Puslapio vaizdai

designs based upon pure classic formulas, the principle of symmetry- that is, of a balanced correspondence of parts on each side of a center line-must govern the disposition of the masses into which, in order to form an articulate composition, each façade should be divided. The greater the dignity and importance of the building, the more absolute and uncompromising must be the application of this principle. The

which ceremony and state become secondary to considerations of comfort and convenience. With the exception of the Administration Building, which is a compact, domical composition, like the front of the Invalides, all the larger structures of the Exposition have a great extension of length in comparison to their average height, the former varying from 700 to 1700 feet, and the latter from 40 to 60. The application of the principle

of symmetry to these has resulted uniformly in a central pavilion of some sort, and in a corner pavilion of varying importance on each angle of the façades. This remark does not apply to the Transportation and Fisheries buildings, which are not classic in form or intention. Between these pavilions there are intermediate spaces known as curtain-walls, the architectural character of which depends on a continuous repetition of bays, developed from the interior structure, and constituting the characteristic mass of the frontage, to which the three pavilions serve as points of emphasis and relief. But it will be found that this arrangement of the several buildings is not only the result of the common observance of an abstract principle of design, but follows from an obvious necessity of the plan in each case, from the mutual relations of neighboring structures, and from considerations of the most convenient ingress and egress.


Kenyon Cox 1892. After photographe from mefinished plaster.


monument must be evident as the orderly result of forethought, and not as a growth from a succession of unexpected contingencies. It must embody the idea of a harmonious development of structure from beginning to end, so exactly adjusted, and so carefully proportioned in respect to its elements, that nothing can be added to or taken from it without sensibly affect ing the composite organism as a whole. The test of the completeness of a classic design resides in its sensitiveness to change-a sensitiveness which becomes more delicate as the design approaches perfection. In fact, symmetry is the visible expression of unity. The moment the correspondence of balanced parts on each side of a center line is disturbed by the introduction on one side of a mass or detail which does not appear on the other, at that moment the design begins to lose somewhat of its unity and to enter the domain of the picturesque, in

It will be remembered that the architects of the five buildings surrounding the great court, which have the closest architectural relations, agreed, for the sake of securing a harmonious result, to confine themselves to pure classic forms in their designs, to fix upon 60 feet from the ground as the height of their main cornices, to provide for an open portico or shelter along their whole frontage, and to assume about 25 feet as their module or unit of dimension. We have seen also that one of the results of the fundamental conditions of the plan is the division of the façades respectively by a central pavilion and by corner pavilions, with stretches of cur

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][subsumed]



tain-wall between. Moreover, each of these son more subtle and sensitive than would be compositions has submitted to certain com- possible had they been at liberty to handle promises for the sake of harmony with its neigh- their common theme without definite and arbors. Now this stately uniformity of design bitrary restrictions of form. Whether the test would have been too serious for an occasion is one of architecture or poetry (and the two of festivity, if it were not relieved by a certain are closely analogous), it seems to compel the

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

luxury of conventional ornament, sculpture, painting, and decoration in metals, and by a profusion of bright and joyful accessories. We shall now see how this uniformity of scheme, apparently working for a monotony which would be fatiguing, is, by the operation of the personal equation of the architect in each case, and by the adjustment of each building to its especial use, entirely consistent with that individuality of technic, of sentiment, and of expression which constitutes the essential difference between a cold academical composition and a work of art having a definite purpose.

By this apparent identity in general outline and language of form the architects have necessarily been invited to a study of detail and expression far more fastidious than would be easily practicable in dealing with a style less accurately formulated. In somewhat similar manner a dozen trained writers, expressing their thoughts on a similar range of subjects in an established literary form,-in that of the sonnet for example,- would commit themselves by their differences in treatment to a compari

architect or poet to enter a region, if not of higher thought, then of more delicate study and of finer discrimination in method. Freedom of style, though it is the natural and healthy condition of architecture in our country, and adapts itself more readily to our inventiveness in structure and to the practical exigencies of building, is also a temptation to crude experiments, to tours de force, and to surprises of design, such as form the characteristic features of an American city. Under these circumstances, personal idiosyncrasies and accidents of mood or temperament are apt to have an undue influence upon current architecture, and to perpetuate, in monumental form, the caprice of a moment or a passing fashion of design, which, in a year's time, the author himself may be the first to repudiate. It is the aim of our architectural schools not to kill but to correct this abundant vitality, and to direct it into channels of fruitful and rational progress.

A glance at the general plan of the grounds will show that the buildings are separated one from the other by avenues of water or land

sufficiently wide to furnish noble vistas pene- department, which we have already discussed. trating to the remoter regions of the Park, and The problem was how to cover this entire area to isolate each structure, so that its character- with a building which should have due regard istic mass and details may not be confused by to its relations to the grounds and neighboring those of its neighbors, but not so wide as to buildings; by its divisions should provide for prevent their mutual architectural relations the orderly arrangement and classification of from being clearly evident in a common align- its contents, and for the most convenient and ment, and in a common observance of the sys- economical structure; and should secure, not

[graphic][merged small][subsumed][merged small][merged small]

It will be remembered that the great court of the Exposition is bounded on the south by the two palaces of Machinery and Agriculture, a minor court being provided between them. The latter building has a north frontage on the court and a south frontage toward the LiveStock department, each 800 feet in length, while its west façade, of 500 feet, looks on the minor court, and its east on the lake. Its area, not including the annexes in the rear, thus covers nearly nine acres and a half, or a space about equal to the main building of the Machinery

only for the first floor, but for an extensive series of galleries, an effective and adequate lighting throughout. This problem must also embrace a due consideration for a division of the façades corresponding to the plan, so that its architectural character should, as far as possible, be developed from the conditions of


The architects, Messrs. McKim, Mead & White of New York, solved this problem by converting their area into a hollow square surrounded continuously by buildings, and by crossing this hollow square in the center with two high naves of equal width, at right angles one to the other and open from floor to roof, each being accompanied on both sides by twostoried aisles, thus forming two clearstories on each roof-slope for lighting the interior space. The four long courts, 80 x 280, left by this arrangement, being needed for exhibition purposes, are severally occupied by three lower

« AnkstesnisTęsti »