Niagara Mohawk Building Essay

Published: 2020-01-28 16:50:10
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Category: Building

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Syracuse houses one of the great examples of Art Deco in architectural design. Art Deco was a stray away from the natural organic forms of the Art Nouveau movement, heading towards a more geometric, modern, and linear style. The Niagara Mohawk building exemplifies Art Deco like no other building in the city. Syracuse, an industrial city in the early to mid-1900s, required a lot of electricity. Many other cites used industrialization as an opportunity to build Art Deco buildings as well, due to their style and use of new technologies. Syracuse was a great place to erect a building housing the Niagara Mohawk Electric Companys headquarters.

This pyramid shaped building stands at seven stories. A new (and lasting) innovation at this time was to use steel framed construction to build these large structures. This technology was employed when building the Niagara Mohawk. At about the sixth story in the center of the building is a winged figurine sculpted out of metal. This is one of the most recognizable features of the Niagara Mohawk Building. The building is made primarily of grey brick, black glass, and decorated with metal. The ornamentation is purely decorative, true to the movement. The metal strips used to decorate the building, along with some detailing in the grey brick run vertically, emphasizing the verticality of the building. Some of the metal pieces are meant to represent waterfalls since that is what generates a large part of Niagara Mohawks electric power.

The base of the Niagara Mohawk Building is crowned with horizontal metal strips. These, along with v-shaped ornamentation show the importance of geometry in the Art Deco movement. Some of the most distinct features of the building are only showcased at night. The Niagara Mohawk building is lit in a new and innovative way. Vertical strips of light once again emphasize the buildings shape and geometry in the same way at the metal strips, but in a new way. Using new technologies is an important component of the Art Deco Movement, and this building does it well. Seeing that Niagara Mohawk is an electric company, using light seems most appropriate.

Rockefeller Center in New York City began construction at the same time in the same style as the Niagara Mohawk. This is evident in many ways. Rockefeller Center uses geometry to its advantage in its linear buildings. Rockefeller Center also has metal figurines, similar to the one gracing the front of the Niagara Mohawk. The use of metal in new ways is evident in both of these structures.

The Chrysler Building, also in New York City, has a similar pyramid shape as the Niagara Mohawk. The Chrysler Building is much taller but has many of the same features. There is a similar emphasis on v-shaped decoration as well.

The Bullocks Wilshire Department Store in Los Angeles is extremely similar to the Niagara Mohawk in form. Both have very distinct pyramid forms, although the Bullocks Wilshire Department Store is asymmetrical and a little taller. Both have a distinct capital and intricate metal work. Similarly, both were emphasizing evolving industries. Department stores were a new entity and electric companies were increasing in need.

The Art Deco Movement helped us see far into the future of design. Modernism, geometric forms, and new technologies were emphasized while being kept extremely decorative. Many skyscrapers and business buildings in cities in the United States are from the Art Deco period due to its time in history. In a way, we still are in the midst of the Art Deco movement since we are always trying to employ new technologies in design, especially due to the current trends in metalwork and geometry.

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