Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Courtyard Building, Part VIII; Courtyard Variations - Gothick Courtyards

You may have noticed some discontinuity in my postings on this subject. I have several in process and underway (i.e. heavy editing) which I mean to get finished up soon, once the leaves are off the tree's so I can take some better photographs, but in the meanwhile to both tide you over and whet your appetites, I offer; Gothick Courtyards.

Gothick is a typical style of 1920's and 30's to some extent, fantasy architecture - the architecture of escapism. It isn't quite as common in Chicago as in some other cities, and is certainly not as common in single-family residential construction, that being dominated by the bungalow which is omnipresent (though gothick can be found here as well).
In fact, there are some similarities to our own time here, as these were built at the end of a long era of massive housing construction - one wonders whether the current crop of residential building will be looked back on as fondly or so longingly? One guesses not. But you never know. It will be interesting to see if our new crop of buildings loose value as much as many did during the depression and after the war (WWII), but that is really subject of another post entirely, a completely new topic.

Here are some samples of Gothick Courtyard buildings from the north and northwest sides. This example, our first building, comes from West Rogers Park new the infamous duo, Park Gables and Park Castle, which represent the ne ultra plus of Far North Side courtyard buildings, however, this fine example, from just a block further north, sports some wonderful medieval details, stunning metal windows (with odd round arches oddly enough) and round turrets, which are well castelated. As well as half-timberings, rustication in stone, random stone in the brickwork and many other fine details.

However, when one turns the corner, this is what one gets, Chicago common brick and wood double-hung windows, just like any other (every other, one could say) courtyard building in Chicago. Luckily there is no building to the side which enables us to see this deception (or unfortunately, if one wishes to maintain the fantasy, as one certainly would).

Our next example comes from the Northwest side, and has been called Bavarian and described as a castle, like many other buildings from this era. This one has much in common with our first example, however it is in a more typical yellow butter colored brick, but has more emphasis on pointed arches and little Tyrolean sheltering roofs over the entry doors, as well as full on Germano-Medieval Gothick decor in the common entrance halls, yet again with the 1920's conceit of round arched openings in both doors and windows. Note the immense false fire place present in the entry hall.

With research, one might be able to identify whether or not this feature is authentically Germanic or at least German inspired (not a stretch, with Chicago's German heritage). There is also a quatrefoil motif both inside and out here as well, as can be seen in the bathroom shot - look closely at the tiled tub fronting and the flooring pattern of the tiles.

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