may not be enough to heat that make up air and the room will cool down overall.


I have actually extracted so much heat from the chimney of a wood burning stove that the chimney did not draw properly. This caused the room temperature to rise but the fire not to burn properly.  Vent some of the heat and you can reach a balance point. That balance point moves during the life of the fire. For instance, at start up you need to vent more heat to get the fire up to operation temperature and get rid of the start up smoke. Once up to operating temperature there is little smoke but you still need to get rid of the combustion gases. Toward the end of the fire the combustion gases are less but you still need to get rid of what is being produced. You can design heat extraction to operate within these guidelines. Heat storage will moderate the room temperatures.


Look into some of the old Russian and Roman heating systems using a fireplace. Lots of mass heated up during the day to carry over into the night. Also look into the super efficient wood stove designs available today. Most are just improved combustion designs for the stove. 


Look into the *modern* was to make a house fuel efficient such as super insulated structures, solar heat gain during the winter with overhangs to shade during the summer. Look at building underground, earth tubes, heated floors, light piping instead of sky lights, and reuse and extraction of heat from house water. You can chase this until you encounter the diminishing return or run out of money for the project.


My suggestion is to separate the work are from the living area. There is way too much dirt produced in a forge area to make the wife happy.

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Think about it "all that heat" is generally a small concentrated area.  I am amused at people telling me how nice it must be to be by a forge in winter.  I point out that if I spend the summer with my "wedding tackle" half a meter from the fire with no bad effects why would my feet be warm in the winter.


In the UK you will probably be using coke forges.  The forge area can often be quite small but the associated workshop may need to be quite large and have power points for welders, drill presses, grinders, etc---these should be outdoor types with covers to prevent metal dust from getting in them.  A layout area is a must for doing large work like railings and gates.  Jib cranes also help large work access from a street for trucks delivering supplies and removing product should be taken in account and the "business" will need a office with computers, drafting equipment and books!  A separate area for finishing is also a good idea so that the smithy dust is not a problem with painting/oiling/???  A bathroom with shower is a nice idea located between the office and the house so you can change and not track in grime.  The office also acts as a sound barrier.  Good northern light is important in the office as well as the smithy; but you may not want windows low if you will be doing arc welding and people passing by might look in.  Look into the flow of work---from materials entering and being stored to prepping to forging to layout assembling to finishing to shipping.


*many* old smithys are not set up very well to run a modern business---even a craft business!

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Will do! thanks again guys! :D I've got to do 7 different schemes for Thursday so I'll post some ideas when I'm done! I'm doing a fair bit of sketchup so if I can get some nice printscreens I will - not worth rendering at this stage.


Is about 4m (roughly 13ft) a good enough height for when you guys said high roof?


Floorspace I've set aside for the whole smithy building/room of the house is just under 9mx6m (about 29 1/2 ft by 19ft) so hopefully its a decent size for a home smithy (thats an average between the schemes some are smaller or bigger)


I was wondering whether it would be a good idea to use darker bricks like blue or black ones rather than the obvious red bricks so the discolouring from the soot and stuff is less obvious

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Walls shouldn't get really sooty if you know how to run a coal forge and your hood and ventilation is good. I've personally always liked the use of colored brick or changing coursing ( running bond to soldier or sailor course, diagonal laid brick etc) for it's esthetic appeal. I'm a huge fan of decorative brick and stone myself. It can be used to differentiate areas, cause separation of space, help accentuate heights... Same goes for decorative floor patterns.


Height is fair. I'm 5'11 and with my arm raised, I can just touch 8', add a 12 or 14 inch hammer to that and there's still room for lights if they are close to the ceiling etc. However 13' is borderline if you need to have a gantry for lifting heavy objects. My "shop" has rafters that run across at 14' and I never have any issues with height forging, However it's boderline if I'm lifting a  large heavy piece of equipment with the forklift. Height can be "increased" if you do a cathedral ceiling vs flat, yet still keep the scale down if need be.  Vaulted arches or a ribbed dome would be awesome and go well with masonry!


One thing, my shop has is that it's 2 story on 1/2 and open in the main area. second portion is split into 1st and 2nd floors. Lower section on the 1st floor is tool storage. upper section on the 2nd floor is material storage for wood etc and light storage. If your space is already 14', going to 16' so you can add a balcony to over look the area and have 2 story space on one side might make sense. While not "practical" for the home user,  being able to look out over a working shop is nice for guys who do demos ( brownie points from critics for thinking about others watching someone work) Also the balcony is a good area to use wrought brackets for support etc and blend the two ideas together. Main area of the house like the living room may over look the shop space possibly. In my shop the whole 2nd floor facing the main shop is open so I can easily load materials up there with the lift or pass stuff down as needed. It's also got an area that is open to the outside so we could load direct if need be, but we seldom use that the way we use the shop. 1st floor also has direct exterior access and that gets used constantly. 1st floor access to the main shop is one largish open area at the front. Rest is closed off for shelving and storage.



