Engineers + Architects

14 Wall Street
New York, NY 10005
(212) 505 1133

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    SuperScript is a quarterly newsletter from SUPERSTRUCTURES. Founded in 1981, we are a firm of architects, structural engineers, and conservators dedicated to the art and science of exterior restoration.


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      February 10, 2022

      In for 2022: Outfrastructure

      Antonio Sant’Elia, La Citta Nuova, 1914. This vision of a future city made little distinction between structure and infrastructure.


      What is “outfrastructure?”

      When you hear the word infrastructure, you may think of roads, bridges, airports, and the like—the built environment that links our homes, stores, schools, offices, and cities together. But in an urban environment like New York, building envelopes—SUPERSTRUCTURES’ specialty—are infrastructure. We suggest adopting the term outfrastructure to make this relationship more evident.

      Why? Because if building envelopes are failing—if you’re cold and wet because there’s no reliable protection from wind and rain—civilization is in trouble.

      Roofs can be landscapes, playgrounds, or outdoor rooms. Plazas are often the roofs of below-grade structures. And sidewalk vaults blur the lines between structure and street. SUPERSTRUCTURES employs the same meticulous restoration approach to all of these components, treating building envelopes as interconnected systems with many intersections between vertical and horizontal surfaces.

      The root of the word envelope—envelop—connotes a sympathetic relationship between exteriors and buildings as a whole, suggesting a membrane that mediates between indoor and outdoor space. We see the building envelope as a continuum, tied into a larger, urban fabric—or outfrastructure, if you will.

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