Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dinning under Athos Menaboni's Eggshell Mural

When you visit Decatur's Brick Store Pub, look up.

It's one of my favorite pieces of public art.

One of the daughters enjoys the Brick Store, particularly the chicken salad sandwich. So Mom and I ate there for our Friday dinner date. We had arugula salad and fish 'n' chips if you are wondering.

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We ate smack dab under the center panel of  "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" a 27 foot mural by Athos Menaboni.

The DeKalb History Center moved it here in June but I'd forgotten.

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It looks great up there, though my pictures don't show it well.

"This large piece includes 15 mosaic panels created from about 3,000 eggshells! Mills B. Lane, Jr., then president of The Citizens and Southern Bank, commissioned Athos Menaboni to create this piece for the lobby of the C&S Emory branch (1237 Clairmont Road) in 1958. The mosaic is divided into three pictorial panels with two title panels of Japanese Nakora wood creating a triptych. The title panels read, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”" - Dekalb History Center.

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For the longest time it was behind the tellers at Decatur First Bank where I went once a week on business. How many times? 200? 300? I don't remember.

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Have you noticed? These days bank interiors are maimed by banal corporate marketing. Sun Trust is the worst. Every bank has the same pictures that tie in with the TV ads. The effect is that you don't look at anything.

(It's a shame. Wouldn't it be great if our local banks has something, you know, local?)

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At first I thought it was sentimental and I guess it is. But over time I fell in love with it. I enjoyed it more each time.

Early this year Decatur First got bought out. They closed the Commerce Drive branch. I lost a good friend and didn't even say goodbye.

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Thanks the Dekalb History Center and the Brick Store for getting us back together.

Attention Architecture Tourists. Athos Menaboni created more public art in Atlanta.

Next time you are in the Rhodes Haverty Building look up.

Look up.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Demolition Alert: Hapeville's Old Stone Church may be gone on Monday

Perhaps my fellow architecture tourists can visit Hapeville this Sunday before it's too late. If you can help, I want to hear from you.

The 1923 granite church building was all but abandoned. But it didn't cause much trouble until the roof collapsed last winter. It's Hapeville First Baptist's old stone church and it may be a goner, gone even before you read this.

A group has gathered to save it. I hope they can delay demolition long enough to find a solution. But these are difficult problems.

I stumbled on to it in the spring of 2011. It was like discovering a ruin in the forest. You can see the airport from here but it's not on the way to anywhere even for most Hapevillians.

Even in ruin it's an impressive sight. And I'm a sentimental man: Imagine the christenings, the baptisms, the music, the weddings, the funerals here.

This is from 1954. The portico was still there, and the stained glass. Image purchased from the Atlanta History Center.

The neighbors saw it like this in the spring.

Maybe not love at first sight but certainly fascination at first sight.

Yesterday I saw the shadows of the trusses. How much of the roof is still up there?

First Baptist built beautiful new buildings in 1964.



The designers / architects did  fine job of blending old and new..

It's a an amazingly quiet and human scaled property and it's right on the street. This 28 second video shows what it's like from the sidewalk.

I hope there will be much more to this story. Thanks.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Rick Anderson said I should see the Prickett Chapel

Last Wednesday I found myself following the security guard's truck. I was looking for the open air chapel and I was lost.

The day before I'd asked landscape architect Richard Anderson what I should see. He said, "The chapel at Westminster." So There I was.

It's the Barbara Johnson Prickett Chapel at Westminster-School Atlanta. If you aren't from Atlanta, Westminster is among the most pretentious private schools in Atlanta. The campus is wooded, hilly, and beautiful.

The security gaurd led me to the driveway of the president's house and there was the chapel, modest and picturesque.

It's new, dedicated April 19, 2010, but the building technology is ancient.

Just 4 rows of pews.

It's open air.

It doesn't impress with size or decorative details. It's the stones.


It's the stones.

You can see it all in a few minutes. But the longer you look, the more you see.

Slow down and linger.

Look up to see the scissor beams. The ceiling reveals its age, needs another 100 years of patina.

Look up to see the inscriptions.

The roof slate is all shadow grids and diagonals.

Smooth, variegated, rough beveled edges, craftsmanship galore.

