My architect partner, who learned his trade in New York and Providence, has an amused tolerance for wood-framed buildings. Recently, as we walked through an addition we had designed for an office building— a steel-framed structure with a bar joist, pan and concrete roof—the drywall subs were beginning to tape out the sheetrock. We wandered along silently until he turned to me and said, "Looks almost like a real building!" In the major cities, steel stud and joist framing is the standard method of construction on buildings of masonry and steel. Wood framing is rare—and generally regarded as something done by amateurs. Only out in the suburbs or up here in the North is wood-frame construction common—and then