A writer explores Johannesburg’s maligned downtown area to find its hidden gems, including Deco. As a longtime resident of another maligned downtown (Atlanta), I totally sympathize. People make it out to be so scary when it’s not at all. -Wendy
From the article:
Once downtown has been braved though, it’s worth taking the time to look just that little bit closer at the environment around you. This is because, hidden among the profusion of alienating Brutalist structures, you’ll find some real little gems, particularly of the Art Deco variety, which hint at the affluence and grandeur of the city at the height of its gold rush heyday.
Electric Palace Theatre, Bridgport, England
Photo by Steve Roberts, Western Daily Press
Photo* from an article on the closing of a vintage 1920s cinema in England’s West Country. As with the Plaza Theatre here in Atlanta, it seems as though it might take a few owners to really get the full renovation and right mix of entertainment.
From the article (“Curtain to go down on one man’s dream”):
An art deco former cinema which saw the world premiere of Downton Abbey scriptwriter Lord Fellowes’ Young Victoria and was a rehearsal venue for singer Polly Harvey is up for sale.
The well-loved Electric Palace Theatre in Bridport goes on the market with Savills next month with a price tag of £550,000.
Owner Peter Hitchin has decided to call it a day after running the entertainment venue for the past seven years.
Mr Hitchin said: “It’s been an enjoyable business to own but it’s a ‘lifestyle’ business which needs new enthusiasm and commitment. I’m looking for the right person or company to take it over.
"I feel it would be beneficial for the Electric Palace if a younger person or persons took the business to a second stage."
* Meanwhile I’d just like to say, I think this guy might be the next Doctor Who.
Kelenföld Power Station, Budapest, Hungary
Photo by Jennifer Walker, Slate
Jaw-dropping 1930s power station in Hungary.
From the article (which includes several more great images):
Hidden in Budapest’s XI District, on the banks of the Danube in the unfashionable side of Buda, lies an iconic monument symbolizing the dawn of the electrical age. Once Europe’s most advanced power station, the semi-abandoned and now privately owned site in Kelenföld celebrates its 100th birthday this year.
Kelenföld Power Station is not only a technological marvel, having supplied a large chunk of the city with electricity as far back as 1914, but it’s also one of the masterpieces in industrial design.
Two architects, Kálmán Reichl and Virgil Borbíro, designed the old buildings of the power plant, which under the Hungarian law means they will never be demolished, but neither will they be restored. You can see the slow decay in parts of the building, which only enhances their beauty in a bittersweet, tragic manner, since they will only continue to deteriorate over time. The old part of the Kelenföld Power Station is no longer supplying the city’s electricity, but it’s frequently used in films and music videos, most recently as a steampunk power room in NBC’s Dracula TV series.
So next month I’ll be attending the 2014 HighEdWeb Conference in Portland, Oregon (never been, BTW). The conference is for professionals dealing with unique web issues facing colleges and universities.
This year I’m actually presenting, doing a session on the potential of Tumblr to assist higher ed. institutions to bring their assets — like photos, archival material, artwork, etc. — to the masses. (More on my session here.) I’ll also be doing a poster session having to do with Storify and how communications / marketing pros can use it to show off their work.
Anyway, wanted to mention that and also say, I hope I can get the follower county up to 24,000 before it starts, and I also urge people to pin themselves on my Deco fans map (instructions here) so I can show off what just a single person (let alone a university) can do as far as reaching people with a common interest. I still can’t believe so many people follow this on Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter.
Metropolitan Hall, Rockford, Illinois
via Rockford Register Star
Article on the renovation of a building which dates to the Civil War era but whose layers of history include a 1930s Vitrolite facade.
Caption for this photo:
Hank Falkenberg of St. Louis, Missouri, trims excess caulking while installing salvaged Vitrolite on the facade of a building Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, in the 400 block of East State Street in Rockford.
