Judging Buildings – 14th and H St, NW

Not to get too philosophical and all but I think one of the great things in life is discovering beauty in what you once saw as ordinary. Alright enough of that. I was just blown away by how awesome this building is and I couldn’t believe I never noticed/appreciated it before. Next time you are downtown at the corner of 14th and H St, NW take a second and look up. You won’t be disappointed.

A few more shots and closeups after the jump.

6 Comment

  • I’ve always loved this building, that terra cotta tile work is outstanding!

  • Funny you should point out this building – my first “real job” out of college was in this building. It does have great architecture and I still miss the giant windows in my office (where I work now we have 175 employees and no one has a window, sigh).

  • I would really love someone who knows stuff to give us perspective on what it would take to do beautiful architectural work these days. We all love the old detail – but of course we don’t want everything new to look 19th century. Still – is it possible to do interesting artisanial – detailed – interesting – work on contemporary buildings?

    • Part of the issue with early 20th Century buildings is that you had massive immigration of craftsmen from Europe (out East) and China (out West) fleeing all manor of war and poverty. These were the underpaid, overworked (often with rushed immigration that we’d call “illegal” today) building trades people of the past.

      You also an architecture community focused through Beaux Arts like training schools almost entirely on copying past forms in their education. That was what they did, draw and redraw historic buildings.

      Beginning with the American schools, though, we started to create an architecture styles that were our own — stripped down classicism on one side and the new forms of the Chicago school. With a combination of things, the rise of industry, the rejection of Victorian values, the destruction of WWI, anti-semitism in Europe (which led to the expulsion of modernist school architects as well as created an incentive for German Jews to create architecture styles that were so plan as to not call attention to themselves — and thus be able to hide in plain site), an even more stripped down Internal School spread.

      Egged on by modern cost engineering, environmental, safety and building efficiency practices, the need for more open plan buildings, labor and work rules instituted — architecture is forever changed. And it won’t go back. Like all aspects of history, their are just too many parallel factors.

      • if by, “it won’t go back” you mean it won’t go back to a classic style, i agree. but i think with innovations in reproduction means, computer designs, cnc machines, stereolithographic printing advancements and a new wave of a love of adornment we’ll see a rise of a different sort of architectural sculpture.

        i’m not in the architecture field, so i’m just surmising , but i’ve seen it in the interior design field with walls ceilings and floors, and certainly as an artist and fabricator i know that the means of production of these elements are readily available. and of course, i have hope, because gigs to design and fabricate sculptural walls are dream jobs. ; )

    • i love architectural sculpture!
      yes, its very possible to still do it. with form liners, concrete details can be created on a large scale. modern mold rubbers and new fiberglass resins can make reproductions of historic facades and elements easily possible.

      there are a lot of possibilities before we even have to harken back to beaux art styles ( which i love). we can utilize more modern elements and designs.

      this is not a great photo of a building next to the convention center that has some cool detail work

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