As you know, the MDAH Board of Trustees will be voting next Friday on whether to place the Meridian Police Station, designed in 1975-1977 by one of Mississippi’s most talented Modernists, Chris Risher, under consideration as a Mississippi Landmark. This comes in response to a request from the City of Meridian to demolish the building, located across the street from Meridian’s landmark City Hall. In the comments to Lolly Barnes’ recent post “To Preserve and Protect” about the fight to save the police station, there was a request for documentation of the building’s “widespread architectural acclaim.” Your wish is my command, Pibbb! Below is the two-page spread published in Mississippi Architect as an overview of the 1977 Honor Awards. In later years, Mississippi Architect also published the text that went with the awards; unfortunately that wasn’t standard practice in 1977, but the table of contents does note that the building is “an excellent example of civic architecture for a small city and scale that relates well to its environment.”
Something I noticed in the bottom picture on page 9, above, is that the City Hall’s front yard, now a wide green expanse, was at the time of these pictures adorned with what appears to be a large circular fountain that played off of the strict geometries of the police station. The angle of that photo couldn’t be achieved today because of a large bush/tree that has been allowed to grow way out of control and thereby diminish the impact of that tall volume stripped with ribbon windows. Cut that bush, and the building will show up in a whole new light.
Chris Risher received another Honor Citation that same year, this one for the Jordan House, location unknown but pictured in another two-page spread. The summary in the Table of Contents remarks, “Unusual shapes and materials combine in A.J. Jordan residence, designed by Chris Risher, to make the structure worthy of an Honor Citation..”