Tag: Jullien (Philip Morison)

  • Base of the Law & Finance Building

    Base of the Law & Finance Building

    The Law & Finance Building was a rather old-fashioned skyscraper when it went up in 1927–1928. It was designed by Philip Jullien of Washington (D. C., where he wasn’t allowed to design skyscrapers, owing to city height limits that are still uniquely in place) in the base-shaft-cap formula typical of the early age of skyscrapers. It even has the regulation bosses’ floor above the base.

    Base of the Law & Finance Building

    What is unique is the row of ornamental heads above the bosses’ floor, perhaps representing the severed heads of the developer’s political opponents.

    Ornamental heads
    Ornamental head
  • The Fairfax, Oakland

    Front wall of the Fairfax

    One of our grandest apartment buildings, the Fairfax just got a thorough going-over. It was opened in 1927 as the Fifth Avenue Apartments, but changed its name with its ownership a year later and has been the Fairfax ever since. The architect was Philip Morison Jullien from Washington (that’s Big Worshington to Picksburghers from the South Hills), who also gave us the Arlington Apartments.

    Front elevation

    The architectural style is sometimes referred to as “Jacobethan,” meaning that it takes inspiration from the long period of the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I, without being too pedantic about the exact period.

    Entrance

    This Jacobean Gothic arch is about as broad as it can be and still qualify as an arch.

    Capitals
    Shield
    Shields
    Entrance and decorations above
    The Fairfax, perspective view

    The perspective above is impossible. There is no place to stand far away enough to get a natural-looking perspective view of the Fairfax. The lens had to be at a very wide angle to capture the whole building, which created what photography critics of a century ago would have called “violent perspective.” Father Pitt has made some intricate adjustments, at the cost of some distortion of individual objects like the cars on the street, to create a more natural-looking view of the sort Mr. Jullien might have given the client in his perspective rendering. In fact, different parts of the picture are at different perspectives, and if you look closely you can see the seam running down through the blue car toward the right.