Art Deco Architecture

The Old Modern - Then and Now

Posts tagged historic preservation

78 notes &

Grace Building, Sydney, Australia from the State Library of New South Wales
Deco-gothic skyscraper in Sydney. 
The Wikipedia entry for the building shows it’s had a distinguished history, originally a department store and these days a luxury hotel:

The Grace Building is a historic building located in Sydney, New South Wales Australia on York Street. Designed by Morrow & Gordon and built by Kell & Rigby during the late 1920s, it was opened in 1930 by Grace Brothers, the Australian department store magnates, as their headquarters. “The building was designed to use the first two storeys in the manner of a department store. The remaining storeys were intended to provide rental office accommodation for importers and other firms engaged in the softgoods trade”. Inspired by the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower in Chicago—headquarters of the Chicago Tribune[4]—the building was of the Art Deco architectural style and had state-of-the-art innovations and facilities for the time.
The Grace Building was sublet to the Australian Commonwealth government in the early 1940s and later became the Sydney headquarters of the U.S. armed forces under General Douglas MacArthur during the Pacific War. After World War II, it continued to be used for government administration purposes[1] and was compulsorily acquired by the Commonwealth in November 1945.
Extensive renovation and restoration during the 1990s resulted in the return of many of the building’s original features, including light fittings, lifts, stairwells, high pressed-metal ceilings, marble floors, wide hallways, and elegant decorative ironwork.
The Grace Building was listed on the Register of the National Estate in 1980 and placed on the NSW State Heritage Register in 1999. The building was purchased for redevelopment in 1995 by the Low Yat Group of Malaysia. Since June 1997, it has operated as a luxury hotel known as “the Grace Sydney”.

Grace Building, Sydney, Australia
from the State Library of New South Wales

Deco-gothic skyscraper in Sydney. 

The Wikipedia entry for the building shows it’s had a distinguished history, originally a department store and these days a luxury hotel:

The Grace Building is a historic building located in Sydney, New South Wales Australia on York Street. Designed by Morrow & Gordon and built by Kell & Rigby during the late 1920s, it was opened in 1930 by Grace Brothers, the Australian department store magnates, as their headquarters. “The building was designed to use the first two storeys in the manner of a department store. The remaining storeys were intended to provide rental office accommodation for importers and other firms engaged in the softgoods trade”. Inspired by the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower in Chicago—headquarters of the Chicago Tribune[4]—the building was of the Art Deco architectural style and had state-of-the-art innovations and facilities for the time.

The Grace Building was sublet to the Australian Commonwealth government in the early 1940s and later became the Sydney headquarters of the U.S. armed forces under General Douglas MacArthur during the Pacific War. After World War II, it continued to be used for government administration purposes[1] and was compulsorily acquired by the Commonwealth in November 1945.

Extensive renovation and restoration during the 1990s resulted in the return of many of the building’s original features, including light fittings, lifts, stairwells, high pressed-metal ceilings, marble floors, wide hallways, and elegant decorative ironwork.

The Grace Building was listed on the Register of the National Estate in 1980 and placed on the NSW State Heritage Register in 1999. The building was purchased for redevelopment in 1995 by the Low Yat Group of Malaysia. Since June 1997, it has operated as a luxury hotel known as “the Grace Sydney”.

Filed under grace building sydney art deco architecture 1920s architecture australia historic preservation adaptive reuse

220 notes &

Lobby, 140 West Street, NYC, New YorkPhoto by Michael Nagle for the New York Times
Utterly stunning lobby. Photo from a NYT article on adaptive reuse of historic buildings. As a resident of a 101-year-old former office building, I totally support this. -Wendy 
From the article, which appeared in July

But the 31-story Verizon building at 140 West Street, across from One World Trade Center in the financial district, may be the grandest of the bunch.
The full-block 1927 edifice, which like the other two phone buildings was designed by Ralph Walker, a prominent Art Deco architect, has an exterior lavishly decorated with carvings of vines, flowers and birds; it is a landmark, as is its vividly finished lobby, whose walls are trimmed in gold paint.
Upstairs, the developers the Magnum Real Estate Group and the CIM Group are adding 161 condos, from one- to five-bedrooms, in a project called Barclay Square, which will have the address of 100 Barclay Street, after the developers create a new entrance out of a loading bay.
The units are expected to hit the market in September, for $2,100 to $3,000 a square foot, said Ben Shaoul, Magnum’s president, although the offering plan for the $500 million project still awaits approval.
Phone companies need less equipment these days, but Verizon isn’t leaving completely; it will retain Floors 1 to 10 in a sharing arrangement similar to the Walker and Stella towers.
But to offer 47,000 square feet of amenity space, Magnum will avail itself of about half of that gilded lobby, which will be walled off and turned into a lounge. Residents will be able to enjoy their morning coffee, Mr. Shaoul said, under murals of the history of communication. One painting on the condo’s side shows a megaphone-carrying Egyptian. “You couldn’t build a space like this today,” he said.

