Friday, April 16, 2010

MCM Style on the south side

Here's a slick little commercial building, way down south on Western Avenue:


Built to the sidewalk, with apartments above (complete with their own balcony!) and shops below, it's the kind of MidCentury building that I refer to as the last stand of urbanism. By the 1950s or 1960s, whenever this building went up, the automobile was at the zenith of its ascendancy. Yet numerous builders still designed in the old way, building to the sidewalk, as if this poor stretch of gargantuan, highway-like Western Avenue might some day harbor thriving foot traffic. In some places, like the older streetcar suburbs, this was simply fitting in with what already existed. In the new suburbia, however, it was a totally lost cause, and these buildings stand as novelties today.

But enough about that. Let's check out the slick bits of 1960s style on this place!



The building goes heavy on the colored glass block, using yellow and blue in addition to its baby blue brick. Geometry is emphasized by blocky massing and that thick overhanging roof.

The building also uses lovely thin Roman bricks, and has a bit of stylized door hardware to boot.

Squared ring


Nearby, another building holds a recycled sign of similar vintage. Jim's Beverly Bicycle Shop has creatively and fittingly given a second life to the body of an old neon sign.

1 comment:

Tyler Hewitt said...

Welcome to my neighborhood! I've noticed that building before, and recognized it as soon as I saw it here.