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ARCHITECTURE AT THE WORLD'S COLUMBIAN
O the building for the light from the roof into the central parts of the department of Elec- first story would admit. To obtain the obvious tricity was assigned advantages of grand central avenues in both
an area 350 feet on directions, it was clear that the building should 些
the court and 700 feet be crossed by longitudinal and transverse naves, long, the major axis open from floor to roof and free from columns. running north and The module of 23 feet enters fifteen times into south. Though pe- the width of the building. Five of these modculiarly fortunate in ules, or 115 feet, are taken for the width of the
its site, having an im- naves, and they are covered with pitched roofs, portant frontage on the lagoon as well as on supported by steel arched trusses, set 23 feet the court, it was the.smallest building of the on centers, and lofty enough to permit a line principal group. It thus became incumbent on of clearstory windows to be elevated above the its architects, Messrs. Van Brunt & Howe of rest of the building, which, for its part, is diKansas City, so to design this building that it vided into five aisles on each side of the longishould not be overwhelmed by the superior tudinal nave, each one module wide, and these mass of its neighbors, and that, if possible, it are covered with continuous fat roofs, with a might have such characteristics as should at series of skylights over the central aisles correonce conceal and justify its inferiority of size; sponding with openings in the second floor. which inferiority, however, is only comparative, Access to these galleries is obtained by grand the actual area to be occupied being consider- staircases, one on each side of each of the four ably in excess of that covered by the Capitol at main central porches. Washington. Its purposes seemed to suggest The main exterior architectural expression a playful animation of outline, somewhat like depends upon these simple primary conditions. that of the early French Renaissance in the Where these high naves abut against the center châteaux, approaching even the fantastic joy- of each of the four façades, an important enousness of Chambord, combined with a cer- trance pavilion is naturally established. As for tain delicacy or preciousness of detail, which the inclosing architectural screen walls around might legitimately differentiate it from the rest the rest of the building, the interior module of in regard to expression, while, in respect to 23 feet naturally produces a corresponding general style and feeling, and in loyalty to series of divisions into bays, which must be 60 scholastic types, it should still belong to the feet high to the cornice for the sake of that unity same architectural family.
of style agreed upon for all the court buildings. The area is conveniently divisible into 23- These screen walls are hardly long enough to foot squares by two systems of parallel lines permit the arrangement of the bays in groups crossing at right angles. Upon the intersection or large divisions, without by this means drawof these lines the columns and piers of the ex- ing attention to that comparative inferiority of terior and interior are placed. This module of size which it appeared to be the obvious duty 23 feet, being somewhat less than that adopted of the architects to conceal or condone ; nor do for the other buildings, assists in carrying into the conditions of the plan suggest such groups execution that more delicate scale of design, or divisions anywhere except in the center of that nervousness of movement and avoidance each front. Each bay, therefore, is made comof massiveness, which, as we have intimated, plete in itself, and is so devised as to admit of seem to be suggested by the idea of electricity. repetition all around the building, interrupted It soon became evident that the space set aside only by such slight breaks, with variations of for this department of the Exposition, though motif, as are essential to illustrate the plan, to covering 4.85 acres, would be insufficientto meet furnish bases for frequent towers, and to prethe demands of exhibitors, unless the largest vent the monotony from becoming mechanical possible amount of floor-space which could be and fatiguing, but not of sufficient emphasis to gained within it should be made available to clash with that expression of continuity which them. This at once suggested a second story is recognized as an important element in noble of flooring, covering as large a space as the architecture, and which, in the present case, is necessary openings for the admission of day- an echo of the plan.
