Thursday, January 29, 2009


#29, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

Brooklyn gets a lot of things right when it comes to its buildings, but shielding people from the elements in style is not one of them. It seems all you have to do is turn a corner to see another ugly green canvas canopy flapping in the breeze, screwed haphazardly into the wall by a ham-fisted hired hand. Bodegas of Brooklyn, I understand. I know better than to expect anything more of you than to stay open past midnight and keep your fridges stocked with Harp. But I'm routinely shocked by the number of otherwise respectable apartment buildings that subject their tenants to low-rent circus tent trappings over the front door. Architects, designers, disgruntled supers: doesn't anyone care what's being stuck on the outsides of our homes?

Now for the good part. If you're going to do an entrance, you could do worse than study this canopy along cobble-stoned Tiffany Place. Everything works. The silver 29, well proportioned, maintains a dignified presence to the side. The contrast of materials is striking: the warm red brick looks genteel beside the unfinished dark steel of the door. Up above, the geometric glass canopy looks like an umbrella dreamed up by Buckminster Fuller. It seems to twist and pull itself away from the cables that anchor it. The asymmetry is a little convoluted but well-balanced. A great bit of design.


Ray Gunn said...

All I can think is that it looks like Charlie Brown got his kite stuck in the kite-eating tree. Only, the kite-eating tree is made of bricks.

denti (a phalanx of wind-up teeth on the march)

Julie said...

well-balanced asymmetry ... mmm ...