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The front of the trench was known as the parapet. Both the parapet and the parados (the rear-side of the trench) were protected by two or three feet of sandbags.


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Gable, triangular section of wall at the end of a pitched roof, extending from the eaves to the peak. The gables in Classical Greek temples are called pediments.

The architectural treatment of a gable results from the effort to find an aesthetically pleasing solution to the problem of keeping water out of the intersection of walls and roof. This is accomplished either by carrying the roof out over the top of the end walls or by carrying the end walls up above the roof level and capping them with a waterproof coping. The former method is in general use in wooden and other small buildings with pitched roofs, while the latter method is used in larger and more monumental masonry structures, particularly those in the Gothic style.

The gable at the end of a ridge-roofed structure, or gable end, usually has straight sides, follows the roof’s slope, and is often bounded by the roof’s overhanging eaves. If the gable end projects above the roof level to form a parapet, however, its silhouette may be one of many types—such as the crowstepped, catstepped, or corbiestepped gable—with a stepped outline. The edge of such a parapet is often trimmed to form an ornamental silhouette. In northern and western Europe, where roofs of steep pitch are common, gables were often richly decorated with steplike or curved forms and were further ornamented with urns, statues, obelisks, and scrolls. Among the earliest and most elaborate examples of buildings with parapet gables are the late medieval Dutch town houses of Amsterdam. Gables have also been important features in the traditional architecture of East Asia, where they were ornamented with projecting roof tiles, grotesque sculptures of animals at the ridge and eaves, and occasionally with surface carving.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Amy Tikkanen, Corrections Manager.

Volney Rogers Memorial

Dedicated in 1920, to the memory of Mill Creek Park founder Volney Rogers, this bronze statue was created by nationally renowned sculptor Frederick C. Hibbard. Funds for the memorial included donations from prominent citizens and Youngstown schoolchildren.

The eight foot bronze statue stands on a pedestal of red Missouri marble. The tree in the sculpture is a dwarf white thorn, a species selected by Volney for its tenacity. The motto on the base reads, “This park was conceived in his heart and realized through his devotion.”

The Brownstone Detectives

When you look up to the top of any brownstone, rowhouse, or townhouse, you sometimes see a parapet, an extension of sorts above the cornice which adds a certain grandeur or majesty to any building.

The problem with many of these parapets, though, was their susceptibility to the elements. Over time, they wore, rotted, and simply fell apart. Eventually, these ornate elements of design were removed to prevent further damage to the structural integrity of the houses they graced.

Built by Otto Singer in 1909, these 1-Family brick houses, exist on West 8th St. & King’s Hwy., in Bensonhurst.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sat., 19 May 1910. The same row of houses today.

Brownstone Detectives is a property research agency. Our mission is to research, document, and save the histories of our clients’ historic properties. From this research, we produce our celebrated House History Books. Each book is fully cited, featuring detailed narratives and colorful graphics, and is designed to bring the history of any house to life. Contact us today to begin discovering the history of your home.

Choice of Parapet

BS EN 1317-1:1998 describes a Vehicle Parapet as a safety barrier that is installed on the edge of a bridge or on a retaining wall or similar structure where there is a vertical drop, and which may contain additional protection and restraint for pedestrians and other road users.

Manufacturers have developed and tested parapets to meet the containment standards specified in the codes. Much of the earlier testing work was involved with achieving a parapet which would absorb the impact load and not deflect the vehicle back into the line of adjacent traffic. The weight of vehicle, speed of impact and angle of impact influence the behaviour of the parapet. Consequently a level of containment has been adopted to minimise the risk to traffic using the bridge (above and below the deck).
BS EN 1317-2 1998 specifies criteria for vehicle impact tests on parapets for various containment levels. The containment levels adopted by TD 19/06 (Design Manual for Roads and Bridges Volume 2, Section 2, Part 8) require testing to be carried out for various vehicles impacting the parapet at an angle of 20 o .
The vehicle impact test criteria for various containment levels as follows :

Parapet Containment Level

Normal Containment (Formerly P2<80>)

Normal Containment Level
(Formerly P1, P2 <113>& P5)

Higher Containment Level

Very High Containment Level (Formerly P6)

Parapets are designed and tested by manufactures who apply to the Highways Agency to be included on an Approved List. A copy of the the "List of EN 1317 compliant road restraint systems" can be obtained from the Government website
TD19/06 is the current design standard which requires carrying out a risk assessment to identify the hazards and minimise the risks to the road users.
The risk assessment is documented by using an Excel spreadsheet, a copy of which can be obtained from the Governments website
A user-guide is also available on the same web-page.

