Saturday, June 14, 2014

manmade [conections]

what is it about bridges that makes them so intriguing?

i think there are several reasons, ranging from simple reasons like "they're cool" to the more philosophical like "it's a physical connection between two places nature separated."

i just think they photograph really well.  here are some shots of the lake overholser bridge near oklahoma city.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

what [gear] in history

by some strange series of events, the wonderful people in charge of the wichita riverfest asked me to lead an architectural bike tour last saturday.

i agreed, i mean, why not? i've lived downtown for the past eight years! how hard could it be to talk about a bunch of buildings in front of people?  

i knew some stuff.....


the more i thought about it, the more i realized my "stuff" wasn't exactly what you'd call "facts." i couldn't "bs" the wonderful people on the tour. by some fluke i had been placed in a role where people might actually believe what i say, a position i was not familiar with.  thankfully we live in a modern world with access to the wonderful information available on the internet.  a glorious place where even the most inane mind, can appear wise.

the days before the tour found me scouring the net, searching for details, facts and stories on some of my favorite buildings downtown. between information from the kansas historical registry and some fascinating articles by local historian michael carmody, i was able to piece together enough information to not look like an architectural ass.  thankfully the tour went we'll, and those who rode their bikes down douglas last saturday seemed to enjoy it.

finding all this information fascinating, i wanted to share the few facts i've learned about some of the architecture of our city.  i hope you enjoy!

also, if you have history to correct or add to any of these buildings, please feel free to comment!

broadview hotel
year: 1921
architect: Ed Forsblom
style: ?
notes: named the "broad view" because of the broad view it offered of wichita.  the basement held a speakeasy which could hold 600 people.

century II
year: 1969
architect: john hickman and roy k. varenhorst - both apprentice's to frank lloyd write
style: usonion?
notes: color and shape of pillars meant to mimic wheat stalks and fields. blue doomed roof meant to mimic the vast sky over the prairie

central library
year: 1967
architect: schaefer, schirmer and eflin
style: brutilist
notes: one of only a few buildings in kansas to have won a national award - an aia merit award for library design 1968

wichita city hall
year: 1892
architect: proudfoot and bird
style: romanesque

carnegie library
year: 1915
architect: crowell anthony allair
style: beaux arts
notes: the cities library until the new central library was built across the street

kress building
year: 1929
architect: g.f. mackay
style: gothic revival
notes: one of many kress buildings around the country

caldwell murdock building
year: 1908
style: early modernism
notes: wichita's first building with a steel structure, making it the cities first "skyscraper." also the tallest building in the city when it was built. built by louise caldwell-murdock in memory of her husband.

douglas building (ambassador hotel)
year: 1926
architect: vizthum and burns
style: chicago school
notes: site of the 1958 dockum sit-in 

fourth financial center (bank of america center)
year: 1974
architect: skidmore, owings and merrill
style: modern
notes: the large reinforced concrete pylons house the fire stairs as well as mechanical and electrical systems.

eaton hotel
year: 1887
architect: terry and dumont
style: late victorian/ 2nd empire
notes: in 1900 carrie nation took and axe to the hotel bar

union station
architect: louis s. curtiss
style: beaux arts

keen cuter building (hotel oldtown)
architect: mauran,  russell and garden
style: warehouse

year: 1922
architect: john eberson
notes: atmospheric theatre

scottish rite building
year: 1887
architect: proudfoot and bird
style: romanesque
notes: original ymca