Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Corner Buildings - Part I

Corner buildings can take many forms and styles, depending on size, lot, neighborhood and class of apartments. And then there is also the question of whether or not one of the streets is a commercial thoroughfare. Then of, then of course, there is the era in which it was built.

Most often, a corner building will be a six-flat with a three or six-flat attached on the side street. Or a nine-flat with a three or six-flat on the side street. In this case, I am referring to the side street as the side which has a unit facing onto it lengthwise. Usually this is an east-west street as well, but not always, of course.

Our first example is a nine-flat with a six-flat to the rear, in deep red brick, with rather more vertical decoration than typical.

Our next example is one with commercial premises on the first floor facing a major street. This has rather art deco inspired trim in orange brick and limestone. Also note the level change; the cornices have been carried through, but the window heights change based on the lack or presence of the first floor commercial space.

In the first photo you can see the first floor commercial space, with four flats above it, with an attached six-flat to the "rear".

In the second photo you can see the change in levels between the two halves of the building. This was skillfully handled here, with continuous cornices and parapet height for both halves of the building. The detailing is simple, yet done in a workmanlike manner, which unfortunately is somewhat marred by the recent addition of through the wall air conditioning units (at least the
radiators were retained).

Our next example is a rather unique looking building, appearing to be rather neo-classically monumental, yet also, to me, somehow more Midwestern arts and crafts than Chicago. Being in the city, however it has many typical features of a corner building, six units on the main street and six on the side street. Yet it still looks to be that it should be in an area outside of the Chicago planning tradition, not quite conforming to the norms - being on a larger than average lot with massive set backs on the main street parkway may have something to do with this impression I think.

Our last photographic example for today (for there will be more) is of a rather misleading building. From the front or short end/side, it appears to be a rather imposing, even imposingly grand, three-flat, facing onto a deep lawn at the wide parkway, necessitated by the large set-back. Yet it is actually a nine-unit building, as evidenced by the side entry servicing a six-flat with the front entry serving what is effectively a three-flat. It has typical arts and crafts decor, unfortunately some of the sun-room windows have been lost, as have the original entry doors.

Lastly, I leave you with a plan of a corner building. This has two sets of unequally sized and non-mirrored, non-identical six flats. Three of the units are one-bedroom flats, while one is a large two-bedroom unit. Interestingly, the larger one-bedrooms face the side street, while the smaller one bedroom apartment faces the main street or avenue.

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