BUILDING A HOUSE - RESPECTING ART AND HOW THEY WERE MODIFIED.
"Before resuming our pencil,"said Eugene, as soon as they were seated once more in his study,"you must know how you are going to proceed. We have sketched the ground plans. We know that they can be realized, that the construction will present no special difficulties; that the partition walls of the upper stories stand vertically on those of the lower ones; that the bearings of the floors are reasonable, and that the openings are conveniently placed.
That is satisfactory so far But now, do you realize these plans in elevation? That is, can you fancy the house as standing, with its stories, its roofing, its windows, &c.?"" Well, I can't say I do." "You must then first picture the building to yourself as if it actually existed.... I know that this is hardly possible for you, since there are many architects who are as far off as you from being able to do so when they have drawn horizontal plans on paper, and who in drawing these plans do not see the building for which they are designed. Reflect a little; examine their outlines well, and endeavour to give them in elevation some definite form in your mind's eye before making use of the pencil.... Take your time. I have a letter to write, and some accounts to attend to; so while I am engaged, try to give me the elevation of one of the fronts of the house, - the entrance-front, for example, on the north side, - and we will discuss your design. I only give you one piece of advice, - that is, to put nothing upon paper without having previously considered whether your design is appropriate and useful.
"Come, try your best; and don't forget the scale of proportions." Paul was much embarrassed, and found the work by no means easy. The ideas which had suggested themselves in abundance at his first attempt were not forthcoming now. However, at the end of a good hour and a half he presented a sketch to his cousin.
"It might be worse,"said Eugene."You have given the ground floor i 5 feet from floor to floor, - that was about what we said; but why the same height for the first floor? The rooms are smaller, and more airy; there is therefore no need to give an equal height to this story, and 13 feet 6 inches would be quite enough. And why put round arched windows on the ground floor? Arched windows are difficult to fit with casements, and there is a difficulty with shutters, jalousies, or outside blinds. Again, the windows of your principal staircase do not ramp with the stairs, and would be cut in the middle by it; which would prevent their being opened, and expose them to danger from the feet in ascending or descending. In the next place, your stair turret does not rise above the cornice, and would not enable you to enter the attics. And so with the
servants' staircase. Your roofs are double pitched; that is, with two angles of inclination. That is not quite the thing for this district. The roofs should be simply triangular, and without hips, which are difficult to keep in repair. Gables are preferable. You have marked quoins of stone at the angles. I see no harm in that; but how would you form your window reveals thus enframed by a kind of pilaster? None of your chimney-stacks rise above your roof; yet you are aware that they usually show. Your attic windows are too low, and you would run your head against the top in looking out of them. The lintels of these dormer windows must be at least 6 feet 6 inches above the floor. And why make your dormer windows oval? It is a very inconvenient shape, and they are difficult to open and shut. You have drawn the en trance flight of steps in perspective, as the Chinese do.... but that is a trifle. What will you build your walls with? Masonry, rubble-work, masonry and rubble mingled, or stone and bricks? "Let us study this together. When you draw a horizontal or ground plan, independently of the arrangements, you have to consider how your buildings shall be covered in. For the most important question in a building is that of the manner of roofing it, as every building intended for internal use is a shelter. That is unquestionable, is it not? Well, then, in your building, the plans of which you have now before you, what is observable in the general form of the main block? Two parallelograms intersecting - so (Fig. 3). One parallelogram, a b c d, intersected by another, e f gh. We do not now take into account the bay windows and staircases. If then we raise gables upon the walls, a c, b d, with a length of slope equal to the line a c, we shall have two equilateral triangles whose bases will be a c and b d, and the angles of inclination 6o°, which is the most suitable pitch for slating, inasmuch as it gives no hold to the snow or opportunity for mischief to the wind. If in like manner we erect upon the walls e f git two gables having a similar inclination, these walls being less in length than those marked a b cd, the triangles will be smaller and their summits less elevated than the first. Consequently the roof raised upon the smaller parallelo gram will penetrate that raised upon the larger, and will form by its penetration internal angles which we call valleys; I draw these valleys i k, k sn n, sn o. The inclina tion of the two roofs being equal, these valleys will, in plan, divide the right angle into two equal angles : you know enough of geometry to understand that.