Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

little Dutch stores, with their crow-step plate glass windows, in some examples gables, and inharmonious irregularities, is gaudy and ill-proportioned, in others as now a fine, wide, business street,-one of in the case of the famous “Swan and the finest indeed which the city boasts, – Edgar's,” in Regent-street (which excels and lined with large but plain brick any of our shop windows in the size of blocks. Plain as they are, and poorly as its plate glass panes), elegant and charactheir architecture compares with that of teristic. But these shop fronts are meremany stores in Broadway, and some of ly appendages to the buildings to which the river streets, yet either one of them they belong, and have no architectural would have taken away the appetite of relation to them. Moreover they are in the honest Dutchman who built this mon no case built of expensive materials, but strosity* in 1689, and sold the delicacies are either constructed of papier mach, of the period to the sleepy vrows and their stucco, terra-cotta, or plaster decorated oleaginous lords.

with color, and serving merely a temporary purpose. There is no warehouse in London, nor in any other European city, approaching some of the large and splendid establishments in Broadway, nor is there any shop in the world to rival the palatial magnificence of that on the corner of Broadway and Cham

bers-street, a building of white marble, ATTITUTT

extending from street to street, and of which we shall render a more particular account hereafter. Nor can the history of merchandise produce a finer example of outward elegance and interior completeness, than will be found in the silk warehouse in Broadway near Pinestreet.

This building is constructed of white marble, and is thirty-seven and a half feet wide, one hundred and forty-seven feet deep, and four stories high, while next spring will probably see it carried up to six stories, to accommodate the increasing business of the establishment, and to make

it equal in height to its new neighbor, One peculiarity of the New-York stores the Metropolitan Bank, which adorns with which distinguishes them from their Lon its elegance the corner of Broadway and don and Paris rivals, is the fact that they Pine-street, and to which we shall refer generally occupy the whole of the building hereafter. The admirable feature of this for purposes connected with their business, silk warehouse is the solidity with which and are not confined to the first stories. it is constructed. The floor of each story Thus in London the most splendid stores, is supported by the side walls alone, and or those which make the finest show, is without pillars or partition throughout merely occupy, as far as the customer is its whole extent, yet there is not the concerned, the first floor, and in most cases slightest jar or tremble perceptible. Every they are wholly confined to that portion department of the business is managed of the building. In some cases, like that with a beautiful thoroughness, which is of Howell and James, the “Stewarts” becoming more and more a part of our of London, the shop is merely three ordi national character. There is another exnary dwelling-houses, given up to the sale cellence in the outward architecture of of goods, and having no architectural pre this store, and that consists in the shadow tensions whatever. In most other in which the architect has obtained by the stances the first floor of the building is de elaborate cornice and deeply recessed wincorated with what is technically styled a dows, an effect which is wholly wanting "shop front” which is merely a highly in most of our new buildings, and the enornamented framework for the large tire absence of which is almost the only

* This old store, one of the earliest specimens of Dutch architecture, erected in New-York, and almost the last link which connected us with the sleepy days of old Peter Stuyvesant, lingered till within twenty years, like a bedridden great-grandmother among her stirring and bustling descendants, who at last, weary of her presence, and rendered desperate by her unflinching determination “never to say die," tore her limb from limb and scattered her bones far and wide. We never waste a tear over the death of an old Fogy, especially a Dutch one, which when a perfect specimen of its kind, and unalloyed by any admixture of progressive grace, as it not seldom is, must be admitted to surpass in desolation all the other varieties of conservatism extant.

[graphic]

drawback to the enjoyment of the great shadow-giving projections, is one which marble palace of Stewart. The fault we have constantly to regret in the armost prominent in the store which we chitecture of New-York. It is so easily are noticing is its disproportionate height, remedied, and the means of producing a fault which will be still further increas the desired effect lie so directly in the ed if the alterations contemplated are car way of the skilful architect, that we are ried out. This might have been remedied astonished at the few instances in which by making the horizontal lines of the building more prominent than the perpendicular. This effect could have been produced by carrying heavy balconies across the front, and in this way the quantity of shadow on the face of the building would have been increased ; as it is, the principal lines of the building, the piers which separate the windows, the mullions which divide them, and the perpendicular divisions of the cornice, all tend by their direction to add to the effect of height, and to decrease the apparent breadth of the building. Mr. Joseph C. Wells was the architect of this complete and admirably constructed store, and the proprietors intrusted to his care the designing of every detail of ornament and furniture.

