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Author Topic: Historic Parking Garage Architecture  (Read 3339 times)

stjr

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Historic Parking Garage Architecture
« on: September 09, 2010, 08:13:35 PM »
Interesting review in the NY Times of garage architecture in NYC since the turn of the century.  Imagine, having a discussion like this about Jax parking garages, especially the ones of the last few decades.  Ugggghhh!  And, imagine the main stream press calling out a property owner here for desecrating an historic structure as done in this article.

Quote
The Garage Deluxe, at 177 East 73rd, was designed by Charles Hoppe. The building is of red brick with white terra-cotta trim, its large central bay borrowed from power plant design — a specialty of Mr. Hoppe.This is how it looked around 1906.


The Tunnel Garage, 520 Broome Street at Thompson, as it looked in 1938. It was designed by Hector Hamilton in 1922, for George Stivers, a Charlton Street physician.

The Alan Garage, 154 East 87th Street, nearing the end of construction in 1930. Last year, it was stripped of all its ornamental terra cotta.

September 9, 2010
For the Car, and Far From Pedestrian
By CHRISTOPHER GRAY

CONSIDER the lowly garage, usually placed somewhere between the tenement and the outhouse as a fit subject for architectural appreciation and historic preservation. But public garages, which appeared in the early 1900s, often rose to respectable, even exciting, heights.

Among the earliest such spaces standing in Manhattan is the five-story Garage Deluxe, at 177 East 73rd, designed by Charles Hoppe in 1906. The building is of red brick with white terra-cotta trim, its large central bay borrowed from power plant design — a specialty of Mr. Hoppe, but with a Beaux-Arts twist. In the same year The New York Times reported that garages typically charged $20 to $30 per month, including washing and polishing.

After an initial burst of architectural exuberance, most garage designs were uninspired, but in 1917 the architects Hunt & Hunt designed a garage at 337 East 64th Street using tapestry brick and large arches. It was to be cooperatively owned, and some measure of its patronage is indicated by the destruction wrought by a floor collapse in 1957. The resulting pancakes included a 1928 Hispano-Suiza and a 1928 Bugatti.

The architect Hector Hamilton was little known when he designed the two-story Tunnel Garage, at Broome and Thompson Streets, in 1922, for George Stivers, a Charlton Street physician. Mr. Hamilton gave it hypnotic, wavy, aqua-colored bands — the Hudson River, perhaps? — and a large terra-cotta plaque showing a car in a tunnel, certainly the projected Holland Tunnel, built from 1920 to 1927. Mr. Hamilton became prominent in 1932 when the Soviet Union gave first prize — shared with two Soviet architects — for his new Palace of the Soviets, only to cancel the award without explanation a few months later.

Another garage in which terra cotta played a part was the Alan, put up in 1930 at 164 East 87th Street and designed by Frank Schefcik. The light yellow, white and green glazes of the ornament created a distinctly un-utilitarian building, with a delicate crisscross design on the head house. Because of restrictions on projecting signs, Mr. Schefcik emblazoned the front with two-foot-high glazed red letters announcing THE ALAN GARAGE. Emanuel Ornstein, the builder, named it for his grandson.

Garage architecture waxed in the 1920s, and the next few years brought a rush of unusual designs. In 1929 the architects Seelig & Finkelstein designed the eight-story Aristocrat Garage at 17 East 12th Street, dark red brick with a moody, medieval feeling.

The following year seven well-to-do East Side families banded together to graft a tennis club onto an old two-story garage on 65th Street east of Third Avenue. Their architect, James W. O’Connor, made the place look like a Regency town house.

The income from the downstairs Devon Garage was used to operate the upstairs as the Courthouse Club. In 1930, a hundred people attended a coming-out party in a tennis court canopied with blue gauze dotted with stars; the Happy-Go-Lucky Boys sang during supper. The club also had a squash court, a card room and a swimming pool painted with scenes from “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” A typical activity was a dinner in 1939 followed by a talk, “Trout Fishing Under Difficulties.”

In the late 1920s, Milton A. Kent, a Westchester life insurance salesman with a big idea, got financial backing for his Kent Automatic Garage, building high-rise garages on 44th east of Third, and at 61st and Columbus, the latter with spectacular polychrome terra cotta. Mr. Kent’s bold concept was a machine that hooked onto a car’s axle and moved it within the building, entirely “untouched by human hands” according to an ad in The Times in 1930. He went bankrupt in 1931.

