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Roving Rube

Terra Cotta

July 2, 2003

Broadway-Chambers Building, 277 Broadway












1899-1900, Cass Gilbert; New York City Landmark.
Perth Amboy Terra Cotta Company. Brick with brightly glazed terra-cotta ornament. Office building.
(Source: "Terra-Cotta Skyline", by Susan Tunick).

On a tour devoted the work of Cass Gilbert (which of course included yesterday's Woolworth Building), the Rube heard that his Broadway-Chambers building was world famous when it was completed, so much so that a letter sent from Europe with the address, "Mr. Broadway Chambers, USA", safely made it to the architect.

Architect Cass Gilbert eschewed the light monochrome materials available at the time ... he chose beige terra cotta highlighted with brilliant Pompeian red, blue-green, and greenish yellow for the richly embellished capital. ("The Landmarks of New York", by Barbaralee Diamonstein.)

2-jpg: "Since a successful formula for matte surfaces had not yet been developed, most of the glazes where lightly sandblasted to remove their glossy outer layer." ("Terra-Cotta Skyline", p. 55)































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