Sunday, April 7, 2024

Gargoyle, D&H Building | 04.06.2024


Gargoyle, D&H Building | 04.06.2024

The Architectural Details of the former Delaware and Hudson Building, #AlbanyNY

After reading "The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design" by Roman Mars, I've come to regard the built environment as a narrative waiting to be explored. Cities become fascinating when one delves into the details that unveil their stories. The layers of history are there, awaiting decipherment; all it takes is a deliberate stroll to uncover them.

This image series captures the intricate and fascinating details adorning the exterior and roofline of the former Delaware and Hudson Building, now recognized as the H. Carl McCall SUNY Building. The Delaware and Hudson (D&H) Building initially served as the headquarters for the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company. Over time, it morphed into a defining feature of Albany's skyline, erected in 1914 by architect Marcus T. Reynolds in the grand Beaux-Arts style.

Beaux-Arts architecture, prevalent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is distinguished by its grandiosity and classical influences. Buildings in this style often feature monumental scale, exhibiting imposing facades adorned with classical elements such as columns, pediments, and domes. Symmetry and balance are central tenets of Beaux-Arts design, with structures organized around a central axis and meticulously arranged facades. Elaborate ornamentation, including sculptural details and decorative moldings, enhances the visual appeal of these buildings, reinforcing their classical roots. Additionally, Beaux-Arts architects frequently incorporate the classical orders—Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian—into their designs, further evoking the grandeur of ancient architecture. The style emphasizes a clear hierarchy of spaces, with public areas and ceremonial spaces receiving greater attention and embellishment than private or utilitarian spaces. Sculpture and painting are often integrated into Beaux-Arts buildings, serving both decorative and symbolic purposes, enriching the overall aesthetic.

The next time you find yourself in Downtown Albany (or any city), take a moment to look up. Amidst the architectural details, you'll discover stories woven into the very fabric of the buildings — direct links to the past and the skilled craftsmen and artisans who brought them to life.

© 2024 John Bulmer Photography + Nor'easter Films
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