Florida/Caribbean Architect - Spring 2012 - (Page 22)
The dilapidated Starter’s House (left) and the nearly completed structure (right). ALL PHOTOS BY WES FEATHERSTON UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.
The Patina of Elephants
JAMES CORNETET, AIA, LEEP AP
When did the shift occur from architecture emanating from the poetics of construction to architecture being a by-product of the science of building? The phenomenon is most apparent here in the U.S. Perhaps it is the litigious nature of our society that has caused clients to demand maintenance-free buildings or the competitive nature of our capitalistic market that has forced many manufacturers and suppliers to over promise and under deliver on the durability and performance of their products. Clients, architects and builders entrust modern buildings with the improbable task of becoming pristine machines that are immune to the effects of time.
do, our buildings might achieve a character consistent with the European towns they frequently romanticize. Architects often dismiss the word “patina” as having only to do with the unique appearance of copper as it oxidizes and corrodes from an amber metallic finish to a flat surface texture that is greenish in color. According to the Copper Development Association, this process can take copper up to 30 years. The word “patina” is a noun, a quality, an appearance that is derivative of the forces that created it and a quality of beauty that can only be gained through age and use. It represents an old way of seeing the world that has been all but lost. A case in point is a recent commission that my firm received to create a design that would adapt and reuse an existing structure. Known as the Starter’s House, the building is sited on the golf course of the Winter Park Country Club which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Constructed in 1916 for the City of Winter Park, the house began as a modest utilitarian structure that has grown through a series of additions. Extensive termite damage required the reconstruction
In contrast to the airbrushed contemporary masterpieces that we see in architecture magazines, elephants are the culmination of their imperfections. The surface of their bodies is heavy and obstinate. The folds and texture of their skin are beautiful indices of time. Each scar is a vestige of an encounter. The beauty of these great creatures is that with each passing year, with every fray, their bodies slowly develop a patina. If architects and clients embraced time in the same way that elephants
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Florida/Caribbean Architect - Spring 2012
2012 Legislative Wrap-up
Dr. Phillips Charities Headquarters Building
Best Friends Pet Hotel
Architects: It’s Time to Rethink Product Choices
The Patina of Elephants
Florida/Caribbean Architect - Spring 2012