I love looking up at architectural details. I love the details themselves– the different styles and eras, the different materials, shapes, sizes, choices. I love that the act of looking up, away from the path you’re taking, lets you see something unexpected, that can make you stop. But most importantly, I love the aesthetic, which often seems forgotten today, that dictates the adornment of public building. It goes beyond my assumption that the decoration is there for the sake of increasing the reputation of the original building’s owner/commissioner. I think that aesthetic extends to a once-held public belief that all aspects of our lives were worth formalizing, decorating, making look their best.
Maybe it’s too expensive to design or execute such “ornate” details any longer. Maybe it’s considered out of “style” by modern architects or engineers. But I consider these older buildings to be the constructed equivalent of a handsome man or woman in a natty suit, with coordinating pocket square or scarf or pin, and a jaunty fedora or shawl, topped off with a boutonniere. I appreciate that they took the time to do themselves up well, for their own sake, and I appreciate the respect that their dress denotes toward all with whom they interact. In comparison. the glass and concrete towers of today seem like pretentious, immature, black-clad models wearing ill-placed slashes of red lipstick meant to shock, lining the walls of a gallery opening where they don’t belong. And anyway? I love carven acanthus leaves.
More Love Thursday submissions can be found here.