Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

ADLER & SULLIVAN, ARCHITECTS.

for the necessary protection and shadow to the plain surface of our wall, let us place upon it a boldly overhanging coping. To give dignity and apparent stability to the closure which we are considering, we then find it necessary to make our wall thick and massive, and these qualities must be illustrated in the treatment of the jambs of our openings. If the jambs are cut through at right angles, we shall make an inadequate and ineffective use of this quality of thickness or massiveness of wall; on the other hand, we shall increase the apparent depth of wall, and draw attention to it, by splaying the jambs with a series of right-angled returns, thus engendering in each opening a nest of diminishing arches, and, as it were, easing off the wall-surface at these points, as was done by the Romanesque and Gothic builders. We have already arranged that our long front shall be thirty bays long, and our end fronts eight bays long. But one of these bays must occur in the center of each front for the sake of the entrances; this will leave a half-bay at the corners. The result of this is that we have a wider pier at the ends, and by this simple device give a natural pause to the succession of arches on each front at the corners, without resorting for this purpose to the conventional end-pavilions, for which our plan does not offer sufficient

[graphic]

excuse.

But the frontage which our wall-surface has thus developed, though entirely reasonable, is low, monotonous, and mechanical in its effect. The first difficulty, in its relation to the architectural composition as a whole, we may readily remedy by exaggerating the height of our central nave, so that, from ordinary points of view, it shall be seen to disengage itself well from the ridges of the aisle-roofs which encompass it, and thus form a part of the exterior architecture. To each bay of the upper part of the clearstory, thus elevated, we give two arches, corresponding in character to the single arch in the façade, though properly smaller in scale, and, by the same reasoning, we find it essential to raise these clearstory walls higher than the eaves of the nave-roof, and to crown them with a second overhanging coping.

We have thus designed a series of wall-surfaces in what seems to us a perfectly logical manner, but, as yet, with no projections whatever to break their monotony,- no pilasters, no string-courses, no base, no moldings of any sort, and no cornice, in the usual sense,-only a blank flat wall, pierced with deep arched. openings, and protected by a boldly overhanging coping, square and uncompromising.

Now shall we make a concession to convention, and attempt to illustrate structure and use symbolically by applying projecting architectural features to our flat wall-surfaces after

[blocks in formation]
[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

academical fashion and according to Renaissance motives, thereby saying what we have to say in diplomatic language, as it were, using forms which have obtained dignity and significance because of their association with the history of civilization, of which, indeed, they are a part; or rather shall we make this flat wallsurface itself the basis of expression, avoiding words and phrases of Latin origin, and, as was done by the Saracens in the Alhambra, who worked, as we are now working, in a plastic substance, which invited molding beneath the surface rather than carving above the surface -shall we decorate these flat surfaces with repeating superficial patterns? By the latter process we may, where we require, make our planes of construction beautiful without losing

DRAWN BY A. BRENNAN.

BIT OF ORNAMENT, TRANSPORTATION BUILDING.

any of the advantages of simplicity and repose, which we are striving to secure by following rational methods. In treatments of this sort the example of Oriental nations is full of instruction, and we know the rich results obtained in this manner, not only by the Moors of Spain, but by Mohammedan art in the mosques at Cairo, and by Indian art in the tombs of Agra. We shall thus get architectural effects of light and shade, not by delicate playing with the complicated shadows and half-lights of pilasters, porticos, and molded entablatures, as in classic art, nor by the bolder chiaroscuro obtained by the buttresses, panels, and corbel-tables of medieval art, but by breaking the broadly staring sunlight on our smooth wall-surfaces with the broad black shadows of our coping, with the sharper and finer shade-lines obtained by recessing the window-reveals in a series of narrow planes, and with the regular spotted effects resulting from our spaces of superficial arabesque or fretwork. These wall-surfaces also invite a treatment by contrasts of color in masses or diapers, after the Oriental manner, thus giving opportunity for effects of festivity, which, however, need not derogate from the massiveness and breadth which seem most consistent with the fundamental character of our building.

