the willard hitel, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac, architecture, sketch

The Willard Hotel - Washington, DC

This is a drawing I did of The Willard Hotel, in summer of 2003. It was my first summer in DC (one of my favorite cities in the world) and I could not see enough of the city. I was in love with the architecture, its spaces, the people and places. The Willard is on Pennsylvania Avenue, one block from the White House. The 12-story structure, designed by famed hotel architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, opened in 1901.

Beaux-Arts architecture depended on sculptural decoration along conservative modern lines, employing French and Italian Baroque and Rococo formulas combined with an impressionistic finish and realism. Slightly overscaled details, bold scuptural supporting consoles, rich deep cornices, swags and sculptural enrichments in the most bravura finish the client could afford gave employment to several generations of architectural modellers and carvers of Italian and Central European backgrounds. A sense of appropriate idiom at the craftsman level supported the design teams of the first truly modern architectural offices.

Though the Beaux-Arts style embodies an approach to a regenerated spirit within the grand traditions rather than a set of motifs, principal characteristics of Beaux-Arts architecture included:

  • Flat roof
  • Rusticated (often used to give visual weight to the ground floor) and raised first story
  • Hierarchy of spaces, from “noble spaces”—grand entrances and staircases— to utilitarian ones
  • Arched windows
  • Arched and pedimented doors
  • Classical details: references to a synthesis of historicist styles and a tendency to eclecticism; fluently in a number of “manners”
  • Symmetry
  • Statuary, sculpture (bas-relief panels, figural sculptures, sculptural groups), murals, mosaics, and other artwork, all coordinated in theme to assert the identity of the building
  • Classical architectural details: balustrades, pilasters, garlands, cartouches, with a prominent display of richly detailed clasps (agrafes), brackets and supporting consoles
  • Subtle polychromy

Courtesy Wikipedia

Creative Commons License
This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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