To the editor:
Jordan Marsh’s delightful article on the birth and rebirth of the Reliance Building raised my hackles near the end with its blithe reassurance that the original opening windows have been sealed shut in accord with the requirements of “modern office-building standards.” These are the sort of standards that mean you have to take a sweater to the movies in July.
The glory of the “Chicago window” is that it provides the occupants with both light _and_ air, one of which has now been sacrified so that “individual tenants”–let’s just say “individuals” don’t throw “a central heating and cooling system” off kilter. I’ve been in perfectly modern offices in Europe in which you can open the windows as much as you like and the engineers seem to have been able to live with the situation. With its north- and east-facing windows and small floorplates (=cross-ventilation), the Reliance could probably have gotten through most of the summer without the air conditioning that makes most offices too cold and pumps superheated air into ambient air. Now we’ll never know.