In Baltimore City, the rule is you either serve on jury duty for one day, or for one trial. So, that’s what I spent Thursday doing – waiting to be called for a jury. Luckily, my number never came up, so I was excused at the end of the day.
However, being downtown for an entire day, without racing to get to a meeting, or back to work, gave me an opportunity to spend some time walking around and looking at buildings. At the end of April, I am giving a lecture titled “An Amateur’s Guide to Architecture in Baltimore”, and so I am assembling the buildings that will be used for the slide show. (Click the image for more information)
As one of my modernist architect friends said, “yeah, why did they have to 'fancy up' the simple, honest expression of ductwork by putting a cornice on top of it? Postmodernism taken too far…”
As I walked around during lunch, I realized that this is the section of Baltimore that was completely destroyed by a fire in 1904, and so all of the buildings that I was looking at were constructed after that point.
The architecture is sort of blousey and beaux arts, which fits because the golden age of beaux arts architecture in the United States was between 1880 and 1920. Lots of allegorical figures and decorative carving everywhere, deep cornices, lots of swagging and festooning…
On Monday, I will be on another type of jury. The Morgan University School of Architecture and Planning is having a competition for the students to design interiors of a rowhouse, of which we have thousands here in Baltimore. I am looking forward to see what they do!