TD 19/06 also directs the designer to use BS 6779 and BS 7818 for the design of specific elements of parapets.
BS 6779: 1998 - Highway Parapets for Bridges and Other Structures.
Part 1: Metal Parapets for the provision of infill to parapets (see TD 19/06 clause 4.29, 4.39, 4.40)
Part 2: Concrete Parapets for the design of reinforced concrete parapets with some amendments (see TD 19/06 clauses 4.56 to 4.60)
Part 4: Reinforced and Unreinforced Masonry Parapets to assess the containment capacity of existing masonry parapets (see TD 19/06 clause 4.62)
BS 7818: 2015: Pedestrian Metal Parapets
This Standard is required for the manufacture and installation of pedestrian restraint systems until such times as the drafting of prEN 1317-6 is completed (see TD 19/06 clause 9.3). Although EN 1317-6 is to be superseded by PD CEN/TR 16949:2016 the current Technical Approval Schedule (TAS), " Schedule of Documents Relating to Design of Highway Bridges and Structures " says to use BS 7818: 2015.

Design Considerations

Information required to be supplied to metal parapet manufacturers is listed in TD19/06, namely:

  • Containment Level (N1, N2, H2, H4a)
  • Impact Severity Level (ISL) (Normally Class B)
  • Working Width Class (W1 to W5)
  • The height
  • The length

Concrete parapets are ideal for very high containment parapets due to their significant mass.
Steel parapets are generally the cheapest solution for the normal containment. This is significant if the site is prone to accidents and parapet maintenance is likely to be regular. The steelwork does however require painting and is usually pretreated with hot-dip galvanising.
Aluminium parapets do not require surface protection and maintenance costs will be reduced if the parapet does not require replacing through damage. The initial cost is however high and special attention to fixing bolts is required to prevent the parapets from being stolen for their high scrap value. Aluminium also provides a significant weight saving over the steel parapet. This is sometimes important for parapets on moving bridges.

Fort Stevens

Contemporary photo of a cannon and embrasure at Fort Stevens

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits, Scenic View/Photo Spot

Fort Stevens, now partially restored, was built to defend the approaches to Washington from the 7th Street Pike (now Georgia Avenue) which was then the main thoroughfare from the north into Washington. Originally called Fort Massachusetts by the soldiers from that state who constructed the fort, it was later named after Brig. Gen. Isaac Ingalls Stevens, who was killed at the Battle of Chantilly (Ox Hill), Virginia, September 1, 1862.

By the summer of 1864, the great bulk of Union troops in the east were engaged in siege operations around Petersburg, Virginia. In fact, when Ulysses S. Grant moved south in the Spring of 1864, he stripped Washington, DC, of many well trained troops to add weight to his offensive. As a result, in July of 1864, there were only 9,000 troops to defend the city, down from over 23,000 the year before. Those that were left were primarily poorly trained reserves. Robert E. Lee was desperate to reduce the pressure on his forces around Petersburg, and so decided to send General Jubal A. Early and about 20,000 troops to strike at Washington which spies had reported was poorly defended.

On June 12, Early began his march north from Petersburg and by July 9, was at Frederick, Maryland, where he demanded and received $200,000 to spare the city. On the same day, Early defeated Union Gen. Lew Wallace at the Monocacy River. In the light of later events, Wallace's defeat after a stubborn fight became a victory for the Union because he was able to delay Early's advance for a day. On July 10, Early encamped at Rockville, Maryland, only 10 miles from Fort Stevens.

Reacting to this threat to Washington, Grant ordering the 1st and d 2nd Divisions of the 6th Corps and part of 19th Corps to the capital on July 7. The veteran units reached Fort Stevens arrived off the Potomac River around noon on July 11 as Jubal Early's lead elements advanced toward the capital.

Over the following several days, Early probed Fort Stevens and its environs but never mounted a full-scale attack. Union reinforcements had reached Washington and Fort Stevens just in time.

