There’s this local office building that’s been catching my eye as I’ve driven by it both while it was under construction and now that it is complete. Finally stopped to take a walk around it!
At its heart it kinda follows the glass box typology, but in so many ways it is very far away from ever just being a box. For one, it’s not just a box – a good half of it skews diagonally like a parallelogram. For two, it is split in two – with each half getting a slightly different expression (while still using a similar language of black glass and steel with the addition of integrated sunshade blades) and the area where they meet being sculpturally demarked. For three, it’s not just a mirrored surface of undifferentiated glass, with the steel frame being nicely detailed and sculpturally handled, using double mullions, different mullion depths, and those aforementioned sun shades to give it nice articulation, playing with composition enhanced by differing shadowlines. (Similar in the way that the detailing of Mies van der Rohe’s TD or Seagram buildings make them lauded while other generic glass towers can easily be eyesores.)
All that is what caught my eye during the construction phases. But what really catches the eye now is that remarkable glass artwork that sits prominently on its prow. Abstract in its leafiness and rendered vibrant due to the black background, it really works well, avoiding feeling like a billboard or just some giant image slapped wantonly onto the building. (Amusingly it is very much held onto the building like something resembling the support structure for a billboard!) It’s a bit of art that manages well to feel like it’s a part of the building.
Architecture lives in our communities, and we live in it. This isn’t what we might term a “major” or “glamourous” project, but it’s an err to think good design should only live there. Good architecture is welcome everywhere and makes our built environment worth living in. Good stuff.
223 North Mathilda Avenue by, unfortunately, designers unknown. (I tried to find them but haven’t yet – I’ll keep looking!)