Shop size is NEVER big enough, ,no matter how big you build it. LOL Thinking about expansion is always good and shows you understand that the needs may grow over time. Someone who thinks about this when something is designed in advance is much better than when you just have to tack something on later.


 My 2 story open shop area is about 25' x 30' and it doesn't hold all my toys.  Your size would be tight if I put all my stuff in there and I'm not heavily equipped. One small mill/ drill,  bench grinder, small table top belt/disk sander, Small drill press, one small horizontal bandsaw,  abrasive saw, work table ( my big one is 12' long 3' wide 1 1/2" thick with an 8" vise on one end and I'd love to be able to get it inside the shop.  That however would eat huge amounts of space in my open area. One oxy acetylene set ( I have 3 but only keep 1 in the shop), My welders, 2'x3' space for my tig, 2'x3' roughly for my mig,  A couple of smaller welders that can get stored easily on the shelf. add the small 2'x4' "welding table.  Tool boxes and part bins for bolts and such... Place to park the fork lift  We still have the post vise, forge and anvil to deal with.


Figure stock comes in 20' lengths, so set aside one 20'+' wall for a material rack 12" wide minimum. Right now mine in in the lower  section of the storage area separate from the main shop.


I will admit shops can be a lot smaller than what I have. Your size isn't bad, but do a layout of planned areas and see if what you plan to include works with the space you have allowed. Don't forget to leave walking space between items and room to move things around if need be.




On a side note, do yourself a favor and get some time out in the field if possible on summer break, even if it's working as a laborer in construction. That will give you some real world understanding of how things go together and what does or does not work, Later do the same thing in an office  with plans etc. I worked my way thru college doing construction and I often was told by instructors "that's not how it's done in the field" when that's exactly what I was doing daily. I do regret not getting an office job and doing more on that side, but I was young and making way more money swinging a hammer than kids I went to school with who were in an office. I will say one thing, a lot of guys I went to school with are out of work in Architecture right now. However all the guys I knew who did construction PT in school while studying, have all had skills to fall back on when times got tough and are still employed, even if it's not exactly what they wanted to do. Also several have managed to play their field work into management positions running jobs as well as designing them. Some schools will help you set up summer work in your field, and some even offer credits for doing so. If so it's well worth the effort.


Good luck.

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Height depends so much on what you are doing: for bladesmithing 10' is more than enough; for ornamental iron where you may be swinging a 6 meter stick of steel vertically off a work table 13' may be shy.  On the other hand how often you do that and if you can rotate the form 90 deg so you sweep it horizontally may be an option...


I extremely doubt you would be using coal, coke and propane are much more likely in the UK; so no smoke.  And you do need light in a smithy  using indirect natural light helps the bottom line.  I live in New Mexico. USA, at about 5000' elevation and built a about a 6mx10m forge extension.  I used translucent fiberglass panels as part of the roof and spaced them at the far end of the shop from the forge.  I also have open gables and get sufficient light for working in the day time.

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Thinking about a "home shop" I would be inclined to think this isn't a big operation.  While you can have a commercial operation on the same property as your house in a lot of locales, the two really need a good bit of separation because of the noise and traffic considerations.

Were this some ol' timey set up, I would still go with a smaller shop set up a few feet from the house.  A power hammer running at night is going to xxxx off the missus who's trying to watch the television, and that's never good.

Ceiling?  Again, all depends on what you as the architect are trying to portray.  It would be really nice for something like this old italian smithy, but is that feasible?  



Leave it like it is and you have my dream hobby shop.  Scale it down a bit and you'd still have something decently sized for most any commercial needs.

Note, though, that they built with what they had and might have even commandeered an existing building.  Those beautiful stone walls would be very expensive to lay up today, and that vaulted ceiling, while dreamy, is a bit high even for a smithy.

Trying to duplicate that look, however, adds cost to the project.  A simple brick building is cheap and fast to build.  The more "art" you add to it, the more you drive up the price.  Are you trying to come up with a shop that might be commissioned by a wealthy guy about to retire and looking for somewhere neat to tinker in?  Or, are you looking to create a shop that the average guy could afford?

