The eclectic shu and joe blog gives us a glimpse of how the Portland Building might have been quite different.
The original plan included much more dramatic decorative garlands along the sides of the building and a collection of public arcades and shops on the rooftop.
Those garlands weren’t for real, were they? I mean, unless the were like, unicorn hitching posts?
Heather – I think they’re too high up there for unicorns – pegasi on the other hand . . .
There were a couple of different garland concepts for the building. The drawing shows one of them. The other was an early concept for a draped, neo-classical ‘bunting’ that would appear to be made of fabric (but actually would be of sheet aluminum, twisted to appear like a fabric bunting). The bunting would have ‘hung’ from the top of the building, anchored at the corners with a bow-like feature. This design was later modified to become the stylized, two dimensional, frieze that is seen today.
I am an unabashed admirer of the Portland Building. Too bad that Graves original concepts, that would have resulted in greater decoration, were deleted due to value engineering (cost-cutting).
Very few in town think much of the Portland Building today. Now, everyone is in love with the sleek glass and steel retro-modernist aesthetic. Pity the poor pedestrian who must endure the streetscape of the modernist towers. Those buildings almost shout “pedestrian be damned”.