|Cast Iron Facades in SoHo, New York|
By Daniel Fischermann
SoHo was an industrialized area from the end of the 19th century. The name "SoHo" refers to the area being located South of Houston street. The name was coined in 1962 by Chester Rapkin.
SoHo is known for its many cast-iron buildings located in the SoHo Cast-Iron Historic District. With aproximatly 250 cast-iron buildings, the area has the greatest number of cast-iron buildings of any district in the world.
The ornamentation, columns and arches of the cast-iron buildings are similar in there shape to the concrete, brick or stone ornamentation that was used elsewhere around 1900. The cast iron buildings however could be slimmer, taller, with larger windows and more elegant because of the strength that the iron offered.
During the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century many thought cast iron was structurally more sound than steel and fire-resistant. However this was not the case. If cast iron is exposed to heat from a fire it will buckle and it will crack under the cold water applied for extinguishing the fire.
A large section of SoHo is a historic district. This means it is a designated area according to the Landmark Preservation Commission and building are being preserved. The district got its status in 1973, and the status was extended in 2010.