Palaces for the People: MAR 26 - SEP 7, 2014
Discover the Guastavinos' contribution to some of America's greatest public spaces.
Throughout the five boroughs are more than 200 long-overlooked marvels of engineering and architectural beauty—the interlocking tile vaults built by Spanish immigrants Rafael Guastavino, Sr. (1842-1908), and his son, Rafael Jr. (1872-1950). The system of structural tile vaults developed by the Guastavinos—lightweight, fireproof, low-maintenance, and capable of supporting significant loads—was used by leading architects of the day, including McKim, Mead & White and Carrere &Hastings. Ellis Island’s Registry Room, Carnegie Hall, the Bronx Zoo’s Elephant House, and Grand Central Terminal all contain Guastavino vaults.
Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile is a major exhibition exploring the innovations the Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company (1889-1962) brought to the science and art of building. It was originally organized by MIT’s John Ochsendorf, who is a MacArthur Fellow; it is substantially expanded here to include some 20 key Guastavino spaces in the five boroughs.
Exhibition Co-chairs: Paul Katz, FAIA; Jill Lerner, FAIA; Leslie Earl Robertson, P.E.; and SawTeen See, P.E.
Read the press release.
Help us uncover the city’s Guastavino spaces. Exhibition curators Martin Moeller and John Ochsendorf are still trying to find all of the Guastavinos' existing works throughout New York and across the country. They're certain that dozens remain to be discovered. Have you seen one that might be unknown? Upload your photos to the Palaces for the People project website.
You can also tag your photos #Guastavino and include the location when you post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
MIT professor John Ochsendorf, his students, and professional masons discuss Guastavino's construction methods as they build a half-scale replica vault. The timelapse photography shows the construction of the replica vault in the exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York.
WNYC's Leonard Lopate talks with architects Santiago Calatrava and Jill Lerner and MIT Professor John Ochsendorf in the Greene Space about the marvels of engineering and architectural beauty created by Spanish architect Rafael Guastavino Sr. and his son Rafael Jr. throughout New York City’s five boroughs.