I was recently playing around with Photoshop’s Content-Aware fill, trying to replace a drab Chicago sky with something more interesting on a phot of the 1929 Carbide & Carbon Building (now in the process of being renovated to the Pendry Chicago Hotel) and accidentally made this piece of abstract architectural art:
A while back, I shared that I’d found a souvenir set of postcards from late 1930s Austin, Texas, amongst my grandparents’ cache o’ stuff.
One of the items in there was a postcard of the University of Texas’ Memorial Stadium:
Which is a far cry from how it looks today:
(but it still has arches!)
Built in 1924 with a capacity of 27,000, Memorial Stadium was dedicated to the nearly 200,000 Texans who fought in the Great War (as it was called then, since WWII and the forthcoming WWIII hadn’t happened yet). Over the years, it was steadily expanded to today’s 100,000 fan capacity. And, in 1996, was renamed after legendary Longhorn coach Darrell K. Royal to “Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium”, which was confusing if you didn’t know the origin of the name as Royal was still very much alive at the time of the rename, but it sounded like it was a memorial to him.
It’s an impressive venue, for sure, but my favorite on the UT campus is the Frank Erwin Center, mainly because of its bizarre architecture (bizarchitecture?):
Built in 1977 in a modern style I like to call “Loganism” after the set design and locations in the classic sci-fi film Logan’s Run, I’ve always loved the way this edifice has loomed over I-35 as one drives through Austin.
Unfortunately, this fine building is being replaced with a new, less-bizarre structure, the Moody Center:
Light and airy, the Moody Center might be more-attractive to visitors, but it lacks the imposing presence of the Erwin Center. And I think that’s a loss. (My inability to visualize structures as people-friendly or approachable is probably part of the reason I dropped out of the architecture program in college in favor of computer science/engineering).
A while back, I posted “Greetings from Austin“, an introductory article on the souvenir postcard booklet from 1930s Austin, Texas. One of the cards features a view of the PWA Moderne-style Travis County Courthouse:
I have to say, PWA Moderne is one of my favorite architectural styles. Descended from Art Deco, to me it signifies the optimistic interbellum years between the (first two, hopefully) World Wars. Also, it’s closely-related to another of my favorite, Zigzag Moderne, as shown in this shot of the T&P Station in Fort Worth, Texas:
Even Travis County is building a new building rather than tearing down their old courthouse:
While a striking building, it just doesn’t have that je ne sais quoi that makes a courthouse a courthouse. To me, this looks like another generic office building. But I’m not an architect, so what do I know?
If you’re interested in Texas courthouses, there’s a whole website that documents all 254 of them at texascourthouses.com. Go visit and take a look at some lovely buildings along with a fair-helping of architectural misadventures.