Mississippi Architect, February 1964: It’s All About Perspective

As sometimes happens in the Mississippi Architect magazines–produced by the Mississippi chapter of the AIA from March 1963 through March 1965–we can see in hindsight today themes common to both the locally produced editorial and one of the nationally produced articles included in the issue.

In the February 1964 issue, editor Harry Haas, a partner in the Jackson firm Jones & Haas, muses on the differing perspectives of client and architect. Later in the same issue, a stock article about the “Colonial” remodeling of a previously Art Moderne-style corner store (similar in feel to those in our Modernist Storefront post) is touted as a great advance, but from my perspective I see something wonderfully sophisticated replaced by utter blandness. Read on and decide for yourself from your own perspective.

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Point of View

A while back our office was making preliminary studies of the layout of a medical clinic. As is not unusual, the arrangement didn’t jell on the first try–matter of fact, several developments were presented before final approval of the floor plan was forth-coming.

We were puzzled by the doctor’s persistent habit of turning the schematic plans around, so as to look at them upside down from the way they were drawn. Now architects very often find this a desirable way to demonstrate a drawing to a person or group on the opposite side of a conference table. But to have the client do so when he looked at them was practically unheard of.

So we asked for and received the explanation: “When I look at the layout,” the doctor said, “I visualize myself already at work, in a consultation or an examining room at the rear of the building, as my patient comes to me from the waiting room up front.”

Ordinarily the architect, like the doctor here, conceives the building from the inside out. The architect puts himself inside the imaginary building and seeks to find out first what is needed, then how these needs can best he served in building. The architect must put himself in the client’s place. In this case, the client put himself in the architect’s place, and saw his clinic as the architect had first seen it.

-Harry Haas

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FACELIFTING FOR SUBURBAN STORE

THE complete remodeling of the Helen Caro store at Suburban Square, Ardmore, Pennsylvania, included renovation of the 4,000-square-foot interior as well as the exterior.

The design objective for the exterior was two-fold: to connote a suburban feeling, and to pick up the local atmosphere of Philadelphia’s Main Line, which calls for painted wood and brick, repeating the general architecture of the area.

The former store was faced with carrara glass and had large bulk windows. The renovated store is strictly modern in design, but colonial in feeling, with an exterior of painted white brick, set off by a cherry red and white striped awning.

By eliminating the bulk windows, it was possible to give the store excellent signing, and “Helen Caro” is readily visible from a distance. The windows which remained permit customers to see directly into the store.

By having a large white facade, the store’s motif, the rose, was placed as a large symbol against the front, again giving identification to the store. A planting box filled with shrubs completes an informal inviting exterior.

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These articles are reprinted from the February 1964 issue of the Mississippi Architect, with permission from the Mississippi Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. To view the full February 1964 issue of Mississippi Architect in a digitized format, or other articles in this ongoing series, including the pdf version of each full issue, click on the MSArcht tab at the top of this page.



Categories: Architectural Research

3 replies

  1. This building still stands on the corner of Coulter Ave and St.James Place in Ardmore but has been “re-designed” again. In the re-design the storefront windows were brought back but the over all design looks like an EFIS special.

    From the 1960’s photo I thought the tower in the background was a ’60 era building, but Google Maps shows a neat polychromatic late-deco building.

    Very cool post!

    Like

  2. I guess I’m getting old because it’s still amazing to me that you can see a fairly minor little commercial building in a previously unknown town with a few clicks of a mouse! You young whippersnappers think nothing of it!

    Like

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