Monday, September 27th, 2010

Inspiration Monday: Cincinnati Architecture


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After the election awhile back, I got really sick of hearing the term “flyover states,” so started organizing some of my favorite bloggers from the middle of the U.S. to help me dispel the myth that everything exciting happens on our two coasts. However, then we decided to have an Organization-themed guest blog week and I lost track of my flyover states plans. Thankfully I was reminded of it last week. We’re going to have a series of guest posts from bloggers from all over the country. Having grown up in Cincinnati myself, I’m excited to introduce Maya Drozdz of VisuaLingual, who is going to show us some of her favorite architectural treasures from The Queen City. Take it away Maya!

Four years ago, when I first learned that I would be moving to Cincinnati, I knew almost nothing about the city — I had seen WKRP in Cincinnati, I liked the work of Charley Harper, and I knew that the Afghan Whigs, a band I’d liked in high school, were from Cincinnati. Further research revealed that it’s home to Macy’s and Procter & Gamble, Larry Flynt got his start here, Jerry Springer was once Cincinnati’s mayor, and that there was an anti-obscenity kerfuffle involving an exhibit of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs at the Contemporary Arts Center. So, keeping my expectations firmly in check, I moved to this fair city, and discovered that it’s full of interesting and innovative architecture, art and design spanning the 19th through the 21st centuries.

The Cincinnati City Hall was built in 1887 in the Richardson Romanesque style. It was designed by Samuel Hannaford, a prominent local architect. Its castle-like form would be at home on an Ivy League campus or on the set of a Harry Potter movie.

Music Hall, located just north of downtown in Over-the-Rhine, is another Hannaford design. Completed in 1878, it is home to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera, May Festival Chorus, and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. The $10 symphony tickets may well be the best deal in town.

Memorial Hall, just down the street from Music Hall, was built in 1908 and houses the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra and the annual MusicNow festival. Its interior is more posh than you might expect from the Greek Revival facade.

The Dixie Terminal Building was designed by Garber & Woodward and completed in 1921. It served as the streetcar terminal and stock exchange, and is now an office building. You may remember its arcade from the film Rain Man. The entry is decorated with tile made by the Rookwood Pottery Company.

Rookwood was founded in 1880 by Maria Longworth Nichols and quickly gained a reputation for beautiful craftsmanship and technical innovation. Its architectural pottery division started in 1902, and examples can be found in public spaces in Cincinnati and beyond, as well as fireplaces in many older homes in the Cincinnati area.

For 80 years, Carew Tower was the tallest building in Cincinnati. Construction started in 1929, right before the start of the Great Depression. It’s an Art Deco masterpiece but, as you look up the facade, you can see where the ornamentation stops and the plain brick begins. This was done as a cost-cutting measure.

The building now houses the Netherland Hilton as well as offices. The interior arcade features Rookwood tile, of course. Orchids at Palm Court, Hilton’s restaurant, offers great food in an incredible space.

Even more Rookwood tile, on the facade of the old Gidding-Jenny department store, currently TJ Maxx.

The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge spans the Ohio River and connects downtown Cincinnati with Covington, Kentucky. If it looks a bit like the Brooklyn Bridge in miniature, that’s because Roebling designed both using many of the same structural principles.

Findlay Market in Over-the-Rhine, opened in 1855 and is Ohio’s oldest surviving municipal market house. It’s located among the largest collection of Italianate buildings in the US. We live just a few blocks away and do a lot of our grocery-shopping here. I really think that our diet has improved as a result!

The Contemporary Arts Center, located downtown, was the first US project by avant garde architect Zaha Hadid. Completed in 2003, it is locally loved or hated, depending on who you talk to.

Across the street from the CAC is a block-long parking garage whose facade is an artwork by Polish Op Artist Julian Stanczak. What would have been an eyesore is instead an animated, colorful installation.

A little-known piece of public art is a mosaic mural by the late Charley Harper, located in the John Weld Peck Federal Building. You just go through security, head toward the elevators, and there it is!

