Monday, May 26, 2008

Balconies; Six-Flats with Balconies (Part I)

Another one of the distinctive and unique features of many Chicago apartment buildings are the balconies on the front. Usually they are not really truly useful, but just more of a decorative feature. However, they do often make an attractive facade and can provide some use. Of course, they are usually on buildings with larger apartment and bigger lots with more front yard area (this might have something to do with zoning/building line setbacks).

Some, however, can be very attractive and useful, and quite distinctive.

The example to the right is a neo-colonial example from the south side, which has a massive pediment and cornice as well as almost ante-bellum columns. In fact, this is one of the most unique buildings, in that there is really nothing quite like it elsewhere in town. In fact, it stands rather alone and is much grander than the more typical six-flats across from it.

The next example is across the street from the first one. This building features incredible massive front balconies, porches really, of brick with a roof over the third floor. Unfortunately the parapet has had a cornicectomy at some point, but the massive balcony piers remain, with their craftsman inspired detailing.

An interesting tidbit about this building is that the building at exactly the same position in the block, on the next street to the east has the same bay and window arrangement - two round bays of three windows each and one window per floor at the balcony, yet that building has a completely different feel and treatment, being of red brick and in a neo-heraldric (as opposed to medieval or renaissance) with limestone trim, Gothic arches and shields, and other signs of heraldry.

Our next example also features a similar arrangement on the facade, and even a similar brick color, however, the feel, due to the treatment of the facade, is quite different. In this case wooden porch columns in a similar vein to our first example extend only the support the deck of the third floor porches. In this example, the first floor units are at a disadvantage in that they do not have private porches or even a door out to a stoop. The railings are of iron, and have been since I can remember, they might once have been of wood or cast iron which disintegrated over the years. And I apologize for the poor visibility, once spring and summer arrive, some buildings are simply hidden, which in this case, being a south facing building, is to the residents advantage.

This is another open ended post which will be continued with further examples in the, hopefully, near future.

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