Louisville is no stranger to the weird side of life. That’s certainly the case with two sets of columns spotted on Fourth Street and Frankfort Avenue. It seems that Louisville has invented two new orders of architecture that incorporate street light and bird bath inspirations.
The first example seen above is at 640 Fourth Street between Chestnut and Broadway. Some time ago, the original storefront was removed and a modern one installed set back from the building facade. Well, something had to hold the building up, and plain steel posts apparently just wouldn’t do. The solution? Add a couple decorative street lamp bases and call it a day. What makes this example glaringly obvious is the presence of a street light with a nearly identical base sitting adjacent to the facade.
It gets even sillier heading down Frankfort Avenue. An old Victorian house now features two columns half comprised of bird bath bases. The photo below shows three columns on the house’s front porch, two of which feature the latest innovation in architectural columnity (calamity?) holding up the front stoop. All of the columns are replacement columns, and apparently two needed a little extra support.
In classical architecture, the column is a work of art unto itself. A column is divided into three parts, the base, the shaft, and the capital, each taking into account the proportional system of the structure. Each of these segments can then be divided into component segments and detailed almost to no end. While these buildings never were intended to follow the main orders of architecture (think of the intricate columns on City Hall or its annex), the original structures are influenced by classical design principles. These principles have been largely forgotten or at least watered down today and I would venture few people in the city could point out, design, or even care about true column design.
So what do you think of Louisville’s architectural innovations? Does it represent the latest trend in weird architecture or does it lack column sense? Are they examples of fine creativity or a little bit columnsy?