8 feet high, which is made continuous to prevent the composition from becoming disjointed, but having the cornice and the paneled attic above the cornice broken around them. Each pilaster, so emphasized anddetached, is finished with a pedestal upholding a staff for banners and for a constellation of electric lights, thus carrying the vertical line lightly to the sky, and securing an effect somewhat similar to that of a pinnacled buttress. This order of piers, or pilasters, is adjusted to the proportions and details of the highly enriched Corinthian of Vignola. Between each pair of pilasters the bay is divided horizontally, on the line of the gallery floor, by a subordinate Ionic entablature, supported by two jamb pilasters and by a central column of that order, the space above being treated with an arch deeply embayed. Behind this architectural screen are placed the windows, set in bronze frames. These openings occupy an unusually large proportion of the wall-veil
, because of the necessity of throwing abundant light across the five ranges of aisles in both stories. Near each end of the façades this continuity of similar open bays is relieved, or punctuated as it were, by a solid bay of the same width, but of slightly increased projection, pierced with a small window in each story, the upper one haying a balcony supported by sculptured brackets. The narrow pavilions thus formed are finished on the attic
line with highly enriched Now the horizontal line, which is the pre- pediments, and form the basis of a more emdominant characteristic of all classical build- phatic expression of vertical energy by supportings, implies dignity and repose. But the ing in each case a slender open campanile of the present object is to obtain in some way an ex- Composite order, rising suddenly from behind pression of brightness and movement. To this the balustrade of a platform, on the corners of end the piers, regularly spaced, 23 feet on cen- which are planted tall candelabra with groups ters, along the façades, are treated as boldly of electric globes. On the long fronts, midway projecting pilasters, resting upon a stylobate between each end pavilion and the central
porch, the succession of similar bays is again passing the point of demarcation furnished by broken by a postern doorway, set in a nar- the corner pavilions, is made to sweep around row intermediate and subordinate pavilion, two apsidal projections, 115 feet in diameter, crowned with a low square dome decorated between which is recessed the north porch, with eagles.
composed of two towers, similar to those of As we have already intimated, where the the east and west porches, flanking a broad transept abuts against the center of the long east central pavilion, pierced with a great arched and west fronts, an important central pavilion is developed. In pursuance of the scheme of this design, which is to take advantage of every opportunity to emphasize its vertical elements, this pavilion is flanked by two towers, one bay wide and three bays apart. Each of the towers supports an open belvedere, crowned with a high, round attic, decorated with festoons and vases, and roofed with a stilted dome, after the manner of Sir Christopher Wren. Each of these belvederes finishes with a girandole, 195 feet from the ground, furnished with a corona of incandescent lights under a reflecting canopy. Between these towers projects a flatroofed portico, composed of columns 42 feet high, continuous with the order of Corinthian pilasters of which we have spoken, arranged upon a plan with rounded corners, so that, by the necessary multiplication of breaks and returns in the entablature at the angles, the seriousness of the more classic motif might be window, corresponding with the arch-lines of tempered to the lighter mood to which the the steel trusses in the long nave, and divided architecture of this building is committed. by transoms and mullions. The sky-line beAbove is a high Composite attic with win- tween these towers is made horizontal, and the dows, set between the towers, and finishing spandrel panels of the arch are occupied by with a balustrade, decorated with obelisks. gigantic reclining figures typifying InvestigaTwenty-three feet behind this balustrade the tion and Discovery. The porch is formed by gabled end of the transept roof may be seen. the Ionic order of the façades, which is ex
The north front, toward the picturesque la- tended between the apses in the form of an goon, being, by its position, relieved to a cer- arcade of five arches supporting a wide tertain extent from strict conformity to the classic race or balcony. ideal, seemed to invite a greater freedom Up to this point, for the reasons stated, the of treatment than was admissible elsewhere. design of the Electricity Building is characterHere, therefore, the order of the façades, after ized by an emphasis of vertical expression un
DRAWN BY E. ELDON DEANE.
