During our week 5 trip of our class, we started at Washington Square park, Walked to Fifth Avenue , Greenwich Village , I.M Pei Towers , Louis Sullivan’s and walked to Soho. During our walk around these neighborhoods, it’s noticeable how different styles of Architecture affected building making and how it influenced the styles and fine details of buildings types in the 19th Century.
In the 1800’s, Plazas and Squares were created because of street intersections. Different Streets would meet each other but there was empty space left .Those empty space would become public plaza or a square that would either have sitting areas, chess table or it would honor someone who was meaningful to new york history by name or a statue. Strolling the streets you could also see the difference between the 1811 manhattan grid and some of the existing streets that weren’t renewed. The existing streets are more narrow were the grid streets are a little more spacious. Washington Square Park is one of the most popular places in New York City. But, before it became so popular was a potter’s field for the poor and cemeteries for the church of Scotch Presbyterian. Then it became a drill field for the military The arch was built to honor Goerge Washington’s 100gth Year inauguration. The marble arch stands tall and grand in the park, the characteristics of roman architecture detailed perfectly throughout the arch. Making it as captivating as ever.
Moving around the streets of greenwich village ,you notice brown street signs that indicate that you are in a historic district. A lot of the brownstones and there entrances were Europe inspired.Greek Revival style townhouses with classic tall doric , ionic or Corinthian columns. and set back doors with beautiful Italian steel craving for the gates and double sash windows with beautiful detailing. Italianate Style with low pitch flat roofs , overhanging Eaves and Tall Windows. Turning on certain streets, you can get lost in how similar it looks to europe style houses. For a second you could forget you’re in New York.
Couple blocks down, passing NYU buildings and IM Pei towers that has a resemblance of le corbusier Unité d’Habitation de Marseille because of how the windows are shaped. We stop in front of Louis Sullivan’s Bayard- Condict building, made of terracotta. Terra Cotta is one of the easiest materials to work with when doing detailed facades. Modeled off site, it’s so easy to manipulate, carve and use to your liking. Sculptural facade with great fine details makes the building so special and unique.
In the late1900’s , Cast Iron was the metal of choice. Throughout the blocks soho , the Industrialized buildings favorited by artists made Soho the cast iron district. When I picture Soho I think of Windows, that create beautiful Interior light for the many lofts that are there. There’s a consistency created by Cast iron buildings in Soho. Walking the blocks, you see a pattern and you know what to expect.
Walking Greenwich village to Soho created a timeline for me. How architecture changed, what influenced designs and detailing of facades. The different styles, and use of materials from Concrete Columns to Brick to Terra Cotta to Cast Iron.