Also of the Jazz Age, but smaller, is the zigzag-style Croyden Garage of 1930 at 406 East 91st, designed by Horace Ginsbern.

Of the garage designs after 1930, one stands out: the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority’s Battery Parking Garage of 1950, at the entrance to the Battery Tunnel. Designed by Ole Singstad with narrow slit windows and a corrugated concrete facade, it has a squinty, bunkerlike aspect consonant with the age of nuclear weapons.

In recent years the Garage Deluxe, on East 73rd Street, and the Kent Garage, at 61st and Columbus, have been designated landmarks, but generally, garages have not received much attention. The Tunnel was demolished several years ago, over preservationists’ late-breaking objections, although the terra-cotta plaque has been re-erected on the subsequent apartment house. The Devon and its upstairs club came down years ago. But the Ritz, the Croyden and others are still generally intact.

A pitiable exception is the Alan Garage, so notable for its unusual decorative character which, as of 2009, appeared to be in perfectly sound condition. Last year the owner carefully stripped off every last bit of ornamental terra cotta, leaving a mongrel work. The Alan backs up to low buildings on 86th Street and Lexington, an area that has seen intensive development, and something about the thoroughness of what was termed in the building application “facade repair” suggests an attempt to preclude future landmarks interference.

But Michael Walsh, an engineer with PCS Engineering, which did the work, said it was just that stripping off all the detail was “very economical, especially these days when there are a lot of contractors looking for work.”

E-mail: streetscapes@nytimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/12/realestate/12scapes.html?hpw

The Aristocrat Garage, 17-19 East 12th, around 1943.


A 1930 advertisement for the Kent Automatic Garage, at 43 West 61st Street, near Columbus Avenue. The garage was the brainchild of Milton A. Kent, a Westchester life insurance salesman. Mr. Kent’s bold concept was a machine that hooked onto a car’s axle and moved it within the building.


Another view of the Kent Automatic Garage at West 61st Street and Columbus, in 1936.


The Devon Garage at 206 East 65th Street as it looked in 1960. In 1930, seven well-to-do East Side families had banded together to build a tennis club over to the garage. Their architect, James W. O’Connor, made the place look like a Regency town house.
Hey!  Whatever happened to just plain ol' COMMON SENSE!!

uptowngirl

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Re: Historic Parking Garage Architecture
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2010, 03:19:41 PM »
Love it! How much better could any downtown look with garages like these!

CS Foltz

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Re: Historic Parking Garage Architecture
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2010, 04:07:36 PM »
uptowngirl..........too true! Not enough concrete in them though to interest the City!

Timkin

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Re: Historic Parking Garage Architecture
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2010, 11:14:57 PM »

lol

thelakelander

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Re: Historic Parking Garage Architecture
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2010, 11:53:31 PM »
We had a couple of decent designed historic garages as well.  They can be found on page 36 of Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage.  Unfortunately, both have been demolished.  One for the Ed Ball Building and another was on the site of what will eventually become greenspace for the new courthouse.  I'll try and scan that page tomorrow.

ChriswUfGator

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Re: Historic Parking Garage Architecture
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2010, 12:12:15 PM »
We had a couple of decent designed historic garages as well.  They can be found on page 36 of Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage.  Unfortunately, both have been demolished.  One for the Ed Ball Building and another was on the site of what will eventually become greenspace for the new courthouse.  I'll try and scan that page tomorrow.

Sweet! So we already had parking garages, which we demolished along with everything else to create an urban core comprised mostly of more parking garages. COJ makes so much sense to me!


uptowngirl

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Re: Historic Parking Garage Architecture
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2010, 12:47:08 PM »
Even worse than the parking garages are the paved over lots. They are like missing front teeth IMO.

ChriswUfGator

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Re: Historic Parking Garage Architecture
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2010, 01:28:51 PM »
Even worse than the parking garages are the paved over lots. They are like missing front teeth IMO.

+1


thelakelander

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Re: Historic Parking Garage Architecture
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2010, 08:23:30 PM »
A couple of 1920s era parking garages that were constructed in downtown Jacksonville.