Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Friday, February 22, 2013

Angels in the Details

Don't expect to get a ticket for this spot today

The academic Beaux-arts architectural style taught at the Ecole des Beax-Arts in Paris influenced building in North America from 1860 to 1920.

Beaux-arts was nothing if not flashy. As if the guys (gals?) who learned their trade at the Ecole threw everything they'd ever learned at important civic buildings like banks (look for trade-mark cut-off corner entrances), train stations and post offices. And this at a time when Frank Lloyd Wright was trying to float some very different ideas!
serene walls of Missouri stone

Classical element this is. Classical purity this is not. Classical restraint. Hardly.

 All that being said, gotta love what those Beaux-Arts folks did with Union Station.

Art nouveau fluidity - speaks to the station's long gestation

The decorative elements seem to evolve from classically-based ingredients like columns and capitals, to more fluid carving and cast work in sections of the building. I haven't seen anything written about this, but I wonder if the long period over which the station was being built (it began in 1914, opened 13 years later) corresponded to changing styles - from Beaux-Arts to Art Nouveau to Art Deco (which I'll show in the final - I promise- post about my afternoon at Union Station).

curvaceous cast iron spandrel detail

agraffe to you too

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