My last bit of Cincinnati inspiration is this Googie pavilion located in Bellevue Hill Park. The pavilion was designed by R. Carl Freund and built in 1955 as a site for outdoor dancing. Cincinnati has an amazing, extensive network of parks, but this little park is my favorite. It offers a great vantage point for viewing fireworks displays over downtown.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little romp through some of my favorite Cincinnati finds. If you keep an open mind, it’s a great little city to visit!


Monday, July 20th, 2009

The Cardinal House


Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky

I was in Cincinnati for 48 hours last week and while I didn’t get a chance to check out the exhibit of his newly found paintings at Fabulous Frames, I stumbled upon this remarkable house while checking out a river view house for sale in Anderson Township. I suppose the street sign before the shared driveway should have given me a clue as to what was ahead:

There was another Charley Harper cardinal on the other side of the house in the carport. Those decks have a great view of the Ohio River and the rolling bluegrass hills of Kentucky on the other side.

By the way, this is the house nearby that my friends and I want to make our dream house when we win the lottery and retire:


Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Lost Charley Harper Prints Exhibit in the ‘natti


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Thanks to Maya over at Visualingual, for letting me know about the Charley Harper exhibit at Fabulous Frames in Cincinnati (10817 Montgomery Road location). Here’s the story, from Fabulous Frames’ blog:

Included in the exhibit will be approximately 50 original paintings created by Charley for Ford Times and Lincoln Mercury Times magazines between 1948 and 1982. The illustrations were reproduced in the magazines, but the originals were thought to have been lost until they were discovered in a Ford Motor Company vault earlier this year.

With the permission of Edsel Ford II, the entire collection was returned to the Harper family, which organized this exhibit with Fabulous Frames & Art, an art gallery and custom-framing shop that has had a relationship with the Harpers for over 30 years. Charley’s son Brett Harper will be on hand during the opening reception to introduce this important body of work.

The exhibit opens this weekend and runs through August 8. Also, Fabulous Frames has some wonderful Harper prints for sale online here. Some may surprise you; Maya got me giggling over this one:

I love this Blenko-looking bottle one as well:

all images from


Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Flickr Faves: VisuaLingual


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I know I’ve mentioned/swiped from one of my favorite blogs, VisuaLingual before, but I wanted to show a few favorite flickr shots I have swiped from there for my own inspiration.

Brilliant and balanced Art Arrangement:

A collection of found objects, in this case bottles, they have found around their neighborhood, Over the Rhine in Cincy:

More great art arrangement, a bold color choice, and you all know I’m always a sucker for globes and maps:

And finally, the to die for studio space:

Check out VisuaLingual on flickr here, the blog here, the site here, and the etsy shop here!

all photos from VisuaLingual, via flickr


Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

In Case You Missed It: Around the Web Last Week


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1) A peep into the new Ace Hotel in New York City via Gothamist:

2) Cheery Color Therapy for Depressed Times over at It’s All So Lovely:

3) One of my favorite blogs is VisuaLingual. I’m not sure how I found it; I think I was checking out Cincy stuff because I grew up there and love the city. She finds the coolest things like this (Dispatchwork by Jan Vormann):

…and this Charley Harper Mural in Cincinnati I never knew about in the eleven years I lived there:

For more great photos of this mural, check out VisuaLingual.

4) Yellow makes me SO happy! Elements of Style has a great collection of yellow images and goods right here:

I did a post of yellow with black and white awhile back. It’s right here.

5) Spaceinvading. I am HOOKED!

6) Vanessa De Vargas rounded up some of L.A.’s hottest designers to share their favorite trends over at AT:LA. The post is here.

1) Ace Hotel photos by Katie Sokoler for Gothamist

2) from Living Etc. via It’s All So Lovely

3) from Jan Vormann via VisuaLingual; by Maya Drozdz at VisuaLingual

4) via Elements of Style. I think this photo was originally from Cottage Living.

5) Image © jamesapallister. Building is Arevalo Studio by Mole Architects via Spaceinvading.

6) via Apartment Therapy