© Michael Freeman Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York
Quadripartite Gothic vaults in Akoutstolith at the Riverside Church in Manhattan. Visually, it is impossible to tell that the completed nave of the Riverside Church is framed in steel. The Guastavino Company was able to integrate its vaulting into the steel framing, so that the loads were shared between the two systems. Though this made the vaulting seem decorative rather than essential, the vaulting was in fact load bearing and part of the building's structural system, demonstrating the Guastavino Company's remarkable ability to marry art and engineering.
The exhibition “Palaces for the People: Guastavino and the Art of Structural Tile,” is on view at the Museum of the City of New York March 26-September 7, 2014.