Saturday, April 24, 2010

more National Building Museum

OK--my love affair with this building continues as I learn more about it.

For instance DC can be really hot in the summer and the building was constructed before air conditioning so all windows open. The plan is for cool air to enter at ground level and the hot air to leave at the top of the ceiling. Simple and efficient wouldn't you say.

I love these columns--it turns out they are about 75 feet tall and each one is made from about 70,000 bricks. This is the view from the third floor balcony.  Elegant isn't it?

They are topped with a wonderful elaborate cornice. Don't you just love all of these curves and fronds?

Around the the balcony on the third floor are bowl-like structures with eagles.Need I say more?

Looking down from the balcony you can see the fountain in the central court and the carpet with an oriental design on the floor. My booth is just off from this picture.

Yet despite all of this elaborate ornamentation, there is also a simplicity of shape and structure that I find relaxing. For instance, look at these lovely shapes in the ceiling of a hallway. Aren't they glorious?

Or these arches and more arches going into the rooms that I presume were once offices.

 Isn't it wonderful when a building can keep showing you more and more about itself and make you observe your surroundings with greater care? I also do love the fact that it was built with a budget in mind. The architect was trying to meet the needs of the widows and pensioners from the Civil War--for instance I just learned that the reason the steps are so short and wide was to make it easier for the pensioners to climb them. The steps were also built so they could be hosed down when needed.

So much to see and I haven't taken any pictures of the outside. What do you think?

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