Thursday, May 22, 2008

City Symmetry

There are more impressive buildings in the world than Pasadena's City Hall—the Taj Mahal, Versailles, and I could go on—but a small building can be an architectural gem.

I can't find a less-than-lovely view of City Hall. At each corner of the courtyard is a stairwell. All four are housed in towers identical to this one, with the same elaborate reliefs, wide open window and belvedere on top. I like climbing up inside (even the stairs are beautiful!) and looking out to the mountains. Looking up from below is nice, too.

The courtyard's a good place to take your book, but you probably won't read it. It's more fun to watch what's doing.


Palm Axis said...


You might find this link of interest. It gives info on Gladding, McBean & Company. In business since the 1870's, their company created much of the ornate terra cotta work on our older buildings in the western states. I'm guessing they did our City Hall as well.

or if the above doesn't work

Knoxville Girl said...

Heh- caught you looking UP again - good job! This building just says "California" to me - it looks kind of like a mission style of building.

Pont Girl said...

I absolutely love this building. Getting to work next door to it was one of my favorite parts about working in Pasadena!

Christie said...

Very interesting. New buildings don't have any of the fine details old ones have. They call it progress, but I'm not quite sure about that!

Nice photo, Petrea!

Petrea said...

Thanks for the links, Palm. It's possible Gladding, McBean & Co. did the terra cotta reliefs and other decor on City Hall. No expense was spared. I couldn't find mention of GM&Co, but there's an interesting article about City Hall's construction here:
The architects were Bakewell & Brown.

It's sort of "Palladian Mission," knoxville girl. A combination of styles that work together, and were popular at the time (1927). It's very pleasing.

Come back, pont girl!

Thanks, Christie. Now I feel the challenge to find a new building with fine details. I wonder...

USelaine said...

Here's the code you need to make those links go "live":

Text to be displayed

Leave the quote marks, but replace url with where it is, and of course adjust the "Text to be displayed".

I used to live in an apartment building in Sacramento that had some Gladding McBean terra cotta detail, but the city of Sacramento decided to destroy it for some tilt-up concrete caverns.

USelaine said...

Crap! I forgot to disable the code!

!Text to be displayed

Hope that works.

USelaine said...

Crap! Crap!

If you go to the City Daily Photo forum, and look for the thread that talks about adding your site link to your signature, you can see the code.


Sorry for crapping all over your comments here, Petrea.

Petrea said...

uselaine, you are sweet. I think I know how to do it, but was too lazy. I haven't memorized the code yet. If I'd just memorize it life would be simpler and I wouldn't be copying and pasting all the time and you wouldn't feel crappy.

Louis la Vache said...

What a coincidence! Your shot is very similar to this one and this one!

"Louis" thanks you for stopping by!

babooshka said...

I would have said this was European and plumped for Italy. This is what's fascinating about the daily photos, always surprising. Enjoyed the text to underline the image.

Lydia said...

I'm ooo-ing and aww-ing over the last two posts. Gorgeous architecture!

Kelly said...

Petrea, this is beautiful! Another shot looking up! I can't wait to see what you will find keep raising the bar!

Petrea said...

Oh, Louis! I don't know whether to say "hmm, I was not original," or "great minds think alike!" But I'll go for the latter and thank you for the lovely pictures.

Good eye, babooshka. The architects had Palladio in mind.

Thanks, Lydia and Kelly. I have a thing about architecture, which is one reason I love Pasadena. Folks who came before me here had a soft spot for great architecture as well.

Palm Axis said...

Thank you in return for mentioning Bakewell and Brown. I'm embarrassed to say so, but thought Myron Hunt designed City Hall. It's to bad I can't find better links to Gladding, McBean & Company. I do recall
Huell Hauser covering the subject. Unfortunately, finding it in his web site takes more endurance then I can muster.

Petrea said...

Oh gosh, Palm, I don't have this information in my head. None of it. If only Google were in my brain.

Now I have to go look at Huell's website. I love him, but perhaps web design is not his forte.

Parisian Heart said...

Truly beautiful, Petrea! I love architecture.

Petrea said...

Moi aussi, Parisian heart. Nice to see you here.