With its ornate pressed terra-cotta and brick facade and a steel skeleton,
this structure exemplifies the transition from cast-iron
commercial buildings to a new generation of tall office buildings in
New York City. Replacing cast iron as the material of
in the late 1890s, terra-cotta had the advantage of providing both
weather protection and fireproofing for steel skeleton
frame structures. Additionally, like cast iron, terra-cotta could be
formed into a wide
range of ornamental details that could be produced easily and
inexpensively in great quantity.
Highly susceptible to petrochemical pollution, terra-cotta was eventually
phased out in favor of more durable stone and metal cladding systems.