Lobby, 140 West Street, NYC, New York
Photo by Michael Nagle for the New York Times

Utterly stunning lobby. Photo from a NYT article on adaptive reuse of historic buildings. As a resident of a 101-year-old former office building, I totally support this. -Wendy 

From the article, which appeared in July

But the 31-story Verizon building at 140 West Street, across from One World Trade Center in the financial district, may be the grandest of the bunch.

The full-block 1927 edifice, which like the other two phone buildings was designed by Ralph Walker, a prominent Art Deco architect, has an exterior lavishly decorated with carvings of vines, flowers and birds; it is a landmark, as is its vividly finished lobby, whose walls are trimmed in gold paint.

Upstairs, the developers the Magnum Real Estate Group and the CIM Group are adding 161 condos, from one- to five-bedrooms, in a project called Barclay Square, which will have the address of 100 Barclay Street, after the developers create a new entrance out of a loading bay.

The units are expected to hit the market in September, for $2,100 to $3,000 a square foot, said Ben Shaoul, Magnum’s president, although the offering plan for the $500 million project still awaits approval.

Phone companies need less equipment these days, but Verizon isn’t leaving completely; it will retain Floors 1 to 10 in a sharing arrangement similar to the Walker and Stella towers.

But to offer 47,000 square feet of amenity space, Magnum will avail itself of about half of that gilded lobby, which will be walled off and turned into a lounge. Residents will be able to enjoy their morning coffee, Mr. Shaoul said, under murals of the history of communication. One painting on the condo’s side shows a megaphone-carrying Egyptian. “You couldn’t build a space like this today,” he said.

Filed under art deco architecture 1930s architecture nyc new york city manhattan adaptive reuse historic preservation nyc real estate real estate

3 notes &

Electric Palace Theatre, Bridgport, EnglandPhoto 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.

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.

Filed under art deco architecture electric palace theatre 1920s architecture bridgport england west country historic preservation theater preservation

6 notes &

Metropolitan Hall, Rockford, Illinoisvia 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.

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.

Filed under art deco architecture 1930s architecture historic preservation vitrolite rockford

62 notes &

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.

Filed under art deco architecture 1930s architecture adaptive reuse historic preservation blythe northumberland

17 notes &

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.)

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.)

Filed under art deco architecture 1930s architecture historic preservation adaptive reuse wallsend newcastle upon tyne pub

29 notes &

Josephine Apartments (Demolished), Houston, Texasvia 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.
(More…)

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.

(More…)

Filed under art deco architecture historic preservation houston texas demolition apartments apartment building 1930s architecture

10 notes &

Admiral Semmes Hotel, Mobile, Alabamavia AL.com
Development news out of Mobile, Alabama. Via AL.com:

Point Clear has The Grand, downtown Mobile has the Battle House — and if all goes as planned, there will be another exquisite historic hotel in the area. Thrash Development, the new owners of the Admiral Semmes Hotel plan to renovate the hotel, anchoring its design in the building’s 1940s art deco roots.
The 170-room hotel at 251 Government St. has been upgraded over the years, but developers say this time it will be much more extensive. The idea is to turn the property into a boutique hotel, said Walker Thrash, president and managing member of the Hattiesburg, Miss.-based company. 

Admiral Semmes Hotel, Mobile, Alabama
via AL.com

Development news out of Mobile, Alabama. Via AL.com:

Point Clear has The Grand, downtown Mobile has the Battle House — and if all goes as planned, there will be another exquisite historic hotel in the area. Thrash Development, the new owners of the Admiral Semmes Hotel plan to renovate the hotel, anchoring its design in the building’s 1940s art deco roots.

The 170-room hotel at 251 Government St. has been upgraded over the years, but developers say this time it will be much more extensive. The idea is to turn the property into a boutique hotel, said Walker Thrash, president and managing member of the Hattiesburg, Miss.-based company. 

Filed under architecture historic preservation mobile alabama

16 notes &

For a taste of Art Deco, head to New Zealand’s Napier

From Canada’s Globe and Mail, a write-up of Napier, New Zealand, which has one of the largest concentration of Art Deco architecture in the world.

In total, about 160 buildings (140 of which remain) were erected in the Art Deco style, led by Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced architect Louis Hay, and when construction was complete, Napier held a carnival celebrating the birth of what they called the most modern town in the world.

Filed under art deco architeture napier new zealand historic preservation 1930s architecture