A Fire Proof Building

A Fire Proof Building

The Schiller Theatre, a skyscraper, sixteen stories in front and twelve in the body and rear, and in insurance parlance a combination hazard, as it contained a theatre, restaurants, stores, club rooms and offices, is an example of the steel skeleton school of fireproof structures. The integrity of this structure being maintained by a steel framework, the exterior of which is covered with hollow tile in imitation of stone work, served the dual role of protecting the metal structures from the damaging leverage incident to applied heat, and also acted as “mere curtains to screen the various apartments from vulgar gaze,” or in other words, they formed the ostensible outer walls of the building, but contributed nothing in strength towards the maintenance of the structure. The architect’s definition of a fireproof building is, one so constructed that a fire within its own walls, fed by its modicum of combustible material found in its doors, sash, copetrimmings, etc., and also from its required furniture and other usual contents, will burn out without materially injuring the stability of its structural scheme. Right here, it would be interesting to know where architects obtain the rules, and upon what known principle they are based, by which they can correctly gauge the positive effects of the units of heat contained within this modicum of combustible material, in case of its combustion. It seems to be based on some assumed theory, or is it founded on acquired facts? In the Schiller case, all the architects interviewed maintained that the fire wholly within the same (and unassisted by the external heat from the adjoining fire) would have burned out without injury to the integrity of its structure. Whereas, the expert fire insurance men, with but one exception, and the fire chiefs, maintain exactly the reverse. _

Chief Stockell, Nashville.
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