From the article:
Metropolitan Hall, a 19th Century Italianate building that opened as a downtown civic meeting hall, will keep its 20th Century art deco sheen after a historic restoration turns it into eight 21st century luxury lofts and retail frontage.
That’s because a building’s history evolves in historic layers and some of them are significant.
A black glass facade on Metropolitan Hall brought an important style to 408 E. State St., where Bill Peterson Clothiers sold suits and accessories to stylish men.
The glass, known as Vitrolite, represents an era when new building materials and architectural tastes reshaped many U.S. main streets. It’s the kind of trend federal historic preservation policies seek to protect when it issues federal historic tax credits to developers like Urban Equity Properties, which owns the building.
Wallaw Cinema, Blythe, Northumberland, England
via The Journal
1930s theater in a coastal town an hour north of Newcastle upon Tyne has been converted to a pub.
From a local news article:
Wetherspoons converted… art deco cinema, the listed Wallaw in Blyth in Northumberland , which opened as a pub in December.
“The Wallaw has been a great success,” said Mr Hutson. “Wetherspoon has converted a number of former cinemas into its pubs and the aim is always to preserve the building itself so that the history of the former cinema is retained.
“This is our aim with the planned pub for Wallsend too.”
The Wallaw had stood empty since 2004, before being bought by Wetherspoon for £225,000. It was the work of the North East firm of Percy Lindsay Browne, with the auditorium and foyers designed by Charles Harding, a graduate from the Glasgow School of Art.
The Wallaw, named after its owner Walter Lawson, opened on November 16, 1937. It also operated as a theatre, where Ant and Dec made their stage debut in the 1980s.
Ritz Cinema, Wallsend, England
via The Journal
It doesn’t look like much from the outside right now, but an old Deco cinema in Wallsend, near Newcastle upon Tyne will be transformed into a pub.
From the local news article:
The J D Wetherspoon chain has been granted planning permission by North Tyneside councillors for the revamp of the what was the Ritz cinema on High Street West in Wallsend.
The cinema opened in 1939 and closed in 1962.
Until 2011, was operated by Mecca as a bingo hall. It has since remained empty.
Wetherspoons will now invest £1.8m in bringing the building back to life, which will include restoring the art deco frontage.
Meanwhile a nearby cinema was converted in a similar fashion recently, to success. I’ll be posting pics of that next.)
Josephine Apartments (Demolished), Houston, Texas
via the Houston Chronicle
In heartbreaking news, as of Tuesday, this small 1930s apartment complex is gone.
From the Chronicle:
The 1930s-era Josephine Apartments, an art deco complex in a tree-lined neighborhood near Rice University, were torn down by builders Tuesday to be replaced by townhomes…
The complex was built in 1939 by architect F. Perry Johnson with eight one-bedroom units arrayed in a U shape, a floor plan common to that period. The exterior was notable for horizontal bands of dark brown brick on the sides and parapets to mask the roof. The units, roughly 750 square feet each, had hardwood floors and faux fireplaces. The original owners had it built with central air conditioning to make the units more marketable.
Odeon Cinema, Sydney, Australia
via Daily Telegraph
Photo from a feature on a one-screen theater in Sydney — quite a survivor. It reminds me of the Plaza Theatre here in Atlanta.
From the article:
In a world where bigger is better, one of Sydney’s humblest, smallest cinemas is proving the exception to the rule.
Hornsby’s 490-seat Odeon Cinema, the only single-screen cinema left in Sydney, marks its 100th year this year.
Manager David Stone says the secret to the art-deco cinema’s success is “knowing your audience”.
“You have to pick the right film every time, especially when you’ve only got one screen,” he said.
The Odeon opened on the Pacific Hwy in 1914 as ‘Hornsby Cinema’ with the foyer on street level and the big screen likely featuring some of Charlie Chaplin’s finest work.
It was rebuilt in 1921 and again in the 1930s when art deco was at the forefront of building design.