Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Monday, May 22, 2017

Designing...well, men.

I got to spend quality time last month with a building that towered over many of my formative years. I had always loved its bulk, its stepped profile against the dramatic city backdrop, its presence. But I had never before enjoyed the luxury of time (and the patience of generous loving friends) to wander the property, and scan its bulk for the brilliant bits of design which appear from every angle.

drain cover
For now, I won't tell you what it is; many of you many already have guessed the sum, from its parts.

Suffice to say that it was designed by architects Fred L. Townley and Robert T. Matheson. The year was 1936. The project reflected boosterish enthusiasm about the city's growth, tempered by sober constraints of the Great Depression. I read somewhere that the building was a make-work project.

sinuous concrete

 The form of the building is described by several of my sources as Modern Classical. The decorative elements such as light fixtures and surface ornament borrow from the Art Deco/Streamline Moderne. This building, and its designers are credited with a successful fusion of these architectural design elements.

Getting warmer?
I'll reveal the name of this building, and some of the things that have been said about it, in a future post.

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