Chrysler Building elevators via Wally Gobetz on Flickr
Earlier this week, we visited the New York School of Interior Design‘s latest exhibit, Rescued, Restored, Reimagined: New York’s Landmark Interiors, which, on the 50th anniversary of New York’s landmark legislation, features photography and information about more than 20 public spaces, known and little-known, that have been designated as interior landmarks. Looking through images of restored Broadway theaters, perfectly preserved coffered rotundas and period furniture, we couldn’t help getting stuck on one often-overlooked element–the elevator.
For most of us who live in a high rise or work in a typical office building, the elevator doors are just another blank wall that we stare at, only paying attention when they open and usher us in. But when the city’s great Art Deco buildings were rising, the elevators were an extension of the lavish ornamentation and geometric details of the façade and interior lobby. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite Art Deco elevators in landmarked interiors, which means they’re all publicly accessible so you can check them all out first hand.
Go up in style here
Image © NewYorkitecture
Glazed terra cotta (a clay-based ceramic) became a popular architectural material in the United States between the late 1800’s and 1930’s thanks to being sturdy, relatively inexpensive, fireproof, and easily molded into ornamented detail. Plus, it was easy to make it look like granite or limestone, much more expensive materials.
Terra cotta really took off when some of Chicago and New York’s great architects, Cass Gilbert, Louis Sullivan, and Daniel H. Burnham, incorporated the material in to their most famous works such as the Woolworth Building, Bayard-Condict Building, and Flatiron Building, respectively. Additionally, Rafael Guastavino adorned many of the great Beaux-Arts masterpieces with his famous terra cotta tiled vaults.
There are countless buildings in New York City that owe their elegance to glazed terra cotta, and we’ve put together a list of some of our favorites.
Explore terra cotta in NYC
- Is the Fred French Building the most beautiful Art Deco architecture on 5th Avenue? You be the judge after reading this post on Gothamist.
- Let’s face it–Penn Station is terrible. But instead of just complaining about it (like the rest of us), architect David Lewis leads a walking tour of the station to explore how it got so horrible. More on the AWL.
- Calling all members of the Brooklyn board game community (yes, it exists); Rivals board game café is now open in East Williamsburg, according to Bedford + Bowery.
- These attractive, eco-friendly acoustic tiles, showcased on Freshome, are made from molded luffa. Yup, the same material you scrub with in the shower.
- West Side Rag reports that City Council members are proposing a complete car ban for Central Park next summer.
Images: Fred French Building, via Newyorkitecture (L); Penn Station, via Wiki Commons (R)