Building with Firescape
Framed photograph of gray building with a fire escape, located at 20th & Locust Streets in Philadelphia.
At first view this photograph looks like it is black and white. But when you look at the windows at the top of the building, you will see a reflection of the blue sky. It is obvious that it is a sunny day and this is a color photograph. The shadows from the fire escape assume the shape of the bricks of the building illuminating the texture of the surface. The bright sunlight is reflected on the railings. Three of the windows have air conditioner units and one of the units has a galvanized steel bucket outside of the window.
Fire escapes are a landmark of urban buildings and sometimes serve as a small terrace for the apartment dweller. Their real purpose is to serve as a method of escape from a building in case of a fire or other emergency that make the stairwells inside inaccessible.
Fire escapes are most often found on multiple-story residential buildings, such as apartment buildings. At one time, they were a very important aspect of fire safety for all new construction in urban areas; more recently, however, they have fallen out of common use. This is due to the improved building codes incorporating fire detectors, technologically advanced fire fighting equipment, which includes better communications and the reach of fire fighting ladder trucks, and more importantly fire sprinklers. The international building codes and other authoritative agencies have incorporated fire sprinklers into multi-story buildings below 15 stories and not just skyscrapers.
A fire escape consists of a number of horizontal platforms, one at each story of a building, with ladders or stairs connecting them. The platform and stairs are usually open steel gratings, to prevent the build-up of ice, snow, and leaves. Railings are usually provided on each of the levels, but as fire escapes are designed for emergency use only, these railings often do not need to meet the same standards as railings in other contexts. The ladder from the lowest level of the fire escape to the ground may be fixed, but more commonly it swings down on a hinge or slides down along a track. The moveable designs allow occupants to safely reach the ground in the event of a fire but prevent people from accessing the fire escape from the ground at other times (such as to perpetrate a burglary or vandalism).
Often photographed because of their unique structures and the way that they contrast with the building that they are attached to, they are an icon of city living.
This print is perfect for an urban decor or for anyone who longs to be a city dweller.
Framed size: 10 1/4″ wide x 12 1/4″ high