Readers’ Reactions

The Fire Escape: A Visual Survey. Second Edition

About the Book

Like masterpieces frozen in time, fire escapes have been part of our cities. Taken for granted, maybe, but these fire escape plans serve major roles in providing safety routes during disasters. Take a visual journey to the past and explore the history, importance, and beauty of fire escapes in all corners of the United States. From the urban jungles of New York City to the sunny beaches of Miami, take a journey of discovery and appreciate these simple marvels of architecture and engineering.

Peter J. Lagomarsino

About the Author

Peter J. Lagomarsino is the author of Confessions in a Crown Vic where he discussed the last century’s development and offered his take on the “American Dream.” He’s the creative director of Urban Forms Studio PLLC. He is an architect with over twenty years of experience. He studied at the University of New Mexico to earn his bachelor of arts in architecture degree and took his master’s degree at Clemson University. He traveled to Genoa, Italy, where the Charles E. Daniel Center for Building Research and Urban Studies is located. He has toured Europe and the Middle East to take pictures and study different architectural styles.



While having traveled to many American and European cities capturing urban forms on film, it’s curious that there are seldom few fire escapes in Europe, or perhaps my view of them was diminished by the more seemingly forced tourist view and where I went.

The Great Triangle Shirtwaist Fire became a motivator if not a rally cry for laborers and union leaders to organize against unsafe practices in business manufacturing. Factory owners would regularly lock exit doors to prevent employee theft, and there was typically only one exit regardless of the size of manufacturing floors. In fact, New York City founded a committee on public safety and a factory commission which investigated existing conditions and help re-mediate them. These actions helped New York State become “one of the most progressive states in terms of labor reform.”

This poetry of light happens when the ivy is seen crawling up the wall behind the stairs. It’s as if both man and nature are able to climb, and to me that was visual poetry, the kind that no words could reproduce.


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Confessions in a Crown Vic: A Commentary on the American Dream Second Edition

Is the story of professional displacement during the Great Recession, an Architect as Cab driver, while seeking Architecture work. It interviews Paolo Soleri the visionary urban designer, the traffic engineer, Louis Lagomarsino, for Phoenix’s highway designs, and the cab passengers’ short stories of marginalization for their lack of a car. It’s a journey through an Architect’s life, beginning with schooling, travels, design, internship, and practices in the private to public projects for the USPS, USAF, USACOE, NAVFAC and manufacturing semiconductor facilities. It takes us through different urban configurations. But most of all it takes us through history’s cycles of political change, the semantics of their origins, the delivery of designs, and the affects of expansion and colonialist attitude’s in America. It’s a critique of Urban Sprawl, and the irrationality of relying on housing starts to determine a healthy economy. It examines Keynesian versus Classical economics, comparing them with the events of the last “American” century. He illuminates the American Dream’s unsustainable promise to even its poorest citizens, considering whether we can still re-materialize that dream out of its current mythological existence. Is this dream for everyone? Can we grow a culture based on the automobile and a limited fossil fuel economy? It challenges this dream’s configuration, while placing a heavy burden of responsibility for our economic demise on its mythical component, the greed that drove it, and the Sprawl that has burdened it.

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My dear readers, I hope I have kindled your interest about the importance of fire escapes and architecture in our society. Please feel free to send me an email if you have questions or if you just want to share something. I would love to hear from you.