Cast-Iron Architecture: Its History and Future

Program Credit: 1 Hour - 1.0 AIA/CES Learning Units
Delivery: Video Presentation
Cost: None. This course is available through 
Credit(s) earned on completion of this course will be reported to AIA CES for AIA members. Certificates of Completion for both AIA members and non-AIA members are available upon request.

Learning Objective

Tracing the history of cast iron as a building material, this CEU also showcases the rich history of CornellCookson as an American family business that played a significant role in developing the early New York City skyline.

The tour and CEU guide participants through several surviving cast-iron structures in SoHo and the Financial District, including the original New York Times Building, the newly renovated Beekman Hotel and 15 Park Row, which was at one time the world's tallest building.

The tour is led by Katharine Cornell Gorka, author of Cornell Iron Works: The History of an Enduring Family Business and an expert on the unique role CornellCookson played in New York City's architectural renaissance of the late 19th century.

Participants of this course will:

  • Learn about cast-iron architecture's origins in the Industrial Revolution as a practical building technology that allowed a diversity of shapes and designs to be cast, resulting in elaborate ornamental facades.
  • Learn about cast-iron architecture's impact on the scale and streetscapes of New York City.
  • Learn about the architectural advantages and weaknesses of cast-iron, compared to steel and other materials and construction systems.
  • See surviving examples of cast-iron architecture and how contemporary architects and engineers are preserving and adapting the structures for new and future uses.