usual in academical architecture, the sky-line with grouped pilasters. On the main frieze of being fretted by ten campaniles, varying in this niche is written the famous epigram of Turheight from 154 to 190 feet, and by the four got in honor of Franklin: square intermediate domes, which mark the position of the posterns. But, on the south ERIPUIT COELO FULMEN SCEPTRUMQUE front, it was necessary to make a concession to that spirit of grandeur and ceremony which should prevail around the great court of the In the five bays of the niche are the main Exposition. Accordingly the vertical line, pre- doorways, three of which, in the back, open dominant elsewhere in the building as a foil to into the central nave; the other two, toward its long, low, horizontal mass, is here subordi- the front, give access to an open ambulatory or nate to the spirit of repose. To this end the portico, which forms the first story of the court campaniles on the corners are set back from frontage of the building. To this portico the the front, but connected with it by gabled pa- subordinate Ionic order of the façades is arvilions, 23 feet wide, and the principal entrance ranged to form a screen, with two detached of the building on this side is treated as a tri- columns in each bay. Upon the frieze of this umphal arch, 60 feet wide and 92 feet high, order, where it occurs in the hemicycle, appear
, of which the archivolt springs from the main the names of the most famous deceased Americornice as an impost, the jambs being formed cans connected with electricity: Henry, Morse, of coupled full columns of the main order with Franklin, Page, and Davenport; while outside, corresponding pilasters. This arch is crowned upon the same frieze, in alphabetical order all with a classic pediment containing an escutch- around the building, are the names of sixty-six eon, which bears the electromagnet as a sym- great electricians of allages and countries, whose bol of electricity, and is supported on each names have passed into history. The fame of side by a female figure representing the two living electricians must rest upon their displays principal industries connected with this science within the structure. -electric lighting and the telegraph. Above, So far as practicable, the decorations of this in contrast with the somewhat fantastic move- building are devised to suggest its uses, the ment of the sky-lines elsewhere, rises a solid conventional embellishments of the orders beelevated attic, forming a severe horizontal out- ing varied by the frequent recurrence of the line against the sky. This central mass is electromagnet and lamp, and the recesses of buttressed on each side by great consoles, the hemicycle and porticos being enriched with supporting emblematic statues and resting on color. It is intended also to illuminate and empedestals, continuous with the clearstory of blazon the architectural features at night with the nave, and embellished with medallions of an electric display of unprecedented interest Morse and Vail, the American discoverers and magnitude. of the electric telegraph. The most famous and The architectural modeling of this building most cherished association of America with the was done under a contract with the Phillipson history of the science of electricity is the dis- Decorative Company of Chicago, the sculpcovery of the electric properties of lightning by ture of the main pediment being from the hand Franklin. The architects determined, therefore, of Mr. Richard Bock of Chicago. that a statue of the patriot-philosopher should stand under this great arch, and that to him the THE suggestion which has been made that main porch on the court should be dedicated. that part of the Electricity Building toward the This work was intrusted to the Danish-Ameri- lagoon would permit of a freer treatment, by can sculptor, Mr. Carl Rohl Smith, whose con- reason of the more natural conditions in the ception of the subject is happily realized in a landscape of that region as compared with the spirited figure, 15 feet high, representing Frank- artificial character of the court, has a much lin as the philosopher, with the historic kite and larger and more important application. All the key, observing the storm-clouds. This noble buildings which we have been considering, bestatue is elevated on a high pedestal in the cen- cause they formed a distinct group,and inclosed ter of the porch, and behind and over it is an area where art was everything and nature formed a colossal niche, of which the triumphal nothing, were for obvious reasons developed acarch is the frame, covered with a half dome or cording to classic formulas. It seemed proper conch, divided by ribs, and profusely enriched that, in this entrance-court of the World's Exwith bas-reliefs, recalling, in general aspect, the position, the world should be received with a much admired hemicycle or belvedere in the formal and stately courtesy, illustrated and court of the Vatican palace, and, in detail, made intelligible by an architecture which is the characteristic stucco embellishments in the the peculiar expression and result of the highvaults of the Villa Madama. Around its curved est civilizations of history. It was like the use walls is carried the great order of the building, of the Latin language, which, by monumental