Monday, August 1, 2016

En Plein Air: Facade of a New York Apartment Building (Oil, 9 x 12)

A high percentage of New Yorkers live in this kind of hundred-year-old brown-brick apartment buildings. Some of them are better-maintained than the others. As far as their structural design is concerned, they are more or less similar. What piques my interest about those buildings is their facades. It seems that architects of more than one hundred years ago had some concerns about how all the monotonously brown buildings would impact people's emotions and spirits and some of them made it an issue to add a little enrichment or variety to the buildings when they were designing so that their residents might not feel depressed by the boring urban conformity in the building they lived in. Most of them appeared to be focused on the facade of the building. It is understandable because having a beautiful facade was more economically acceptable than do something to the whole building. You could tell from the facade some building designers made an effort to express their personal taste or creativity. Like this one on Austin St., the designer added a big slanting roof and two castle tower windows. To make a change to the solid brown brick wall, the top floor of the two wings at the entrance were made to look like a Tudor house. Underneath the top floor, bay windows were added. It does look much better with the embellishment.

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