Alloy, the only luxury condominium building at Assembly Row, has officially “topped out”. This time honored ironworking tradition commemorates the final piece of steel being hoisted into place. While the project is still under construction, the 13 story superstructure of the boutique hotel and luxury condo residences has reached its highest point and is ready for exterior cladding and interior work to begin.
As tradition dictates, and the picture above shows, the final piece of steel is adorned with a “Christmas Tree” (a small evergreen tree) and an American Flag.
Traditionally, ironworkers will paint the beam white as a canvas for all who have participated in the project to sign.
The custom of decorating the uppermost point of the structure with an evergreen tree is a tradition that predates the structural-steel industry in America by hundreds of years and has old Northern European roots. Although the topping out tree has ancient roots there is no consensus among modern ironworkers as to what exactly the tree symbolizes, or when and how it came to be used by the ironworkers. According to The Ironworker, the union’s official publication, “for some the evergreen tree symbolizes that the job went up without a loss of life, while for others it’s a good luck charm for the future occupants”(1984:11). Other accounts attribute the tree as signifying simply that “we [ironworkers] did it” (Kodish, 1989:2).*