Located atop the parapet of Fort Stevens is a commemorative stone dedicated to Abraham Lincoln. On July 12, 1864, the President stood atop the parapet to observe the fighting and came under fire from Confederate sharpshooters. It is the only time in American history in which a sitting president came under direct fire from an enemy combatant.

In the years to come, many individuals would claim the honor of advising the President Lincoln to come down from the parapet. The most notable was a young officer named Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. His remarks to the president were short and straightforward: "Get down, you damn fool!" Holmes would eventually serve as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, 1902-1932.

Each year, the anniversary of the Battle of Fort Stevens is commemorated with special programs, living history, and more.

An overview of the Civil War Defenses of Washington, the roles of Fort Stevens and other forts in the Civil War, and how park visitors can experience these places today.


PARAPET (Heb. מַעֲקֶה). Ancient roofs were flat and in general use (cf. Josh. 2:6 Judg. 16:27 I Sam. 9:25f Isa. 22:1 et al.), and the Bible enjoins "when thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a parapet for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thy house, if any man fall from thence" (Deut. 22:8). The parapet must be not less than 10 handbreadths high and strong enough to keep a person who leans on it from falling (Sif. Deut. 229 Maim. Yad, Ro𞤾ɺḤ 11:3). The law was given a far wider application, however, and made to include the need to remove any object that constitutes a public or a private hazard. Such precautions include fencing or covering a well or a pit (Maim. ibid., 11:4) and not keeping a savage dog or a shaky ladder in one's house (BK 15b). The statement of R. Eleazar (BK 4:9), that "No precaution is adequate [for a vicious ox] save the slaughterer's knife," is based by Abbaye on this same law (BK 46a). For the same reason one who keeps a wild dog or cat in his house is placed under the ban (Ket. 41b). Even if only the owner is endangered and he is willing to take the risk, he is forbidden and forcibly prevented if necessary (Maim. ibid., 4f.).

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.

Trombe Parapets

Here's a wonderful example showing that it pays to know your history: The "Trombe Parapets" created for a new project called The Pavilion at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Most readers will probably know that a Trombe Wall is a mass wall (usually concrete) placed a few inches behind glass. Solar energy is stored in the mass, and radiates slowly to temper the room behind. In The Solar House I reconstruct the history of the Trombe wall, so-named for French engineer Felix Trombe. (He built the first storage-wall house in Odeillo, France, in 1956, though MIT scientists had tested water-storage walls in 1946. Douglas Kelbaugh probably coined the term "Trombe Wall" in the 1970s.)

This new application---the Trombe Parapet---is exactly as the name suggests: a small Trombe Wall placed above the roofline. You can see the Trombe parapets in the image below at the upper left part of the structure.

A traditional Trombe Wall occupies the South side of a building, and this is an inherent limitation, as views from the interior in that direction may be obscured or limited. The Trombe Parapet is here placed on the North wall of the building, still facing South, in a location where the occupants are not affected.

And, a traditional Trombe Wall works principally by radiation and natural convection, as the mass wall directly faces the space that it is intended to heat. In the Trombe Parapet, the mass wall is located in an unoccupied part of the structure, relying on forced air convection to transfer the heat from the storage wall to the spaces in the building. As the diagram above implies, there is some fan power required because the hot air must be moved downward while cool air is drawn up. Therefore Trombe Parapets are limited in their efficiency and they are not strictly passive.

Also of note: the more prominent feature in the foreground of the image above is a Katabatic Tower. This uses evaporative cooling and natural convection to cool the building in summer. Katabatic means the downward flow of cold air . This feature (not novel to the CSU Pavilion project) is based on older historical technology. Similar cooling towers were popular in dwellings in the Middle East in the 18th and 19th centuries.

I learned about this project at the Biennial Conference of the USGBC Wyoming Chapter last fall. The presenters were: Marc Snyder of 4240 Architecture, Linda Morrison of Ambient Energy, and Dennis Rudko of Cator Ruma & Associates. As far as I know, these designers created the concept and the name "Trombe Parapets."

Meet the Boss: Alex Nyaga, founder, Parapet Cleaning Services

I was painting Christmas trees on windows in Nairobi in 1993. I was in high school and they were paying me $55 for every window. That was a lot of money.

