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Much reinforced concrete work has been executed during the last few years, and the average practitioner is frequently brought up against the problem of evidences of presumed deterioration or assumed faulty details of design or workmanship that time or wear and tear apparently brings forth. Structures that, when built, embodied generally the best of design and the skilled attention of the best workmanship, are frequently found bearing traces of incipient dilapidation or the marks of a fatigue that on the face of it seem neither to have been anticipated nor provided against. Excluding the possibilities of damage by shock or percussion, one finds here and there a seaside pier whose concrete deck has stood well for years, whilst the beams underneath have in many places "peeled" from the tension rods and laid them bare. Again, a crane-road beam, obviously heavy enough for its duty, is in a similar condition. In another case, a short series of heavy floor beams were installed that should have been 15 ins. deep, but were put in at 12 ins. owing to exigencies for head-room, and they stood, and are still standing. They were given "plenty of steel."
THE problem of the creation of a new style born of modern structural methods will never be solved until we make a detailed analysis of the junctions between the members which constitute the framework, the skeleton, as it were, of a twentieth century building. It is here that the principal scope for novelty of expression really lies, but, strange as it may appear, it is in these very junctions of constructional members that modern methods of building fail most conspicuously to express with elegance or even with clarity the nature of the stresses and strains to which such members are exposed. This ugliness, this crudeness shown in the entire lack of ceremony in the act of construction is due to the invention of rivets. These bits of steel, so devoid of every sculptural grace, undistinguished in their uniformity, carry upon their little shoulders a preponderant part of the burden of modern construction. We all know the method of their employment. Girders of various sections are joined together by plates or by angle irons, and it scarcely matters what is the nature of the strain to be countered, the appearance of the plates is just the same, for the rivets are equally capable of resisting transverse stresses in all directions. Figures XXI A, B and C illustrate three common ways of using steel girders. Example A shows the modern solution of the identical problem which in other times stimulated great artists to invent the noble forms of the Classic Order. Lintol and column-here the junction of these two elements is accomplished after the modes and manners of the twentieth century!
A. Trystan Edwards