adieu, Montréal, il a été vrai

I’m packing up and heading south today, after a brilliant month burrowing through the Canadian Centre for Architecture’s archives.  My trip here was ostensibly to review their staggering collection of Monadnock Block drawings–something like 450 sheets–but I also had time to scout their library and to just sit and write.  The CCA acquired the Franklin Institute’s collection of trade catalogues some years ago, and there are some real gems related to 19th and early 20th century building–including some pamphlets on plate glass that I’d never seen, and handbooks from Carnegie Steel and P. B. Wight’s early fireproofing company.

I think I’ve got a good bead on the Monadnock now, something that’s been puzzling me for a year or so.  I’ll eventually post some stuff on it, but for now I’ll just say that its structural behavior is a lot more complex than that of a simple masonry building–in pretty interesting ways.

Perhaps most importantly, I’ve completed the draft of the manuscript–three years and nine months after starting it, according to Word.  It’s about 10,000 words too long, and it needs a year or so of editing and illustration prep, but I’ll count this as a small milestone.

Many thanks to all at the CCA.  Their summer program is extraordinary, sort of a summer camp for researchers, and my mind has been pretty well blown by some of the seminars and lectures they’ve put on.  Highly recommended as both a good opportunity to get some serious work done, and as an utterly inspiring place to think, learn, and write about architecture.

I’m off to San Francisco for a wedding, then back to Chicago for a troll through the CHM’s drawing archive.  Classes start in sixteen days, and we’re frantically putting together studio and the new undergrad SCI-TECH course.

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