Telephone & Radio

Early telephone exchange buildings were designed for the operators and technicians as well as the lines they managed and maintained. As the technology became more sophisticated, the office workers were separated from the machines and the building requirements changed accordingly. James Ream’s design for a central switching telephone building in New York City lacks windows for many of the same reasons the PG&E power plants do – to protect machines sensitive to light, dust, and environmental pollutants. Compare a recent photo of the building as it stood through Hurricane Sandy, and it’s clear that these infrastructure projects must be designed to survive natural disasters while continuing to function.

Unlike the person-to-person telephone technology, radio and television signals were transmitted to unlimited recipients from studios via broadcast towers. These studios had specific requirements and standards for the creation and distribution of programming.