Monday, January 31, 2011

Footscray Town Hall

Footscray Town Hall

Joseph Plottel designed the former City of Footscray Town Hall, now also known as the Maribyrnong Town Hall, to replace an older Town Hall dating from 1875. The building was opened by the Governor, Lord Huntingfield in November 1936 and it was described at the time in the souvenir programme as being treated after the Romanesque manner.

Footscray Town Hall

While I can appreciate it as a fine building I don't especially like the decoration. Too busy for my taste, however, the entry in the Victorian Heritage Register talks of some contemporary Moderne styled interiors so no doubt I will have to go back and take a look inside.


I did like the pair of standard lights in front of the entrance at the footpath. I wouldn't call them Deco but sit on a rounded brick column at the end of a stepped wall. Each one carries a small rectangular plague on its base proclaiming DONATED BY FOOTSCRAY BRANCH AUSTRALIAN NATIVES ASSOCIATION TO COMMEMORATE THEIR JUBILEE 1886 TO 1936. I like that.

Wall, Footscray Town Hall

Footscray Town Hall, VHR H1218

Sunday, January 30, 2011

St Aubins, South Yarra

St Aubins, South Yarra

St Aubins on Punt Road, South Yarra is a typical Melbourne block of flats.

Three storeys because that was the maximum allowed without the requirement to install a lift and brick is used for the structure and for the design elements because Melbourne had a lot of brickworks.

Perhaps the slightly unusual aspect is the glass in the tower housing the stairwell. Often this would be glass bicks but here there is a lovely etched glass pattern perhaps more commonly found in private houses.

St Aubins, South Yarra

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Victory Lounge, Durban

Victory Lounge, DurbanThe Victory Lounge has been a landmark on this Durban corner, Grey and Victoria Streets, since 1946.

The building may have seen better days but it is great to see the original business still there.

No prizes for picking the portholes and squat flagpole as my favourite parts.

Victory Lounge, Durban

Victory Lounge website

Friday, January 28, 2011

555 and 559 Punt Road, South Yarra

555 & 559 Punt Rd, South YarraAn interesting pair of flats in Punt Road, South Yarra. 555, on the left, is a much cut-down version of 559, I presume, to allow for the driveway through to the garages are the rear of the property.

The brickwork under the aeves and above the windows looks identical. The windows are similar but larger at 555. But I wonder why the doors at 555 have porthole windows and 559 doesn't. Perhaps they are newer, perhaps all of 555 is newer!

559 Punt Rd, South Yarra

559 Punt Rd, South Yarra

555 Punt Rd, South Yarra

555 Punt Rd, South Yarra

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Barton House, Plymouth

Dragon Mart, PlymouthI wrote about this building in October 2008 and at the time I knew nothing more about the building than I could see in the photo which I had taken sometime in 2000-01.

Subsequently, I found out that it was known as Barton House in Colin Campbell Court. Originally it was a car showroom/garage for a dealer caled Barton and since my photo has been a Mothercare store and, I think, a Habitat store.

At one point I thought it had been demolished. Happily I was wrong.

Today I see on the BBC Devon website that the building will feature in an interesting art project from 31 March - 9 April this year.

As part of Plymouth's Hidden City Festival, theatre company Part Exchange Co will present a performance guiding people through the history of the building. Colin Campbell Court car park will be set up like a drive-in movie theatre for the audience to watch the show from the comfort of their cars.

No doubt it will be an interesting event. Unlike America and Australia, Britain does not have a history of drive-in theatres so it could be a first-time experience for many of the audience.

BBC Devon, Plymouth's Drive In Deco unveiled
Hidden City website, Drive In Deco

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Star Cinema, Portland

Star Cinema, PortlandThis is the Star Cinema in Portland, Victoria.

I especially like the upper floor windows in this old cinema. If you look carefully has three bars across the middle of the glass panes. You can see them better in the photo at the bottom of this article.

I also like the incised lines at the top and bottom of the windows. At the two small windows at the top of the building the start at the edge of the window and proceed towards the outer walls so that they don't cross the space where the fin sits on the facade.

On the other hand, the incised lines at the windows on the lower level cover almost the entire width of the building extending past the edge of the windows and seem to provide, at least visually, a base for the fin.

Star Cinema, Portland

Monday, January 24, 2011

2301 Chestnut St, Marina

2301 Chestnut St, Marina

2301 Chestnut St is on the wrong side of the street as far as I am concerned. While the beautiful deco buildings on the other side were bathed in sunlight, this side was in shadow. Worse, to take a picture, I was looking directly into the sun.

It is a nice building, dating from 1931 by Alex Stern, and luckily it is on a corner so I was able to grab this shot of the Art Deco details.

Otherwise I would have had to make do with something like this.

2301 Chestnut St, Marina

Deco by the Bay: Art Deco Architecture in the San Francisco Bay Area ~ Michael F Crowe

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Chicago Federation of Musicians

Chicago Federation of Musicians

This is the Chicago Federation of Musicians, taken in 2001. You can just make out the name along the top of the building.

