This section is from the book "Modern Buildings, Their Planning, Construction And Equipment Vol6", by G. A. T. Middleton. Also available from Amazon: Modern Buildings.
The same idea of sequence of process is that which has to control an exceptional building such as a large newspaper office, like that now being erected in the Strand for the Morning Post from the designs of Messrs. Mewes & Davis. In an establishment of this sort there are very many conflicting demands upon the architect's skill. There is necessarily on the ground floor a large public office for receiving advertisements, as an entirely distinct establishment from the publishing office, which must also be located there, while the editorial department again has to be accessible to the public from the main entrance. Thus the receipt of matter in the form of advertisements must take place on the ground floor, while the receipt of editorial matter, much of which comes by telephone and telegraph, can be arranged for on another floor, preferably the first floor, while the issue of the papers also takes place on the ground floor. Circulation therefore must be from ground floor to ground floor, and must obviously to a considerable extent be carried on by lifts. On account of the great weight of the printing machines it is preferable that these should be stationed in the basement, to which it is quite easy to convey the necessary paper from the street level, and the finished results can then be lifted in the publishing office for distribution. On the other hand, for sake of light, the compositors ought to be at the top of the building; for whether composing machines be used or the composing done, as it occasionally must be, by the old fashioned composing-stick, the more light that can be obtained for the work the better. As a matter of convenience the foundry-rooms, for making the matrices and casting's from the type for placing upon the actual printing presses, should be close to the composing-rooms, and these also are frequently, as in this case, placed on the top floor. The sequence is consequently from the ground floor (Fig. 167), which contains the advertisement hall and the publishing office, and the first floor (Fig. 168), which is given up to the editorial staff and reporters, to the second and third floors (Fig. 169), which are devoted to offices for members of the staff who do not come into immediate contact with the public, upwards to the fourth and fifth floors (Fig. 170), where the work of composing and casting the type is done, and where also the readers have their rooms, and where a large canteen and bar are in this particular instance provided for the use of the staff. After the type has been approved and cast it is passed down in a large lift to the basement (Fig. 171), where the printing takes place, the finished papers being afterwards passed up again to the publishing office. There is also a sub-basement (Fig. 172) for the engines and motors which drive the presses, and containing also a boiler-house and a room for an artesian well. The general vertical arrangement is shown in the section (Fig. 173). In order to prevent the spread of fire, and to comply with the requirements of the London County Council, it was necessary that the goods lifts should be carried up in an area external to the building, and this has to a considerable extent influenced the plan. There is one great lift passing from basement to top for carrying the heavy matter, while two other lifts of considerable size pass from basement (Fig. 171) to the ground floor (Fig. 167) only, for the supply of the finished papers to the large publishing office. Other small lifts are introduced where occasion demands, in the same area, mainly for "copy," extending so many floors as is necessary. Passenger lifts, being permitted within the building, are introduced in the well of the main staircase at the axial entrance from the Strand, at the junction between Wellington Street and Aldwych, running from the ground floor to the third floor. There is also another, providing communication for the staff from the ground floor to the top of the building, close to the staff entrance from Exeter Street, and reached either by the staff of the publishing office or that of the advertisement hall; though probably the workmen in the composing-rooms would not be allowed to use it, as they have a special staircase provided for them controlled from the timekeeper's office. The composing and clerical staff reach this staircase from Exeter Street. It passes up above that which goes down to the printing office from Wellington Street, round a well enclosed by solid 9-inch walls, in accordance with the usual regulations for warehouse premises.
The strong wall which is shown separating the building on all the floors into two compartments is necessitated by the London Building Act.
The general principles of the plan, with its axial arrangement to each frontage for elevational purposes, hardly need special describing after what has already been said with regard to other buildings. Its main peculiarity lies in the vertical planning, to which attention has already been called, for the purpose of obtaining a proper sequence of operations necessary in the conduct of a large newspaper. The many necessary small conveniences, such as the proper placing of cashier's office and of manager's rooms, have all received attention, while good lighting of all the offices is obtained by ranging them along the external walls, reached by galleries and corridors occupying the centre of the site, and top lighted down an open well from a large lantern in the roof. There are many places where mezzanines have been resorted to in order to economise space and meet the peculiar circumstances of a somewhat awkward site, as, for instance, where the main staircase is carried as a gallery across the entrance to the advertisment hall, and where the great height needed in the advertisment hall and publishing office is utilised to accommodate two storeys of smaller offices and lavatories. One of the elevations, which have, Warehouses, such as that planned by Messrs. Ormrod & Pomeroy (see Fig. 175), are such exceedingly simple buildings that little need be said of them, save that it is advantageous to design them, so far as may be, with perfectly clear spaces for the handling of goods, sometimes with a portion screened off at one end for either offices or the storage of some special material, but with the hoists if possible placed in external wells so as not to interfere with the warehouse floor. So far as the staircase is concerned, in this particular instance it was a matter of choosing whether to interfere with the floor space or with the cart-way on the ground floor, and necessarily the latter had to have the preference, as the carts had to be brought close up to the warehouse wall, that they might stand immediately under the hoist wells. A single large covered yard is placed between the existing warehouse and the new one, so as to serve both, and a weighing table is shown to which all carts can be brought if required. A certain amount of the yard space is taken up by stables, which also occupy its rear. In all buildings of the warehouse class it is necessary to build the stairs round a solid brick wall, and enclosed in brick walls, while they ought to be of fire-resisting construction, like the whole of the walls and floors throughout. It is very usual now to adopt armoured concrete for the purpose, though steel frame-work construction is also largely used. Both of these have been dealt with in some detail in Volumes IV. and V. of this work. If columns are introduced they should always be covered with concrete, in order to preserve the metal from the effects of fire, and to prevent it from being damaged by the impact of moving material; but they are better avoided as far as possible, as they interfere with the clearness of the open space which is so valuable for the storage and easy handling of bulky goods.
Ormond Street been designed in a modern French style, is shown in Fig. 174.
First Floor Plan.
Another exceptional building to which attention may be called is the Cotton Exchange at Liverpool, designed by Messrs. Matear & Simon, FF.R.I.B.A., and illustrated in Fig. 176.1 It has the advantage of occupying a rectangular isolated site, and has been planned as much for external effect as for convenience, the front to Old Hall Street in particular being arranged for architectural display, with a long, large portico across it, and bank premises at the two corners. A longitudinal axis has been adopted, along which occurs the great open space of the Exchange, with its fine colonnades round it, and various offices opening from the colonnade, and lighted from the streets on either side. Beyond this again are large reading and smoking-rooms, obtaining light from an internal area; while the whole of the back of the site is covered with a series of large offices served by an axial entrance and staircase from Bixteth Street. It will be noticed that a strong dividing wall separates the building into two portions - the Exchange proper, entered from Old Hall Street, and these offices in the rear. The offices are served by corridors which are in continuation with the colonnades of the Exchange, while axial entrances in Edmund Street and Ormond Street secure admission both to the Exchange and to the offices, and also by means of staircase and lifts to the upper floors, of which the first floor is illustrated in Fig. 177.
An upper colonnade passes right round the Exchange space, and gives access to committee-rooms and secretary's office on one side, and to a series of rooms which can be let off upon the other, while the back of the site is again occupied by offices to let. The notable feature is the axial arrangement and consequent perfect regularity of the scheme, with internal means of communication by means of the corridors and passages, lighted from large internal wells or courtyards, it being perhaps the most typical example of this type or method of planning which has been illustrated in any of these volumes, - a type which has survived from the far distant period of the earlier Egyptian temples.
1 Figs. 176 and 177 are introduced by permission of the Building-News.