I really like the look of the Tim Kris museum in Brasstown NC, but all that awesome timberframe work comes at a price I certainly can't afford.  

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Vaughn, in most early design classes in schools I went to for architecture, in the beginning things like practicality and cost were sort of ignored. In fact it wasn't until about my 4th year that those issues started to become "important". Design freedom and the ability to express yourself was usually rated higher the earlier in the program you were.


They are looking to see can you incorporate ideas of the client into the design. They are looking to see if he can come up with an overlying idea the incorporates the clients idea into the project. To be crude, the "parti" might be the anvil. So the building in plan takes on the form in plan of the anvil. You might have a broad flat area that is the face of the anvil and working surface that you use as the shop area.  This might be a large blocky area that is open and might have large windows on the "face" looking out. The foot of the anvil becomes the support functions of the shop, storage, other metal working ares like the machine shop, delivery entrance, loading bay, etc. The "horn" or "heel" might be given over to another separate  working area...  The horn space might take on a curved roof of glass to mimic the shape of the horn and to separate the spaces from the main work in the "face". This might be used for living quarters possibly. If he went with a "church window" anvil, you almost have to use Gothic arches in the project for your exterior windows. Since you are doing an anvil, your material might be steel for the exterior surface,


Other pati ideas might revolve around the forge as the center of the shop. The forge is like the hearth in an older home where functions critical to life revolve around the hearth since the hearth was used not only for cooking and light, but heating, so the masonry mass of the chimney was wrapped by the structure to take advantage of that warmth as well as to practically make use of a common stack chimney in many cases. Today the same is also done for practicality around plumbing drain stacks for water. In the design this might take the form of the shop being central in the plan with everything else wrapping the "forge", even if "pesky things like noise etc cause other practical issues. The "light" idea of the hearth might take the form of a center skylight in the main section that allows light to come into other areas of the building thru the "forge" area.



I think they are also looking to have him work with the limits of a material as well. In this case with masonry, I assume they are looking  to see if he's "true" to the material he's working with since he's doing masonry. As mentioned square openings in masonry are not done on average. To do a square opening you usually use steel behind the brick for support, or you are using engineered concrete lintels with steel rebar inside to take the tensile loads since masonry is a compressive product. Thus arches, either Romanesque or Gothic where the masonry is only in compression. Small Romanesque vaults might be used for small areas, Large Gothic ribbed domes would allow for more light and the ability to span large spaces.


I used to have a lot of issues with some of this since I was a lot more practically grounded than most of the students, because I was a bit older and was working for a living when I went back to finish my degree and graduate. In fact even as late as my 4th year  design class I was getting pushed away  from practicality and more towards whimsy and a more free and open design. Every one else is getting pushed to allow for "pesky" stuff like HVAC, pipes, storage etc while I was working on a building that folded up and disappeared into the landscape. My instructor had to get up and give special instructions to the critics when it came to my project because it was so different than everyone elses... I still managed to make the steel and alum model I made actually fold to show how the concept would function, and made it work even if it would have been an engineering nightmare. It at least showed the people doing the crit that I did understand the practical world as well as the design ideas.

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Oh, well if it's simply a matter of exploring the use of masonry, the sky's the limit!  There are so many shapes, sizes and colors of bricks that you can do virtually anything.  I once saw a wall of standard brick (twas in a masonry museum) where each brick was laid up raw and dry.  Then the "artist" went around with various powdered pigments and painted a mural.  Each brick was then taken down, numbered, fired and replaced.  Even the mortar between the bricks was colored to blend.


By the time they were done, they had a perfect mural that would never fade.  Much like painting wet plaster, the fired bricks were permanently shaded.  It was spectacular.


Were it I, I would draw heavily from the Arts and Crafts movement, with special attention paid to the work of the Greene brothers.  How they used the various materials showed true mastery of design without ever crossing that line into what I call "just plain stupid" architecture like we see today.


Being a blacksmith, you almost have to draw from that period, or the Art Nouveau school, or the more fantastical designs you see in Lord of the Rings and such (which actually draw their inspiration from Art Nouveau).  The entire house would need to incorporate not just the work of the smith, but also the ideal that the smith worked towards.  Graceful tapers, delicate curves, sinuous lines, hard corners, sweeping contrasts......  There are a thousand and one variations that you could go through.  It's the little details that set commonplace apart from awe-inspiring.


Blue bricks make a great background that highlights the carved stone around it.



The red bricks of Chapel Goer mix lovingly with aged wood and hard-worked iron to create a portal to another realm.   I could only wish that the door to my shop was so wondrous!




If it's 'money no object', I'd have a field day with the design.