It is a recognized principle of composition that a mass may be simplified, or even impoverished, for the sake of emphasizing by contrast a certain highly decorated point of interest. This principle seems especially applicable to our present case, because the purposes of our building do not call for an embellishment which would be appropriate in the zenana of an Indian palace, or in the tomb of an Oriental princess. The architectural virtue to be exercised in our case is self-denial rather than generosity. In the mass of our façades, therefore, we should use our facile means of decoration with great prudence, doing no more than may be necessary to make our wall respected as a work of art.

The west or rear side of our building will be completely occupied and masked by annexes; the north and south ends are so situated as

[graphic]

to make the necessary entrances at these points very subordinate: but the center of the east front, toward the Lagoon and opposite the west center of the Liberal Arts Building, must be the main portal of our design. This feature, therefore, may very properly constitute that point of architectural emphasis of which we have spoken, and to which the rest of this façade must be little more than a preparation or foil. The most majestic feature in the best art of the Mogul emperors, as in the closure of the great mosque at Delhi, or in the Taj-Mehal at Agra, is the porch. It is a flat, squaretopped, projecting wall-face, pierced with a lofty pointed arch, forming the opening of

doorway. We may cover the entire superficial area of this pavilion with a delicate embroidery of arabesques and bas-reliefs - its fronts, its returns, its recessed archways, the wallscreen which closes the opening at the back, the face and soffit of its coping, its impost, and its stylobate. We will make the whole fretted mass splendid with gilding, so that this main entrance shall be known as the "Golden Doorway." The pavilion interrupts and discontinues every horizontal line in the edifice, so that we must depend upon a sparse echo of this embroidery on our long wall-faces to bring the composition together and to secure its unity of effect. We will therefore content ourselves

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

a deep square niche, and profusely decorated with borders and spandrel panels of arabesque, and with inscriptions in inlay and superficial sculpture. It has no cornice, and frequently is finished with a parapet of lacework. Instructed by a study of these Oriental masterpieces, we may adjust them to our present use with but few modifications. The rigid, square, projecting mass, with its great arched opening, the profuse superficial decoration, and even the light characteristic kiosks or pagodas which accompanied the original, may all be reproduced here; but in order to amalgamate the whole with the work which we have already developed, it must finish with a similar bold overhanging brow, the arch must be low and round, that it may occupy a proportionate space in the face of our pavilion, and its opening must diminish inward in a succession of lessening arches in the Romanesque manner (Romanesque and Saracenic art having a common parentage at Byzantium), until the opening is reduced to dimensions practicable for a

with its use on the piers at the point where our arches spring, and on the under side of the coping. Practically the rest is left in repose to offset the splendor of the center. But in order to give a degree of movement to the hard square outlines of the pavilion, and to secure somewhat of a pyramidal effect, we support it on each side with terraces and balconies on a level with the impost of the arch, and accessible by outside stairs, and on each terrace. we build a light kiosk against the pavilion in the manner of the Mogul architects. By this somewhat playful device we hope to secure for our building an aspect of festivity more appropriate to the place and occasion than would be obtained if we were content to leave its lines all severely adjusted to rational conditions of design. In like manner, and with the same object of conferring points of interest on the long plain line of frontage, we may venture to open four small exit doors, two on each side of the central portal, with decorated architraves, and flanked by pedestals against the adjoining piers

to support groups of typical statuary. The end entrances may be constructed with low, squaretopped, projecting pavilions, highly enriched, and flanked by terraces and staircases as in the front. In the center of the nave provision is made for a competitive exhibition of transportation by elevators. These are arranged in a group around a cylindrical core, and give access, by bridges across the nave, to the second floor and to a great terrace over the central portal, and connect with observatory balconies which surround a central lantern. This is the culminating feature of the design; it is highly decorated, and completes the exterior.

