Saturday, January 1, 2011
Not really a House (2 of 3)
The Victorian aesthetic was roundly - really "rabidly" - excoriated through much of the 20th Century, and the designs of architects like Ware were regularly dismissed as "horrors." However, to look at the Halcyon Hall with eyes un-blinkered by the prejudices of modernism, is to see a building that is vigorous, inventive, sophisticated in its parts and an extremely interesting composition. It's hard not to want to rush right in and explore it.
Image 1 - There's a lot going on here - dormers, gable ends, brilliant stonework, half timbering with stucco infill, shingles - but the seeming surfeit of architectural mobility is charmingly balanced and (its greatest attribute) infinitely interesting.
Image 2 - A detail of the same view. Clever design work lurks beneath the accumulated ruin and institutional fire escape. How dull two floors and a chimney might otherwise have been.
Image 3 - Honestly now, when's the last time you saw a building with chimneys on its corners?
Image 4 - Ware's details don't clamor for attention, they just hang together with period dignity. What a lot is going on here too - varied chimney tops, shingles, stucco, classical columns, vaguely Colonial dormer windows - but it all works.
Image 5 - Note the carved panel underneath the window, a nice touch.