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terra cotta


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Not a house, but a pretty cool commercial building across the street from where I worked yesterday.....

These details wrapped all the way around the visible 2 sides of a (nearly) city block large building. IOW, lots of terra cotta. The pic's don't show the exquisite colors in the glaze; even from across the street on a nasty cloudy day, the colors glowed.

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Originally posted by inspecthistoric

Originally posted by Bain

Very cool. And whoever performed the recent paint job deserves high marks, as well. I wonder how much one charges for that kind of thing.

I'm pretty sure it hasn't been painted. That's likely the original glaze.

Yup. That's one of the those glazes that probably goes back in time approx. 400 years to Venice, or someplace in Italy. Ludowici opened a plant on the south side of Chicago back in the teens or 20's; it made all this stuff for approx. 10 years, then the Depression & the International Style (which I will curse 'til I die) finished it off.

Let me get the rest of these up; they're spectacular.

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So, Kibbel, you wanna school me up on what all these parts are called? And, what do you think those flowers under the soffit are? There was a copper pipe that stuck out, and I was wondering if there may have been a lightbulb in there sometime(?)...

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Originally posted by Scottpat

Could the pipe be part of a roof drain?

Nope, the drains are interior, and a couple scuppers off the back.

I keep thinking lights, but not gas; this building was post-gas light era.

I'll try to get a shot of the south elevation; it's all terra cotta up 12 stories.

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So, Kibbel, you wanna school me up on what all these parts are called? And, what do you think those flowers under the soffit are? There was a copper pipe that stuck out, and I was wondering if there may have been a lightbulb in there sometime(?)...

The parts are the same as in wood or stone, just made up of many more segments, being formed out of delicate plaster moulds.

I would guess the pipe to be an overflow from an expansion tank, which is always higher than the highest radiator - early style PRV.

We have very little architectural TC. What we do have is usually completely monochromatic, often just some limited ornamentation to brick facades.

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I don't know how, but I'm sure it's not for water; the spray would have trashed all the detail below it.

I drive by this beauty several times a week, I've just never had a decent angle to see it all that well. When I was up on the roof across the street, I could finally get a decent sight line on the decorative elements.

I'm gonna go back & see what I can see if I work @ it.

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Originally posted by kurt

I don't know how, but I'm sure it's not for water; the spray would have trashed all the detail below it.

I'm gonna go back & see what I can see if I work @ it.

If the building has a cock loft consider ventilation. Beautiful work, truly well kept. Youse guys must not have any diesel trucks or busses.

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Originally posted by ghentjr

[brIf the building has a cock loft consider ventilation. Beautiful work, truly well kept. Youse guys must not have any diesel trucks or busses.

It's my experience that all these old commercial structures have cocklofts, garrets, or some weird attic space. As far as ventilation, it's a possibility, but I've never seen one that gave one whit of consideration to insulation or venting.

This place was all coal & fume stained several years ago. Gentrification along the lake pushed out all the crackfreaks, and this building was salvaged, thankfully, and underwent a major cleaning & restoration. I remember it back in the early 80's as a dull grimy grey; now, it glows. I'm a total cornball; I find this sort of architectural decoration comforting; it somehow confirms the future will be OK. [:-angel]

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Originally posted by kurt

... I'm a total cornball; I find this sort of architectural decoration comforting; it somehow confirms the future will be OK. [:-angel]

Cornball or not, it's nice to have optimists around. I look at the same thing but see confirmation that the past was more beautiful than the present - a negative trend.

I don't like being that way. Perhaps it's the weather. I'm a Pearl Jam fan. Eddie Vedder says, ***k the pessimists! I'm working on it.

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Originally posted by ozofprev

Cornball or not, it's nice to have optimists around. I look at the same thing but see confirmation that the past was more beautiful than the present - a negative trend.

I don't like being that way. Perhaps it's the weather. I'm a Pearl Jam fan. Eddie Vedder says, ***k the pessimists! I'm working on it.

It's part of my theory of the effect of an artless present on people's attitudes and hopes; remove art from the everyday lives of us common folk, and they look to replace it w/whatever they find @ hand, all too commonly a new issue of "Us" magazine, or some similarly vapid brain candy.

If the everyday, common interaction of folks w/their environment included that which elevated the soul, there would be much less discontent, and I think folks would find themselves becoming more intimately involved w/the present, and involve themselves w/ objects & passions of their own creation, thereby disassociating from the vapid & soulless, and connecting w/the world in a personal way instead of a hopeless way.

IOW, paint, build, write, and get on w/the work of living. I think the International Style squashed this sense of self, and removed folks from the idea they could be creators, and set the stage for the soulless buildings that populate so much of the cityscape.

Ya gotta have art, and removing the individual from the experience of art & creation is a certain recipe for a feeling of futility. The current world of art, and most architecture, is almost a constant post-traumatic stress disorder; folks are looking for an answer, but can't seem to find the question either.

Eddie's got it right. Ya gotta keep working on it. It's the whole path is the destination thing.

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  • 2 months later...

I'm no authority on this type of architecture but I used to do a lot of fabrication. The first thing my mind goes to is that the pipe is just an easy & convenient was to make a perfectly round and straight center for the flower that also turns out to be a good way to mount it...

Shootin in the dark, so don't quote me.

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