The best deco features on the exterior are the three music related friezes above the first floor windows.

Detail, Chicago Federation of Musicians

Detail, Chicago Federation of Musicians

Detail, Chicago Federation of Musicians

Friday, January 21, 2011

Royal Hotel, Footscray

Royal Hotel. FootscrayWhen I was in Footscray the other day I noticed that the Royal Hotel on the corner of Barkly & Droop Sts has been reduced to a shell. It hasn't been looking that good for a few years. Even when I wrote about it in September 2008 including a photo circa 2005 (below) it looked like the paintwork had not been completed.

I believe it will be developed as shops and apartments.

Royal Hotel, Footscray

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Shop 105, Footscray

Shop 105, Footscray

The mall in Nicholson St, Footscray is a bit of a rundown part of town and this is typical of the general state of some of the shops in the strip.

I don't know if it is an altered front on an older shop and no doubt it has seen better days but with a lick of paint it could be so good again.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bay Bridge, San Francisco

Bay Bridge, San FranciscoWhen it was built in 1936, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was something of a design marvel.

To span the gap between San Francisco and Oakland two separate spans connecting to Yerba Bueno Island (YBI) were required.

The West Span in the deep waters of San Francisco as suspension bridge was needed, in fact two suspension bridges. That's one of them in my photo.

The East Span required a truss-cantilever design to cover the shallow mudflats closer to Oakland.

Then as if that wasn't enough, there needed to ba a tunnel, a 76ft wide tunnel, on YBI to connect the two spans.

I think that qualifies as a design marvel.

Bay Bridge History, The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge website

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Building in Kent

A Building in KentI found an old disk the other day with some photos on it including this one.

It was in a folder called Kent so I know which English County it was taken in and therefore it was around 2000-01.

That, however, is all I can tell you.

Does anyone recognise it?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Town Hall, Campbell Town

Campbell Town Town Hall"I am sure this building with its memorial tower will be a wonderful landmark between the two principal cities of this state for many years to come."

These are the words of Sir Ernest Clark, Governor of Tasmania, on Friday 28 October 1939 at the opening of the new Town Hall at Campbell Town.

It was built by local builders W Lockett and Sons on land donated by Miss Leake whose family were among the founders of Campbell Town. Mr W Lockett snr spoke at the opening saying that this building capped of his 51 year career in Campbell Town and he was now leaving it to his three sons and three grandsons to carry on.

Mr Roy Smith from the Launceston architects, East, Roy Smith & Willing also spoke at the opening thanking the Governor and city representatives for their complimentary references to the architecture.

Campbell Town Town Hall

It may not surprise you to learn that the memorial tower was added after the building had already been designed.

Dr Walter Henry Tofft settled in Campbell Town in 1891 having been educated at Hobart High School and Edinburgh University and then serving as resident physician at the Edinburgh Infirmary and the Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

In Campbell Town he was Warden of the municipality for 12 years and was a executive member of several local and state trusts and institutions. He was the district health officer and medical officer at the hospital for 24 years. He established a hospital for the tuberculosis in the Tasmanian Midlands which closed due to his absence serving in the AIF Medical Services in WWI. At the conclusion of the war he was awarded an MBE.

Dr Tofft died at his residence Brookdale on Sunday 29 January 1939.

A meeting in Campbell Town on Saturday evening 6 May 1939 finalised the arrangements for the erection of a clock tower as a memorial to Dr Tofft. The cost would be met by public subscription and £220 of the estimated £250 had already been raised.

The tower looks, as it was, added on. The construction of the hall started in November the previous year so it was not just a matter of altering plans, so all things taken into account, I don't think they did a bad job.

The Midlands, The Launceston Examiner, Monday 14 November 1938, p8
Obituary: Dr WH Tofft, The Launceston Examiner, Monday 30 January 1939, p6
Memorial Tower Decided On, The Launceston Examiner, Monday 8 May 1939, p8
New Campbell Town Hall, The Launceston Examiner, Saturday 28 October 1939, p9
Landmark in Country, The Hobart Mercury, Saturday 28 October 1939, p10

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Climar, Campbell Town

Climar, Campbell TownIf you take you car across from Port Melbourne to Tassie on the Spirit with the plan to make your way to Hobart via Launceston along the Midland Highway you will almost certainly see Climar, this fantastic streamline house in Campbell Town.

[A big thank you to Thomas at Art Deco & Modernism Tasmania for correcting my Tasmanian geographic faux pas (see comments below)].

Climar has musical notes on the low fence and a bridge makes up part of the path to the front door. Two sets of steps lead to the verandah/porch and the curving form of the house itself.

Climar, Campbell TownI find the random variety of bricks use to build the house very interesting. I wonder if they were recycled from demolished buildings?

And even through a few panes have been replaced, the scene on the etched glass windows depicting a yacht sailing on a bay or lake with eucalypus trees on the shore and a trio of swans paddling in the shallows (bottom left).

