Saturday, December 18, 2004

Smothers Place

I've been watching with anticipation as the new Smothers Place building has been rising on Elm Street. I admire Mark and Todd Schwartz for sinking $9 million into downtown Greensboro, and I think it's all but certain that their contribution will help drive more retail business to South Elm. It's really fun to see this happening.

But there's an architectural detail that's bugging me. Saturday morning I was heading to Blumenthal's, next door to Smothers Place, for a jacket and some jeans, and noticed how the turret on the Smothers building is shaping up.

The turret is a great idea, as it reiterates a similar decorative element on the old Southern Railway building just across the railroad tracks. Here's a picture of what that station used to look like:

But there's something slightly amiss with the Smothers Place turret.

The pitch of the roof on the turret seems too shallow -- notice how much shallower it is than the roof on the old Southern Railway station turret (which is now gone). It also seems a bit out of sync with beautifully-pitched roof of the Jefferson Pilot building in the distance, and is not in keeping with the pitch of other turrets in or near downtown Greensboro.

Compare, for example, the turrets on the beautiful Methodist church on Market Street -- and notice how well the architects of the JP building harmonized their proportions with that wonderful building.

More modest turrets, like this one on Summit Avenue, just a few blocks from downtown, also show a steeper roof pitch.

The roof on the Smothers Place turret looks a bit squat and awkward to my eye. What do you think? I don't think it would cost a whole lot to change it.


Billy Jones said...

I think someone forgot to send the designers on a field trip, preferring instead to just let them consider costs and nothing more. (Lower angle requires fewer materials thus lower costs.) I agree, a steeper pitch would lend a better look.

Lenslinger said...

Here I am struggling for something to blog about and you pull a most worthy observation out of the skyline. Nice work!