They built it in New York, and shipped it to Atlanta for reassembly.
"The chapel consists of eight arches made from Adirondack granite and a twenty-seven foot granite tower located at the rear of the building. Originally commissioned to Terry Lamphere, the Westminster Chapel was primarily carved by Alan M. Webster Jr and Curt vonSchilgen. All stone is granite from the Adirondack region in upstate New York."

The tower door is in shadows. Make sure to give it a good look.

Look closely.

Thanks to Rick for the suggestion. Thanks to the kind Westminster guard for showing me the way.

Nota bene:  Rick Anderson did the landscape design pro bono. He didn't ask me to blog it. My impression:  I didn't "notice" the landscape. Chapel and landscape seemed like one integrated thing.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Four Houses, Four Brief Comments

Perfect storm: Thanks to Anne I visited four open houses: $236, $308, $265, $225 a square foot.

The Aronstam House by Pringle and Smith 1928 has glorious bathrooms.

Anne Powers (left) and I grew up High Point, NC. She's now an agent for Beacham and Company.

1310 Ponce de Leon Adair Park Condominiums $850,000
This is one of Anne's, a townhouse house I'd driven by for years. In 2000 the developer re-purposed two Druid Hills Mansions into condos and added a few more. Menefee+Winer Architects now Make3 designed the project. Condo 1310 was almost 4,000 square feet and it felt great. I think this is a great adaptive use for when might otherwise be white elephant properties. I'll blog this some more. Here is the Plat for Adair Park if you are interested is that sort of thing. 

834 Lullwater Road $1,850,000
This is the Aronstam House by Pringle and Smith 1928 or 1924. I blogged it before. It's a 6,000 square feet hilltop Lullwater mansion that hasn't been messed with. It's livable today but it needs TLC, a buyer in love, and about about $500,000 to make it right.

How wonderful to see a nearly empty, unstaged house with wallpaper! Thanks to Doris Robinson for showing it to me.

1150 Cumberland $929,000
It sold before it was finished but they held the open house anyway thanks to Jim Getzinger. I call this a poptop, a major renovation by John Willis Custom Homes. It's notable that its big (3500 square feet), effectively brand new, and totally in keeping with it's neighbors, all built in the early 1930's. I think John Willis pops tops and gets them sold as well as anybody around here.

1325 Edmund Park $450,000
Edmund Park contains 86 homes each on less than 1/10 acre, shoulder to shoulder built out in 2001. They are about 2000 square of clever design with wide open living areas. Each home had a unique street-side design, a little museum of styles, very picturesque. The porch side faces busy, noisy Rock Springs. The front door and garage is on the alley behind. Urbanists might be proud.

Architecture tourists visit open houses for entertainment.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Foyer on Inman Circle

I made a plan: Win the lottery, buy it, move in by Thanksgiving, invite the extended family over for a long Christmas holiday.

I don't get to do this. Jim Getzinger invited me to caravan 15 Inman Circle in Atlanta's Ansley Park today. It's a 1904'er on 1/3 acre. If you aren't from Atlanta: This is as good as it gets this close to the city. It's a block from the High Museum and more.

They don't know who designed it. Ward Seymour & Associates "did a down to the studs renovation with the highest level of finishes revealing an authentic period total restoration."


Then Kemp Mooney added an indoor pool outback, (understatement).

It's livable and lived in, neither stuffy, nor precious. It looks like 1904, gently nudged and tweaked for modern living. We'll still love it in 2104.

The foyer alone was enough for me. It is three stories tall and a show off.

But it dosn't say, "Look how tall I am you puny human."

It says, "I'm here to make you feel important."

Here's the front door from the inside.

There's a Greek temple up there. The entablature atop the columns is massive, to my eyes just the right size for the space and the house. It "feels" like it's safely supporting the house. Was it like this in 1904?

From the balcony, you can see 3 stories of stained glass windows that bring light into the center of the house. The entablature becomes the massive cornice. (I welcome corrections on these architecture terms.)

This is the window that's way up there. Is the one white circle a repair?

The background and sunlight provide the color in the lower windows. You can kind-of see out.

Beautiful no?

A 10 second tour:

Here's what you do when you walk in.

One more thing.

A shower stool really warms up the tile.

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