Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Architecture Appreciation 101

I am not an architect.

I am not able to visualize a three-dimensional structure while looking at a two-dimensional drawing.

But,...I can appreciate the works of architects

And Galveston (TX) provides many examples through its homes in the East End Historic District to perfect my appreciation abilities.

Some of the homes below are identified in the Walking Tour guide; others are shown because of my interest in their design or artistic features.

Howard and Kate Mather Home, 1887

This home resembles a Swiss chalet.

Frederick Beissner Home, c. 1887

The elaborate woodworking and frieze (the richly ornamented band on the gallery) are the strong features.

Root Home, c. 1903

The interesting component in this photo below is the wall and the story behind it.

Following the 1900 hurricane that killed 6,000 of the island's 44,000 inhabitants and caused an estimated $30 million in damage, the need for a seawall became apparent.

Between 1902 and 1904, a curved-faced concrete seawall was constructed rising 17 feet above mean low tide and stretching over 3 miles in length along the oceanfront. Today, the Galveston Seawall extends over 10 miles along Galveston's oceanfront.

Concurrent with construction of the seawall, the city of Galveston undertook extensive grade raising which not only provided support for the seawall but also facilitated drainage and sewage systems. The initial grade raising took place from 1903-1911. Work was accomplished in quarter-mile-square sections and involved enclosing each section in a dike and then lifting all structures and utilities such as streetcar tracks, fireplugs, and water pipes. About 500 city blocks were raised using 16.3 million cubic yards of sand spread from a few inches to eleven feet thick.

In a conversation with one of the locals, we learned that the concrete fence on his property extended several feet below the surface even though only less than a foot was showing above the surface.

This house was for sale, and the roof design and gingerbread (below) were quite appealing.

c. 1892

Alexander B. Everett Home, c. 1881

Wilbur F. Cherry Home, 1852-54

This typical Greek Revival style house is the only residence on the block that survived the Fire of 1885 that destroyed a 40-block area.
Built after 1900



Sign me up for Architecture Appreciation 102.

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