Building Decor

The decoration of buildings is endlessly fascinating. Why do people put so much effort into adornments that are almost impossible to see? This fancy brickwork is high above the street, perhaps on the sixth floor. I can take a cell phone picture and then expand it to see it. But when it was built, only the builders got a good view of this. Were the owners able to charge more rent?

This charming panel is at ground level so it can be admired. It’s all bricks, as you can see. But each brick must have been shaped and sculpted, and then carefully laid to form the forest panel here.



This last elaborateness is again high above the street. Look at the fancy work around the arches, and the decorative panels at the top. It must have been pure pride of craftsmanship, or maybe one-upmanship so that the building next door would be completely put in the shade.



About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.


Building Decor — 3 Comments

  1. I wonder if the high up decorations are a remnant of decorating things vey high up on churches and cathedrals? (It’s possible the forest panel was sandblasted in situ.)

  2. I read somewhere (and now can’t remember where) that when they started to build something that could be called a skyscraper that architects tried to figure out what they should look like. A general consensus seemed to be that they should resemble Doric architecture.

    But most of the American architecture of the time is now called Beaux-Arts architecture. According to what I read on various architectural sites, uses
    formal symmetry, Italian Renaissance form, and classical Greek and Roman decorative elements like columns, pediments and balustrades to create a grand and imposing architectural statement.

    So you get the nifty little details above the windows, and the ornamental molding at the top of the building to hold it all together and make the 3 to 6 story buildings look symmetrical and more important than they were in real life.

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