Why make a building like this?
April 5, 2013 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Looking at a blog of early colour photos from Paris I found myself wondering why the building in the right foreground of this building appears to expand outward from its base. The blog.

I just found this on Reddit and was fascinated. I have a few theories (more upper floor space, closer access to the doorway from high vehicles) but it somehow seems unexpected given its date and location.
posted by zingzangzung to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
 
I think the reason Tudor homes (which also do the 2nd floor overhang thing) are built the way they are is because property taxes were based on the building footprint. Smaller footprint=lower taxes; overhanging 2nd floor=bigger house.

Something like that'd be my guess as to why.
posted by phunniemee at 1:14 PM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


What phunniemee said, plus it looks like it's next to a building that tilts inward, so the expansion uses space that might have otherwise gone to waste.
posted by Etrigan at 1:21 PM on April 5, 2013


It looks to me like building used to have a square corner but that increased use of that loading dock building behind it created a bottleneck between it and the corner of the building on the left. Maybe they wanted to allow a couple of wagons to pass each other? Since the upper floors weren't blocking traffic, they just chamfered off the bottom corner.

I can image that loading area being incredibly active for a few hours in the early morning if was servicing the vegetable vendors or something.
posted by bonobothegreat at 1:23 PM on April 5, 2013


I think bonobothgreat has the right idea, but they likely just built it that way in the first place. I've seen this situation frequently with multi-story buildings on corner lots.
posted by LionIndex at 1:55 PM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


And, they would do that way in the first place because a square building is just easier to build than one with a chamfered corner.
posted by LionIndex at 1:56 PM on April 5, 2013


I'd say the building itself tells you why it's built that way. Look at all the heavy scratches on it. Look at the way the supporting pillar under the overhang is practically worn away in spots. Freight has been rubbing up against it. Four-wheeled horse-drawn vehicles, in particular, because of the way they steer, do not do sharp corners well. Especially when the teamster has had his daily beer ration.
posted by bricoleur at 2:19 PM on April 5, 2013


In the days of carriages, the corners of a building would often be scraped badly if a wheel came into contact. Sometimes building owners would place stones (known as guardstones) near corners to deflect an oncoming wheel, and other times wrap a corner in an iron plate as a shield. Here they've simply acknowledged that having a loading yard behind a building is asking for trouble, so they've taken the corner off ahead of times. They've most likely kept the corner above so as not to lose floorspace.

Of course, if you look carefully at the doorway on the building you can see the bad wear on the middle post at roughly the same height as a carriage wheel hub.
posted by Jehan at 2:20 PM on April 5, 2013


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