Another fine structure is the building numbered 200 and 202 Broadway, built of brown freestone in a style of quiet elegance. We find the same fault with the appearance of too great height given to the store by the prominence of the perpendicular lines which we have done with the one last under consideration. The importance given to the mouldings and bracketed cornice over the third story somewhat relieves this defect, but the member is put in the wrong place. It should have crowned a lower story, since the stories of a building should increase in lightness as they rise, and of two members the heaviest and richest in effect should be the lower. Thus in this they are adopted, especially as expense building, the first story should have been seems rather to be sought than shunned. crowned with an elaborate and effective and as in reality the effect produced is cornice, supported by solid and important out of all proportion to the cost requisite piers. This would have given a character to obtain it. It requires knowledge and of stability and strength to the structure, it requires taste; but the beauty of our which in common with many of the re city depends in great measure upon atcent erections in Broadway, it very much tention to this point, and knowledge and needs. The second story should have taste ought to be procured at all cost. been less important than the first, but Knowledge can be bought, tasto cannot. more important than the third-on the but it can be fostered, and free scope can contrary the third story is more import be given to it when found. Too many ant than either the first or second, and of buildings in New-York show immense equal value with the fifth. The conse wealth to have been expended in their quence of this oversight is that the build construction, with a lavish hand unguided ing, though well built and costly, is en by correct taste. In one you see the tirely without beauty, and without even same heavy, inelegant window cornice, the pictorial effect often attained by well repeated throughout the front and sides arranged ugliness. This want of picto of a monster six stories high.* In anorial effect, resulting from monotony of ther you will find a noble and enormous detail and almost entire absence of bold, building, over whose white surface, front

* In the particular instance to which we allude, these window cornices are of cast iron, painted and sanded in imitation of brown freestone, an abomination to which we shall devote some space in another place but which we are happy to sce is not very greatly on the increase.

[graphic]

ing on two streets, neither early dawn, nor high noon, nor evening gray, flings a relieving shadow to vary the costly monotony; while, as if to mock the admirer, and cause him to ask with a groan whether there is any hope for American taste, one side of the structure, fronting to be sure on an obscure and little frequented street, but nevertheless plainly visible to every passer down Broadway, flaunts its pale marble brothers with its staring bricks, like a red-faced awkward country lassie who perseveringly hooks herself to her queenly and haughty city cousin's arm, and refuses to be kept in the background. We recommend as appropriate

mottoes for the respective sides of this
“palace of trade,” the rhymes which the
knight of the field of the cloth of gold
had embroidered on his horse's housings,
one half of which was of a mean and the
other of a costly material. On the first
he wrote,
“ Cloth of gold, do not despise,

Though thou’rt matched with cloth oi frize."
And on the other,
“Cloth of frize, be not too bold,

Though thou'rt matched with cloth ot gold." But the architectural blunders of NewYork city will occupy too much of our room if we attempt to refer to all of them in the same article.

[graphic][merged small]

The engraving given above is a view handsome, and promises to be too well of “ Trinity Buildings," a structure not built, to admit of any mediocre specimens quite completed as yet, but sufficiently so of architecture in her principal thoroughto render it already an important feature fare. There may have been difficulties in in the lower part of the city. The ma the way of procuring the best brick at terial of which this pile is constructed, the time when this range of stores was is unpressed Buffalo brick, of a yellowish planned—of this we are not informedtinge, with dressings of cut brown free but we can hardly believe it possible, and stone. The building was designed by unless this were the case, there is no Mr. Upjohn, and is the first example reason why the present quality should in the city of the use of the yellow have been used. The color, as far as we brick. It is to be regretted that the un can judge at present, is very agreeable, and pressed brick should have been employed, harmonizes well with the brown stone of since the rough and unfinished surface the dressing and ornaments. Our artist which they present, makes a most unfa has done no sort of justice to any thing vorable impression. We believe in bricks, but the size of the building, which, when even in red bricks; we are also prepared we consider the purpose for which it is to add yellow brick to our “Credo ;” but designed, is truly huge. The sculptured whether yellow or red, they must be the key stones of the lowest range of window best of their kind. New-York is too arches is merely hinted at upon the end,

at the present time. Since that time, however, we have never seen or heard of this rose - colored brick, and suppose that the material was either not warranted to wash, or that the supply failed. If there were no such drawbacks, will some enterprising millionnaire be obliging enough to put up an acre or two of jobbing houses, in the style suggested above, in time for our second article on this subject?

