Monday, July 19, 2010

City Hall, New Orleans

Now that's a city hall pictured above.  New Orleans City Hall is a non-descript, International Style building.  I presume it was built in the late 60s or early 70s.  I also assume Detroit has replaced the architectural marvel above with something more modern.  

New Orleans City Hall has "CITY HALL" spelled out in red neon letters just under the roofline and a schematic of the river running behind them.  A fleur-de-lis is placed between the two words.  Otherwise it's a non-descript edifice that could easily be mistaken for the library a block or two away built in the same style.  

The halls on the first floor of New Orleans' city hall does have some nice artwork running just below the ceiling.  Street names are painted in that distinctive tile typeface you find embedded in the sidewalks.  There are also trompe l'oeil bits of sidewalk detritus scattered over the inches thin and blocks long mural.  Security is light and I was able to walk the hallways in both wings to admire the artwork.  Nobody bothered me.  It wasn't a very busy place despite the new administration working hard to change the political culture with eyes wide open.


Urban Mechanic said...

Indeed your suspicion's are correct. Detroit demolished its elegant Queen Anne Style city hall in 1961. The seat of the city's government was eventually relocated to a 20 story international style office building that had been constructed in the 50's. This was the same sort of complex that was once proposed to replace Cincinnati's glorious Romanesque Richardsonian City Hall; among other examples throughout the US. The idea was to make government more efficient; by design. I'll let folks draw their own conclusions about that notion.

Whalehead King said...

Isn't form supposed to follow function, not the other way around? I would think city halls would go for a more Byzantine look.

Urban Mechanic said...

The Byzantine look can be quite charming at least. Much better than the gulag feel that most public buildings aspire to these days. I do believe that the lowest, bud, lowest cost possible approach to public buildings reflects poorly upon our society. Of course, we seem to build just about everything to be temporary these days. I guess we don't plan to be around for all that long ourselves.


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