Wednesday, January 30, 2008

226 Main Street

Union Savings Bank moved into this building, designed by the New York City firm of Berg & Clark, on Tuesday, March 29, 1887, after the first floor was completed. You can read more about the history of Union Savings Bank here.

"Intuition is not raw feeling. When you turn design over to intuition, you imbue the design with a system of proportions. Proportion, how one shape relates to another, is at the center of the old way of seeing. Mastery of proportion demonstrates a kind of judgment that goes far beyond what your "practical" side knows how to do. In a sense, using intuition is far more practical than any other method of design. Intellect calculates effect, intuition organizes shapes. Effect has its place; function has its place; keeping the rain out has its place. But we are too good at keeping the rain out; it is almost the only thing we do. The goal of design is not to find the correct proportions; the goal is to express life. It is not necessary, it can be counterproductive, to try to be lively, interesting, mysterious. To make a building that comes alive, it is, above all, necessary to play among the patterns.


"When we visit the old towns, when we go into an ancient cathedral, when we see a masterpiece by a twentieth-century architect, we notice something most of our buildings lack. As we look at these places we know something is absent from the everyday buildings of our time—the suburban house, the office building, the mall. And we accept this lack. We may complain about it, but in the end, we don't expect our buildings to have that spark we see in the buildings of the past. Theorists tell us we should accept the "Ugly and Ordinary" building. We assume there must be an unbridgeable gap between what our age builds and what was once produced with a light touch, as a matter of course. But there were once, and there can be again, interesting, even magical, ordinary buildings."

Jonathan Hale, The Old Way Of Seeing. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994.

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