Climar, Campbell Town

Monday, January 10, 2011

Onondaga County War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse

Onondaga County War Memorial Auditorium, SyracuseThe Onondaga County War Memorial Auditorium is a Modernist concrete building is Syracuse, NY. It was designed by Edgarton & Edgarton and built between 1949 and 1951.

Around the exterior the names of military conflicts have been incised into the walls in chunky block lettering. Only the US flags over the doorways provide colour against the gray concrete.

Onondaga County War Memorial Auditorium, Syracuse

Onondaga County War Memorial, wikipedia

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Fuller Building, New York

Fuller Building, New YorkThe Fuller Building in E 57th Street, built 1928-29, was designed by architects Walker & Gillette.

The Fuller Construction Company had a previous building in New York City. The earlier one was designed by Daniel Burnham and built in 1902. It was meant to carry the name Fuller Building but because of its unusual shape it was called the Flatiron Building and remains so today, a major NYC landmark.

With the 1928-29 building, the Fuller Construction Company built the name into the decoration above the entrance and it has outlived the company and is still known as The Fuller Building today.

Above the name, two figures seem to rest contentedly on the city they have just completed and the decoration in the foyer also includes various tools of the building trade. Very fitting for a construction company.

Fuller Building, A View on Cities website
Flatiron Building, A View on Cities website

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Australian Furniture Timbers, Port Melbourne

Australian Furniture Timbers, Port MelbourneThis modest Art Deco warehouse or factory building is in Plummer Street, Port Melbourne.

Note the band of thin, dark bricks across the front of the building. The same bricks are used as a border around the entrance and as decoration above and on each sides of the windows.

The lintel above the doorway carries the name of the business, Australian Furniture Timbers and the building is 'anchored' to the ground with a row of dark bricks angled to create a slopping ledge.

Australian Furniture Timbers, Port Melbourne

The decorative highlight, however, like the gate in yesterday's post, is the metalwork. In this case, the grills on the windows are stunning.

Australian Furniture Timbers, Port Melbourne

Friday, January 7, 2011

27 Peterleigh Grove, Essendon

27 Peterleigh Grove

I've previously posted articles about No 5 and No 34 Peterleigh Grove, an amazing street in the Melbourne suburb of Essendon where most of the houses were built between 1939 and 1943.

This is No 27.

As with other houses in the street, No 27 employs different sized and different coloured bricks to provide decoration. Note the dark top of the chimney and the porch, the band with a central feature across the front of the porch and a similar band above the corner window. There is also the window sill, the base of the columns of the porch and the two horizontal bands running around the middle of the wall.

The standard size of the cream bricks is used to create the stepped arches leading to the front door.

The brick gatepost echoes some of the features seen in the house; the dark base, the thin dark capping and the dark middle block.

Very quickly, however, your eyes alight on the simple clean lines of the metal gate.

Art Deco in the Western Suburbs tour booklet, Art Deco and Modernism Society

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

99 S Van Ness, San Francisco

99 S Van Ness, San FranciscoThis huge public storage facility is at the intersection of South Van Ness Avenue and 12th Street, San Francisco.

The building dates from 1935 and besides some wonderful Art Deco decoration on towers at each end and at the obtuse corner where the roads meet, it also has a lighthouse or lookout tower.

99 S Van Ness, San Francisco

99 S Van Ness, San Francisco

Deco by the Bay: Art Deco Architecture in the San Francisco Bay Area ~ Michael F Crowe

Monday, January 3, 2011

Light Buildings, Adelaide

Light Buildings, AdelaideThe Light Buildings, Adelaide stand in Light Square, named in honour of William Light (1786 - 1839) who surveyed and planned the original layout for Adelaide. Light is buried in the square and it could be that the buildings were constructed around the centenary of his death in 1939 but that is pure supposition on my part.

While the flagpole and lettering on the tower are probably original, I doubt that the decals of the naked women are.

Light Buildings, Adelaide

Light, William (1786-1839), Australian Dictionary of Biography - Online Edition

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Beacon Theatre, South Fremantle

Beacon Theatre, South FremantleThis is the former Beacon Theatre on the corner of Wray Avenue and Hampton Road in South Fremantle.

The theatre was built in 1937 and designed by architect Samuel Rosenthal. As you can see it was a video store when I visited several years ago and at some point before that it was converted into a supermarket and run by the Stammers family.

The building is classified by the National Trust and is a landmark in South Fremantle.

The Beacon Theatre in South Fremantle, by Paul Weaver
Beacon Theatre, Places Database, Heritage Council of WA

Saturday, January 1, 2011

former Commonwealth Bank of Australia Building, Melbourne

former CBA, Melbourne

The former Commonwealth Bank building at 225 Bourke St, Melbourne was designed by W Henderson and constructed 1939-1941.

former CBA, Melbourne

Commonwealth Bank: 225 Bourke Street, MELBOURNE, Walking Melbourne