We have already stated that the decoration concentrated at various points on the Trans

in the history of the world-the new birth of the mind, the revival of learning, the reformation in religious, political, and social life, which made modern civilization possible. These conventionalities, based upon ancient example, and highly organized by the discipline of the schools, are the symbols of this civilization. Such work as we see in the architectural system of the building which we have just been studying in outline may, in comparison, be considered romantic or barbaric (using the term in no derogatory sense, but as defining a condition of design outside the pale of classic authority), a product hardly less of invention than of convention, developing from within outward, and taking forms less consciously affected by his

DRAWN BY H. G. RIPLEY.

CENTRAL DOME AND PORCH OF HORTICULTURAL HALL.

portation Building is composed of arabesques. These are mostly foliations, more or less based upon regularly recurring geometrical systems, but following nature in varieties of form and principles of growth. At certain important points these arabesques are frames to figuresubjects in relief, illustrating in allegorical fashion the objects of the building. Properly to complement what we have here supposed the architects themselves might say regarding the genesis of this design, it seems desirable to add a few words of general statement and wider application.

The exact and scholarly conventionalities of Fourt buildings recall the most brilliant era

[ocr errors]

torical precedent. This assumption of freedom in the hands of uneducated men becomes license and disorder; in the hands of men of training, but without principles, it becomes insubordination, and results in clever work of mere swagger and audacity, a manifestation of personal idiosyncrasy, more or less brilliant

[graphic]

and

amusing

perhaps, but corrupting and unfruitful. With knowledge, but without genius or imagination, it becomes

merely archæological: but under favorable circumstances this romanticism may rise into a region of purity, sobriety, and elegance hardly inferior to that occupied for more than twenty centuries (allowing for the medieval interruption) by classic art. Into this region of difficult access the accomplished architects of the Transportation Building are seeking to enter with a fine, courageous spirit of duty, and the evidences of their work, not only on the Exhibition grounds, but more conspicuously in the Auditorium of Chicago, and elsewhere, are sufficient to indicate that somewhere perhaps in this dangerous field there may be a regeneration for the art of our time and country-not a re

vival of forms, but an establishing of principles, instructed rather than controlled by a spirit out of the inexhaustible past.

It is eminently fitting that in this exposition of national thought in architecture, our characteristic spirit of eager inquiry, of independent and intelligent experiment, should

[graphic]

have the fullest illustration. If our late studies in Byzantine Romanesque and Saracenic art may seem to the foreign critic merely empirical, we may be able to show that in some instances they have been carried far enough to exercise a fructifying influence in the development of style in this country, and to infuse new blood into an art which, in the hands of the graduates of our schools of design, may be in danger of becoming scholastic or exotic, and of developing forms far removed from the uses and sympathies of modern life. In fact, it is not from loyalty to ancient formulas of beauty, not from revivals or correct archæological repetitions, that the true regeneration of modern architecture must come, but from the application to modern necessities and modern structure of the principles which controlled the evolution of the pure historical styles.

LOREDO TAFT, SCULPTOR.

SLEEP OF THE FLOWERS, HORTICULTURAL HALL.

MESSRS. W. L. B. Jenney & W. B. Mundie of Chicago, architects of the Horticultural Building, have been able to occupy the beautiful site at their disposal with a magnificent frontage of 1000 feet, facing the Lagoon, the ornamental gardens and parterres of the floral department

stretching broadly between this long façade and the waterside. The extreme depth of their building-site is about 250 feet. It was evident to the architects that a building for the cultivation and exposition of growing plants must be based upon what has been found by experience to be the best form for a garden greenhouse or conservatory. The architecture of such a structure must therefore include, as a fundamental feature of design, a series of light onestoried galleries with glazed roofs, from 50 to 70 feet wide, so arranged upon the site as to

« AnkstesnisTęsti »