The banks of NewYork are becoming every day more important in an architectural point of view. The accompanying cut, representing Wall-street, looking West, groups

together eight banks Wall-street, north side, looking west.

of the ancien régime

in their classical cosand wholly omitted on the side of the tumes after the most approved Yankeebuilding, and the value of the relieved Greek mode. Doubtless, in their day, these piers between the windows, and the re tough, granite dowagers, bloomed with cessed windows themselves in supplying grace in the eyes of the young men who shadow to the façade, is entirely neglect now look down regretfully upon their ed. We are especially disappointed with beards, gray as the structures they once this result, since the architects, as far as admired. Yet to our eyes these grim our drawing goes, get credit for nothing temples, consecrated to Plutus, are matter but the erection of a plain rectangular only for lamentation ; and the cold world, building, without shadow, without orna incredulous of their former beauty, sees ment, and quite unworthy, except for its without regret that the eyes of builders, size of any particular notice. In truth, greedy for prey, are upon them. In arthe building is very large, and very hand chitecture, as in history, Greece has fallen some, with tasteful ornaments in stone, a victim to Italy, and while millionnaires subdued to the character of the material are busy with their brown-stone and marwhich they accompany; and, moreover, ble palaces, these forsaken specimens of very interesting in itself, as the first ex the pseudo-Greek remain with their bulky ample of the employment of a material and ungraceful leg-like columns, out of entirely new in this city, and which we place, out of proportion, like a crowd of hope to see extensively adopted. We briefly-petticoated ballet dancers, who were shown, some two years ago, at the stand shivering and unregarded after same time when we first saw this yellow the play and its applauses are over, for brick, another specimen of a pale rose their carriages to carry them home. color, very delicate and beautiful. We At the corner of Wall-street and Broadthought at the time that this might be way, stands the handsome freestone strucused in connection with the yellow brick, ture, called the Bank of the Republic, the two tints being diffused in irregular dimly represented in the accompanying cut. masses over the surface of the building, It is in an important situation, and one in and producing, what seemed to the mind's which an excellent view can be obtained eye, a charming combination of hue, and

of both sides. The upper story, having, a very desirable relief to the monotony as it does, the appearance of an after of brown and white which threatens us thought, and rising above the legitimate

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

was

cornice of the building, is a very serious defect, and deprives the upper portion of all beauty. Any cornice, however fine or effective, would be utterly lost beneath such an addition, which is an imposition in more senses than one. The bad effect of windows placed in a rounded cornice of a building, is to some extent obviated in this Bank by deeply recessing the windows; but it is a dangerous experiment, and must always be, to a certain extent, bad and ungraceful in its effect. In this case, we suppose, the corner rounded to save space in the street, but we ought to have done with such arrangements; they are illiberal and petty, and unworthy of our city, but unfortunately we have to remember too many of them. The doorways in this structure are too heavy, and the one on the corner, owing partly to its position, and partly to its size, is a positive deformity.

Further down Wall-street is the new Insurance Building, an elegant structure of brown freestone, with the basement and angles richly rusticated. We detest this vermiculated rustic work, seeing no beauty nor meaning in it; but this sample is good of its kind, and created an era in the history of architecture in the city. The string course, which runs below the fourth story, is neat and elegant, but out of place; it belongs more properly below the third story, since, in its present place, it gives too much weight to the upper portion of the building. It is due to this really handsome structure, to say that the artist has done no sort of justice to it, and to make what may be called a concentrated apology, it may be generally stated that, with one or two exceptions, artists and engravers have been too much hurried with

[graphic]
[merged small][graphic][merged small]
« PoprzedniaDalej »