|McMillan Building, Perth (1903)|
I've always liked it, despite it being far distant stylistically and chronologically from my favourite early buildings, and am annoyed that I didn't take enough photos of all the wonderful detail. Something distracted me. In Perth? Oh yes.
This is one of the classically inspired and dressed to the teeth Beaux Arts buildings featured by my man Blumenson in Ontario Architecture.
Oddly Baroque, this style appeared on commercial and civic buildings, railway stations and banks from 1900 to about 1945. Oddly, indeed - as at the very same time revolutionary new ways of thinking about architecture were arising. The medieval nostalgia of the Arts and Crafts movement, the non-historicizing Prairie style, and Frank Lloyd Wright's early work were all reactions to the excessiveness of classical and Gothic revivals.
Beaux Arts never made a huge mark in Ontario, but it did suit the ebullient Americans putting together the venue for the 1893 Chicago Exposition. I love how John Blumenson describes it: "So prevalent was the undisguised and even pretentious templelike atmosphere that the exposition came to be known as the 'White City of Roman Buildings.'" Here's a link with photos, to the whole larger than life World's Columbian Exposition.
|inside Toronto's Union Station, inspired by|
the Roman baths
She points out that Beaux Arts styling was commonly used in banks (which my Perth example was, originally), often with a cut off corner as the entrance, and more than one facade imitating a Greek temple. Eclectic - porticoes with pediments combine with balustrades, with Mansard roofs; if there are columns as well there may be, look for a mix of capital styles. For this was about showing what you knew, if you were a student of the Academie.
On her website Ontario Architecture Shannon describes a pair of University Avenue (Toronto) structures that I have marvelled over. Perhaps the best way of identifying a Beaux Arts building is to ask "am I gobsmacked? Is this over the top?"
|330 University - Canada Life Assurance Company (1931)|
|"mixing of various unrelated classical motifs|
on the same facade" -Kyles
Jennifer McKendry, in her new book Modern Architecture in Kingston, identifies the Prison for Women (1930) as a Beaux Arts grand scheme.