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 The entire house would need to incorporate not just the work of the smith, but also the ideal that the smith worked towards.  Graceful tapers, delicate curves, sinuous lines, hard corners, sweeping contrasts......  There are a thousand and one variations that you could go through.  It's the little details that set commonplace apart from awe-inspiring.





That's exactly what many of my Profs were looking for. Well stated.


In many cases I understand that instinctively, but putting it to words for explanation was something I some times had issues with. They would want to know what that "ideal" the smith is working towards and how you plan to incorporate it into your work.





If it's 'money no object', I'd have a field day with the design.


That was almost always the case with our projects right up until almost to the end. If you wanted to do the whole house in gold leaf, AND had a good reason for it ( besides just being extravagant, and maybe even that would be a good reason if that was the client) it was acceptable. The WHY was the important part. The farthjer along we went, the more "reality" they wanted to inject into the program, but there were still a few "specialty" design classes that would take on projects for design competitions where reality often took a back seat to "art".






Were it I, I would draw heavily from the Arts and Crafts movement, with special attention paid to the work of the Greene brothers.  How they used the various materials showed true mastery of design without ever crossing that line into what I call "just plain stupid" architecture like we see today.


Being a blacksmith, you almost have to draw from that period, or the Art Nouveau school, or the more fantastical designs you see in Lord of the Rings and such (which actually draw their inspiration from Art Nouveau). 


That and the day to day architecture of the industrial revolution as the new materials of iron and steel were just started to become available and used. Much of the ornamentation of the time was a carry over from previous periods applied to iron and steel, but even in the day to day "plain" work, they tended to be of the ethic that you could make beautiful utilitarian pieces. Much of that though is somewhat geared towards using steel and iron structurally vs masonry. Though this is also the age where masonry had a large "revival" due to the fears of fire in cities.



The Arts and Craft movement being a reaction to much of the industrial revolution and it's machine made cookie cutter work as things became simpler and simpler as time went on. I yearning back towards the days of the old craftsmen and masters, much of what we see today with the smith again.

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Might give a thought to "steam punk"  and the ornate late victorian industrial look as well.


The reaction to the soulless machine made items also gave us the "leaving the tooling marks in after about 2000+ years of smiths trying to remove/hide them.   (and not only in smithing: after thousands and thousands of years trying to spin a perfect a yarn as possible the A&C movement decided that slubby yarns showed the human touch---drives my wife crazy)

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I think the 'steam punk' thing is great for showcasing how brass, iron and copper can work together.  And when they actually turn a modern-day product like a computer into something that looks victorian but still works, well, that's pretty awesome!



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I think steampunk stuff looks great, but it's all useless applied ornamentation. The same stuff that the "Modern" art movement in architecture moved away from with architects like Mies, Corbusier, and others where form needed to follow function. Steampunk type stuff may almost automatically prejudice you against critics who are "old school".


Newer Architects like Frank Gehry moved more towards using and experimenting with shapes and textures and away from the more severe lines of Modern movement.. I like to think of a bunch of this as "scarp" architecture since many of the buildings used corrugated iron with natural rust finishes and other parts. Not my personal favorite in architecture, so I'm not as up on many of those past what I was required to memorize years ago to get thru my architectural history classes. Also they wre just starting to become popular at the time, so weren't covered in great deal.


I always had an interest in Victorian era architecture, the works of heavy masonry architects like Sullivan and Frank Furness, the mid early and mid career works of Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as the arts and crafts, Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles.



A few of my favorite Furness Locations the Academy of the Fine arts on Broad St In Philly, and the Fine Arts Library at University of Pennsylvania.


Probably my favorite stair of all time has to be the iron multi story stair in the U of P Library  I love the way the railing changes patterns on each level all done out of forged iron. His use of multi colored brick and stone on the Academy of the fine Arts is probably one of my favorite brick buildings along with the brick exterior of the U of P library. I love the heavy squat "crushed" columns he uses quite often in his work as shown in the Academy picts.



Academy of the Fine arts on Broad St In Philly










Fine Arts Library at University of Pennsylvania.

















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There's just nothing to hate about a design like that, D!


I firmly believe that the psychological damage caused by modern architecture's bland facades and sterile atmospheres has been behind a lot of the general degradation we see in society.  Yes, it's cheaper/easier/faster to put up, but you'll never convince me that a bleak hospital-like room doesn't leach the soul out of people.


You often hear self-help coaches tell people to surround themselves with positive, successful people.  Why?  Because the atmosphere is contagious.  And if that's contagious, how can the office/house your always in not have an impact?

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