Apartment Building on Elwood Street, Shadyside

A very plain apartment block (as far as we can tell from the outside, the name of it is For Rent 2 & 3 Bedroom Apartments), but an attractive addition to the street nonetheless. The prominent bays, which would have been spurned by modernist architects, have two salutary effects. Aesthetically, they vary what would otherwise be a monotonous front. If you are the kind of modernist who despises aesthetic considerations, however, consider the practical purpose: bays like these flood the interior with light in a way that cannot be accomplished with any flat surface.

Mayflower Apartments, Shadyside

A modest apartment building with a bit of Art Deco flair in the brickwork and the staggered vertical lines.

Royal York Apartments

This splendid apartment house on Bigelow Boulevard is a feast of Art Deco details; in fact, in a city that never adopted Art Deco as enthusiastically as many of its rivals, this is one of the most remarkable Art Deco buildings. Like many other apartment blocks in Oakland, it required some cleverness from the architect to adapt it to an unpromisingly irregular site.

Two Different Interpretations of Tudor in Oakland

The apartment building above, which faces Centre Avenue, is arranged as a kind of Tudor Renaissance palace. In defiance of its sloping site, it is a perfect rectangle arranged around an open courtyard. One can imagine Queen Elizabeth building herself a palace on this pattern.

Almost adjacent—in fact, directly adjacent in the rear parts—is the Schenley Arms, which sits in the narrow angle between Centre Avenue and Bigelow Boulevard.

Where the (unnamed, at least on its face) apartment building above is in the style of a Tudor palace, this is deliberately arranged in the ramshackle fashion of an old English inn. The deliberately haphazard shape takes advantage of a very irregular lot and gives the building an entirely different appearance from different angles.

Neither one of these buildings is a very accurate representation of real Tudor architecture: they are mostly put together from standard parts with Tudor accents added. But the Tudor accents are valuable. Especially in the Schenley Arms, they give the building an architectural reason for being an absurd mishmash of odd angles: it looks as though the building was supposed to be that way, rather than forced into its absurd shape by the constraints of an absurd property.