I thought with carnival coming to its crescendo this upcoming week it might be fun to have a contest to go along with our word this week. Mr. Cyril Harris defines our word in the 2006 edition of his Dictionary of Architecture and Construction as;
Screen Block: (ˈskrēn ˈbläk) The use of concrete masonry units primarily as a screen wall.
Pretty straight forward right? These Screen Blocks are used in many different instances. Some times they will be used to shade a window, or used to give some decoration to a wall. Some times they allow ventilation to a space or are just used to give some privacy to an area.
The image and attached PDF sheet below is page 415 from Nelson Burbank and Herbert Pfister’s 1968 House Construction Details. When I came across this page I wondered to myself if any of these decorative patterns or blocks had ever actually been used. Almost immediately I started seeing the patterns and block types all over the place. The fleur-de-lis screen block has evaded me so far but I’m not giving up on finding one here in Mississippi. The captions give us a good insight to what manufactures, architects and builders thought process was at the time.
So my proposal for a Screen Block Bingo game is as follows. Print out a copy of the attached image and put it in your vehicle. As you drive around Mississippi keep your eyes peeled. If you see one of the block styles take a photo and cross it off your list. When you’ve filled your list shout out ” Screen block bingo!” loud enough for all us MissPresers to hear. Then upload these photos to the Preservation in Mississippi Flickr page to prove you are a Mississippi Preservationist extraordinaire. The Preservation In Mississippi Flickr page is currently celebrating having our 1000th upload and reaching the total of 50 members. So if you have a Flickr account and some photos of Mississippi join us in the fun!
As with any Bingo sheet you get a free square so here are photographs of the House of the Good Shepard S.V.D.P. Office in Biloxi. Built in 1962 as the convent for Our Lady of Fatima hopefully its masonry screen will get you started and get the creative juices flowing. If we do have a winner there is the possibility of a real physical prize not just a digital one!
So, Happy hunting and have a safe and happy Mardi Gras!