Monday, March 9, 2009

Echoes ....

... of the Fall of the Roman Empire? 

I won't go too far with that analogy but just mention the echoes, not of financial chaos, but of Roman and Renaissance architecture seen here in this Atlanta bank building. On the front there is a suggestion of a Palladian window and on the side, almost hidden behind the solar panel on a pole is a vestige of a Thermal window. 

Thermal, in this case, having nothing to do with heat control, is derived from the Latin word for warm spring and by extension, bathhouse, thermae.

The Palladian window, also known as the Serlian window, and across the pond as a Venetian window is actually misnamed in this case, for Palladio did not invent it. However, we call it a Palladian window, and so it remains, right or wrong. 

Classical architecture well into the 20th century was the favored style of banking because of its ties to authority. There's a whole digression here into the concept of a temple of money which I will spare you at least for today. Having said that, it is good to see a playful take on Classicism in a city that is so traditional and typically sticks to reproducing the classics, lock, stock and barrel. Post Modernists could never go wholeheartedly into a return to Classicism but gave an impression of such without the underlying discipline. 

This bank looks almost as if it is a Classical building from which all the details, the columns, the entablature, etc., have been stripped. 

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