A blog devoted to American Italianate architecture of the 19th century. This blog features architectural analyses of Italianate domestic buildings with images, and historical information. My plan is to show the varieties, regional vernacular of Italianate architecture.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
The Columbia Club, Indianapolis, IN
The Columbia Club, Indianapolis, IN. 1889
Photo from Indianapolis Illustrated
The Columbia Club building was located on Monument Circle in Indianapolis. Though not strictly a residential building, it has a residential styling that is unique. According to Historic Indianapolis it was erected in 1889 and replaced in 1898, after only a few years. It's not surprising that this resembles a house; clubs like the Union League in Philadelphia often emulated residential design, perhaps because so many of them were headquartered in former mansions. Although the building may have been built in 1889, its styling looks more like a product of the late 1870s or early 1880s. This retardaire design might be a testament to the conservativism of the club members and their aesthetics. Even so, the design is grand and dripping with exuberance. The club did not follow a typical plan, although it resembles a side hall house. The first floor is set off from the second by rustication or deep grooves between stonework. In addition the first and fourth bays are differentiated by slight projections and pilasters, making it seem more palace like than might be expected and giving it a European flair. While the first floor is somewhat soberly designed with its arched windows, the second floor is a fabulously ornamented design with segmental arched windows with eared moldings that have cornices above them with carved ornament overflowing above and below to suggest brackets and pediment. Further carved classical panels of swirling acanthus leaves above and below the windows give the club an added Renaissance flair, as do the Corinthian pilasters, also with carved ornament. The cornice is Anglo-Italianate in design with typic rotated s-curve brackets. Although the Renaissance stylings and cornice do suggest Anglo-Italianate, the lack of sobriety in design makes it less of a rigid example of the style. There appears to be a side porch of two stories, with pilasters and arched windows. There is bunting crisscrossing the facade, no doubt for some signifigant event, probably political. Overall an impressive and unique clubhouse for the 19th century man.