2. Who had the biggest impact on your career and why?

My board of directors have mentored me and walked with me throughout this journey. I owe it to them for being able to build a very successful business. Their support – whether financial or technical, and through mentorship – has been priceless.

3. The parts of your job that keep you awake at night?

Ensuring my 3,500 employees have a regular salary. I stay up at night thinking about the next big thing that will sustain and create employment.

4. The top reasons why you have been successful in business?

I think I am visionary, and I have a passion to do things that will have a greater impact in our society: such as creating jobs.

5. What are the best things about your country, Kenya?

It is a beautiful country with beautiful people and wonderful weather. People here also have a good attitude towards work. I have been to many parts of the world and it is rare to see the work culture that is instilled in Kenyans. We have a very unique DNA about how we look at work and business. You will find Kenyans working everywhere in the world, and they do all types of work.

6. And the worst?

We are a divided nation. We think ‘me’ as opposed to ‘we’. If we get to thinking as one nation with one purpose we will grow exponentially. I envy the kind of unity and patriotism I see in other countries such as the US and Nigeria. They are very passionate about themselves, they are proud of their identity and they are very patriotic. Unfortunately, that patriotism is what we lack.

7. Your future career plans?

I am currently mentoring six young entrepreneurs and am a trustee of the Kenya Youth Business Trust (KYBT), an organisation that provides training, funding and advisory support to young entrepreneurs in their first three years of business. Moving forward I want to do more mentorship and help other people grow their businesses. I also want to increase my involvement in philanthropic work.

8. How do you relax?

I love to swim. It takes my mind away from work. I also love to travel. The best place I have been to is Paris.

9. What is your message to our young aspiring business people and entrepreneurs?

They should first find a purpose. Why do they exist? Once you identify your purpose you then work to bring that purpose to fruition. I believe purpose brings out the passion, the resilience. And in turn that gives you the drive to accomplish your goals.

10. How can Africa realise its full potential?

We need to remove these borders and work as one Africa. If countries worked together I believe the synergies that would come out of that integration would make Africa a formidable economy.

Alex Nyaga is the CEO of Parapet Group, which encompasses two companies: Parapet Cleaning Services and Parapet Hospitality and Business Institute. Nyaga started the company in 1997. It has grown to become a leading player in the industry employing 3,500 people and offering cleaning solutions for both domestic and commercial customers. Its clients include airports, hospitals, shopping malls, office buildings, hotels and private residences.

What is a Parapet Wall? (with pictures)

A parapet wall is a low wall, usually enclosing a roof, or a protective barrier at the edge of a terrace or on the side of a bridge. In modern use, one is constructed to provide a barrier to prevent people or objects from falling from the edge of the structure and to slow the spread of fire in earlier times, these walls were built to afford some protection for rooftop defenders of a structure, such as a castle or city walls, under attack.

There are several types of parapets. One of the most commonly known types is the embattled parapet, or battlement, which is crenelated — that is, it’s built with alternating high and low portions. Defenders would use the high portions for protection, moving to the low sections just long enough to fire their weapons. A perforated parapet is similar, but instead of being “notched” in appearance, the wall is pierced with various shapes, such as circles, trefoils, or quatrefoils, either for decorative or defensive purposes. Paneled walls have ornamental panels facing outward, often carved stone. Plain parapet walls have none of the decorations or features of the other parapets, but may have copings or even corbels, depending on their construction.

While parapets originated in the need for defensive construction atop structures, their use has continued into the modern day, but they defend more from accidents and fire than from attackers. In the evolution of the modern city, for example, what were once attractive features of free-standing houses developed into hazards in densely populated areas. In the city of London, overhanging eaves on houses are considered a fire hazard, and since 1707, roofs must by law be enclosed within a parapet wall.

Most modern flat-roofed construction, whether residential or otherwise, includes these walls at the edges as a matter of safety, both to prevent people from accidentally falling off the roof and to prevent accumulated debris from falling off and possibly injuring people below. Many modern fire codes also require that firewalls extend above a structure’s roof-line by a minimum of 30 inches (76.2 centimeters), and that the wall created be at least as fire resistant as the portion below the roof. Walls of some sort are also found on most bridges, constructed for safety reasons. Where pedestrian travel is commonplace, some bridges’ parapet walls even have handrails installed.

Watch the video: Flashing at Parapet