I teach architectural design and technology at Iowa State University.  I’m currently working on a book that examines structural, environmental, and material developments in Chicago skyscraper construction between 1870 and 1935.  “Architecturefarm” is my attempt at an open journal, to keep track of ideas for the book and for teaching as they arise, and to air them out semi-publicly.

And the name?  Well, it’s Iowa, right?  And we’re growing architects?

12 thoughts on “architecturefarm?

  1. Tom,
    Thanks very much for the talk at AIA Chicago last night.
    At the discussion, the issue of standards of ventilation came up.
    I looked up something.
    ASHVE–American Society of Heating and Ventilation Engineers–was the predecessor of AHRAE (whose standard 52.1 is the current standard for ventilation in many US codes). In their journal around ’36, they did publish articles on a Ventilation Standard, but I don’t know what it was or whether it had the status of law or code in any jurisdiction. ASHVE was founded earlier–I believe in the 1880’s or so, and I recall seeing a chart of standard ventilation levels evolution, but I don’t recall where. I think without a standard for how ventilation is measured a standard would be difficult to achieve, or even conceive. I suspect that is why some building standards and customs (European? Korean?) require windows adjacent to all workstations and all apartments to have cross-ventilation.
    Another avenue of inquiry, about which you may already be aware: the architectural historian Reyner Banham published a book _The Architecture Well-Tempered Environment_ on this history of ventilation. He did this with a grant from the Graham Foundation. I read it several years ago, and I recall it speaking more to heating technologies than ventilation.
    Rick Lightburn


  2. Tom,
    Enjoy your blog very much, especially the old Chicago skyscraper feature. Quick question: when can we expect the book on Chicago skyscraper construction to come out?


  3. Dr. Leslie – thanks for your talk at CAF this afternoon. Very enjoyable and interesting. You referenced the Old Colony building and touched on its recent cleaning and I said I had some photos of it. I looked at them, for the first time in several months, they are not bad, if you would like to see them, I would be pleased to e-mail them to you. Your forthcoming book looks excellent and I cannot imagine any CAF docent not wanting to read it. I hope it will be for sale at the CAF shop.

    Thank you. I look forward to reviewing your blog entries.


    • Thanks, Gabe! The photos sound great–I’d appreciate having any you were willing to share. Good to meet you this weekend, and–of course–I hope you’re right about the CAF docents’ enthusiasm when the book comes out. Hope to catch up with you at future events…


      • What a great blog this is! Um…is there a place for me to upload or otherwise share files with you (pictures)? If so, I don’t where to find it…I do believe that you and the people who read your blog would enjoy the photos.


      • Hi, Gabe,
        I don’t think WordPress allows that, but if you can e-mail me a zip file I’ll post them manually–…


  4. ROMA ARCHEOLOGIA e RESTAURO ARCHITETTURA: Prof. James E. Packer, Il Foro di Traiano. Breve studio dei monumenti | Prof. Packer, una lezione affascinante in inglese sul Foro di Traiano Roma (10|2013). [ENGLISH] VIDEO YOUTUBE [1:00:13].

    – Prof. Packer lectures students in the Forum of Trajan and the Forum of Caesar (Oct. 2013), also with PDF documentation of Packer’s research in Trajan’s Forum (1997 thru 2013)


    • Yes! Larsen more or less repeats the standard story of Chicago architecture in the 1890s, which I think is a bit too simple. But I definitely enjoyed the book, and he did a great job of conveying what it must have been like to help build the Exposition…


  5. I bought a book recommended in this forum, “Chicago Skyscrapers 1871 – 1934” by Thomas Leslie. Thank you for that suggestion.


  6. Hi! Do you by any chance still have the 3d model of Nervi’s hangars?…aaand would you be open to share those (i guess) Sketchup files with me?

    I’m from Argentina, currently studying architecture at FAPyD | UNR and it would be of great help for me and my classmate to have a 3d model of that structure: we have break it down to its core elements and show (roughly) how each of them work.

    I hope you read this soon (deadline is on september 26 :0)



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