Many readers of my books or people who know me and my work know that I am an absolute architecture nerd. I love architecture, and I am also very fascinated by the wealth of forms in architecture around 1900, the Historicism and Art Nouveau era.
For some time now, the sword of Damocles has been hovering over a row of houses from this era in my old hometown – meaning that their demolition is planned. It is in a redevelopment area and the location where these buildings are located has become irrevocably bad over the years.
I have decided to portray this line again before it finally disappears. Yes, I call this a ‘portrait’ – because these houses have facades that are supposed to tell us something. In this case, much like a person’s face at the end of a long life.
First of all I dedicated myself to the houses in a single depiction (the bottom four pictures). Because, after all, every personality deserves a close up, right? Then I put them together digitally, just as they were (and some still are) standing in my hometown.
Here’s to the row!
It’s a typical, rather high-quality row of houses from the historicism (the Victorian era, or, as it would be called in Germany, Wilhelminian era), with partly eclectic facades (that is, the stucco and plasteron the houses mixes elements of different historic styles). I think eclecticism is trending back in interior design right now (at least that’s what I’ve heard).
On the far left (or, the first of the four single pictures) a house that mixes light Baroque with Renaissance forms, its neighbour (the small one with the gable) being one that basically does the same thing but has a much more Baroque emphasis (I still think it looks like a little ‘pleasure palace’). On closer inspection, many of the decorative elements on this second one are borrowed from the Renaissance, but other ornaments, such as large cartouches, have a Baroque tendency.
To the right of this – the third from the left – a neo-Gothic house. The only one of this series that represents a pure residential building, because it has no shop on the ground floor. And on the far right a house in a mixture of ‘Dutch brick Renaissance’ with Baroque influences (for example the central bay window, two floors high).
The last one is clearly the most elaborate of the row and was maybe used as a showpiece or showpiece, perhaps even by the construction company itself, who may have been entrusted with planning and executing the entire row (occurring more frequently around 1900 – meaning the entire row here was carefully planned by one firm, also in it’s stylistic mixture). With this one, the construction company could have shown what top performance she was practically capable of. Advertising is everything!
The three houses on the left are still standing, the ‘showpiece’ is already gone. Originally there were also two old buildings next to it – much simpler than this one or the others, but still beautiful. Maybe I’ll catch up on their ‘portrait’ later, and add them here.
You can see all the houses described above listed in chronological order of their description under the first picture from top to bottom.
With this excursion into bygone times I wave a goodbye to the weekend! Have a good one!