|The Liberty Bridge in Budapest, Hungary, 1896|
By Daniel Fischermann
Cast-iron architecture is a style where cast iron is used as a major component of either the structure or the facade of buildings or other structures such as bridges, lamps, gates, cranes and more. Cast-iron architecture is barely an actual style and some might say that cast-iron architecture is not a style at all but just a way of using the technology. Cast iron usage made it possible to create an architectural expression that was not possible before. Windows could fill much more of the façade, and buildings could have a lighter and more elegant expression as cast iron made the buildings stronger. It has been used in buildings and other structures as part of the decoration, ornamentation, as entire facades and as bearing elements during the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The usage of cast iron was replaced by steel during the beginning of the 20th century, and so the golden age of cast iron architecture was very brief.
Cast iron was used in both commercial buildings and private residences for many reasons.
- Cast Iron was an inexpensive way to reproduce ornate facades
- Grand architecture symbolic and ornamentation became affordable
- Thought to be a fireproof (it wasn't)
- Allowed a more open floor plan design, with space to accommodate larger windows for shops and apartments
- Elaborate facades could be mass produced rapidly
- Prefabrication enabled portability—entire buildings could be constructed in one place and shipped all over the world.
- Cast iron molds could be reused, allowing for the development of architectural catalogs of module patterns that could be optioned to prospective clients
- Easy repair of broken or weathered components, if the mold still existed
The Famous SoHo Cast-Iron Buildings
|Cast Iron Facades in SoHo New York|
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.
What is Cast Iron?
Casting Iron is a way of processing iron. Cast iron is an alloy of the elements iron, carbon and silicon that is formed into shapes by pouring the molten metal into a mold. Liquid iron is cast into a mold and formed. Cast iron is iron with a high content of c
The melting point at around 1.100 °C is also about 300-400 °C lower than the melting point for iron. This and the fact that the material is brittle, made steel more popular in time.
|Cast iron and Copper facade from Copenhagen, the building is called "Løvenborg" (Lion's Castle) from 1906|