Terrazzo flooring in the building at film center
Photograph: Charles Harris
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Terrazzo Flooring at Film Center

Starting at the end of the last century, terrazzo craftsmen found a lot of work in hotels, schools and office buildings. Tough and economical, the material inspired creative designs, thanks to its free-flowing nature and to the zinc and brass divider strips that could define any shape or pattern. Next time you amble through a lobby, a train station or the halls of academia, check out what's underfoot. As the examples shown below demonstrate, some amazing floors have surfaced from a pile of chips and cement.

Film Center, 630 Ninth Avenue: Completed in 1929 and named a New York City Landmark in 1982, the ornate art deco building still delights visitors with its original lobby floor, a geometric mix of terrazzo and solid marble.

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