Category: Beaux Arts

National Trust for Historic Preservation’s former headquarters

Designed by Jules Henri de Sibour, an American architect who studied at Yale,but had a French father and was born in France.  Much of the best early 20th century buildings in downtown DC, and along Massachusetts Ave near DuPont Circle, and his country club in Chevy Chase,MD were the work of de Sibour,who died relatively young in 1938.

This photo is of the chimney cap DC-265-dups 18.jpgat the south end of the Mass. Ave. facade.  Almost all his buildings look like they would have been equally comfortable along any Parisian boulevard.

He was also a jock and clubman at Yale.

Decorated frieze on early 20th century chimney, Washington,DC

For a Beaux Arts architect it did not matter that the decoration could not be appreciated from the passerby on Massachusetts Ave. six floors below.  The juxtaposition of blank planes and decorated friezes on the chimney  were about hierarchy of design and space, and about an architect saying that no matter if almost no one sees it, he controls completely the smallest details as well as the biggest issues such as massing and planImage.

©Bill Lebovich, all rights reserved, 2013