Friday, December 13, 2013

Beaux Arts

This San Francisco monument opened in 1905 as the U.S. Courthouse and Post Office.The architect's budget was lavish. Craftspeople were brought over from Italy to decorate the interiors.

Today the building stands at 7th & Mission, well into its second century having survived famous earthquakes in 1906 and 1989. The post office functions went elsewhere long ago, allowing the interior to function entirely as courtrooms and court-related offices. In America, the need for more and more courtrooms is infinite because the volume of lawsuits is always infinitely expanding.

Photographs are by Carol M. Highsmith, from a series documenting significant federal buildings for the Library of Congress.

Above, mosaics made (by the imported craftspeople) with colored marble chips.

Below, inset bands in traditional repeating mosaic patterns dividing flat marble slabs –