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I saw this brickwork on a building in nyc's financial district on a building maybe around 50-100 years old.


That's structural brick covered in stucco, which was pretty common in American cities in the 18th and 19th centuries. You see it a lot in areas with low-quality clay, since the resulting brick is porous and brittle, necessitating a stucco covering to protect it from the elements and not look awful. It might not be poor construction, just ugly because it's not intended to ever be seen. Of course, by design the stucco needs to be replaced every few decades, so who knows if it's been kept up.

That contrasts with the article's 1891 example of a building where the brickwork was both structural and decorative, requiring maximum attention to detail.

Did you zoom in on the brick underneath? It's helter skelter.

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