Month: December 2016

The Exquisite Thomas T. Gaff House

Built for a Cincinnati industrialist in 1904 and designed by the prominent NYC society architect Bruce Price and the equally prominent Washington,DC society architect Jules Henri de Sibour, this house is strikingly beautiful with its steep Mansard roof, strong visual contrast between the deep red brick walls and white stone quoins, and compact yet soaring massing.

As architecturally impressive as the exterior is, it is outdone by the interior with its rich wood paneling and the sense of movement from space to space, and grand ballroom.

The building is now the Embassy of Columbia’s ambassador’s residence.

De Sibour designed many grand residences in the Embassy Row neighborhood, including 1785 Mass. Ave.,the former headquarters of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. (photograph by (c) Bill Lebovich,2016)Thomas T. Gaff House (1).jpg

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The Municipal Center, between Pa. Ave and Judiciary Square

Sculpture of two businessmen playing chess at John Marshall Place. Several of the surrounding buildings were WPA projects from the late 1930s into the early 1940s.  The Newsuem replaced the Old Public Library. But the Municipal Building, the D.C. Recorder of Deeds,both by municipal architect Nathan Wyeth, survive as does the U.S. District Court Building.   All the buildings are late, blander versions of stripped classicism of the 1930s.west side chess players.jpgDC recorder of Deed (1).jpgDC recorder of Deed 515 D St..jpgMunicipal bldg south.jpgDC recorder of Deed_DxOVP.jpg

Georgetown’s late 18th, early 19th century domestic architecture

One of the most popular rows for tourists is also one of the best rows.  The power of simple motifs repeated down the row creates a sense of harmony, rhythm, and horizontal and vertical movement.  No American architectural style achieved so much with such restraint.  In most periods, such as classical revival, Richardsonian Romanesque — all great styles, and the post modernismGeorgetownIMG_5488_DxOVP (1).jpg, architects depend on bold statements to say their design is important architecture.

Art Deco beauty in Philadelphia

This is a detail from the 1929/1930 (different sources give different dates for completion) skyscraper in downtown Philadelphia.  It has been converted from an office building to a Marriot Hotel.  Ritter & Shay were the architects.

The panels beautifully express the boldness, originality,and exuberance of the Art Deco—-at the beginning of the Great Depression.Market Street Nat. Bank.jpg