Wednesday, June 22, 2011

111 W. Washington, Conway Building, 1913

I've always admired the Conway Building's richly molded terra cotta facade.  Sure, there were some awful things done to the lobby rotunda and the Washington entrance in the 1980s, but the exterior of the building is still impressive.  Last month I found myself on the roof of City Hall, and I had an amazing view of the ornament at the top of the building, including the band of lion and gargoyle heads.  The gargoyles are probably intended to be Green Men, but let's not split hairs. 

The building was designed by Frederick P. Dinkelberg of D.H. Burhman and Co., and reflects the Beaux Arts inclination of the firm following the World's Columbian Exposition (also found in the 1909 Plan of Chicago).  This was their last building before Daniel Burnham's death in 1912.  In many ways it resembles the more elaborate Flatiron Building in New York (1902) which was also primarily designed by Dinkelberg.  The building follows the typical skyscraper configuration of a base, shaft, and capital.  But somehow the Conway Building lost its terminating cornice... It leaves it looking somewhat unfinished. Not sure if this was a part of the 1980s renovation.

Anyway, in this drawing I wanted to show the texture of the ornament rather than the architectural characteristics of the building.  Anything more than a narrow strip, and I would have spent a couple of weeks frantically crosshatching.  Seeing it on-screen I realize that I could have pushed the lights and darks further.  Sometimes it's good to post these images just to find out if they're done.

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