mhc arch presentation - Macaulay Honors College

Greenwich Village and The
Washington Square Arch
By Cindy Lozito and Darren Panicali
Exploring the Architecture and Its History in:
- Greenwich Village
- Washington Square Park
- The Washington Square Arch
Greenwich Village History
 The only location in New York City composed of buildings
covering every decade from 1800 to the Civil War.
 Influenced by economics, availability of materials, and
capabilities of local craftsmen and builders
 Originally housed craftsmen and tradespeople before
expanding through migrations downtown
 Composed of wood structures as well as brick town
houses during its early construction
Architectural Styles of Greenwich
Greek Revival
French Second Empire
Queen Anne
Federal Style
• Formed after the Revolution and symbolic of
America’s evolving identity with political
independence and freedom of design.
• Takes its influence from ancient Greek and Roman
temples and the Georgian colonial period
• Simple with curved lines and decorative flourishes
• Prominent features in an urban environment are:
two stories with a basement and an attic, Flemish
bond brickwork, low stoop, wrought iron railings
Greek Revival
• A movement of national importance
spreading from across the Atlantic to as far
as Ohio and Indiana
• Temple form and classical details of flat
surfaces and millwork
• Three stories high above basement,
pedimented gable, wide and plain frieze,
heavy cornice, iron railings embellished with
• Came to America from Italy through England
• Round-arched style, details originate from Italian
Renaissance villas
• Most popular house style in America during the
late 1860s due to modest budget adaptation and
Victorian technologies’ capability to produce castiron and press-metal decorations
• Brownstone veneer, four stories on basements,
wide and high stoops, double doors, cast iron
railings with repetitive vertical units
French Second Empire
• As the Civil War approached, wealthy property
owners attempted to reflect glories of the Paris of
Napoleon III.
• Died out with economic depression of the 1870s.
• Very similar to Italianate architecture
• Addition of the mansard roof at the top floor,
richer front door paneling with frosted plate glass,
enriched and more ornamental ironwork
Queen Anne
• Architectural fashion in America when the
industrial revolution brought new
• Mass-produced pre-cut trim was formed
into fanciful and lavish houses
• Brick design with terra cotta ornament,
curvilinear wrought ironwork, asymmetrical
bay windows and cornices, architectdesigned
Washington Square Park
Square’s History
• Previously a marsh with a brook running through
• Converted to a “Potter’s Field,” or common burial
ground, in 1797
• A gallows was allegedly once located there
• Converted to a parade ground in 1826
• Established as a public park in 1827
• Now includes dog runs, chess tables, playgrounds,
gardens, and plenty of trees
• Currently under renovation; over $3 million have
gone into this in the past few years
Original Design vs. Current Layout
From Driving Passageway to
Pedestrians’ Paradise, 1971
(Thanks to Square Re-designer
Robert Nichols)
Some Park Architecture:
The Washington Square Fountain
• Aesthetic centerpiece first established in 1872
• Renovated several times
like the arch
• Used be closer to the
southern end of the park
• Now aligned with the arch closer to the north
as a wading pool-style fountain
Some Park Architecture:
Giuseppe Garibaldi Statue
• Italian hero
• Exiled from Italy
• Lead insurrections in the
name of Italian unity/freedom
• He draws his sword
as if still fighting today
Some Park Architecture:
Alexander Holley Statue
• Inventor of the Bessemer
process of making steel
• Revolutionized steel-using
industries in America
• Stone base uses Greek details
And Finally:
The Washington Square Arch
Historical Context of the Arch
• Finished and celebrated on April 30, 1889, in
honor of the centennial of Washington’s
inauguration and erected as a permanent
memorial to him.
• Originally made of wood and stucco but redone
in marble in 1891
• Architects: Charles McKim, William Mead, and
Stanford White. (They were also famous in
helping to design Penn Station, Madison Square
Garden, the Municipal Building, the Harvard Club,
and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among
many other buildings.)
Historical Context of the Arch (cont’d)
• Skeletal remains found during excavation for the
piers; hinted at burial grounds
• With the transition of driving to walking under
the arch, it became a welcoming symbol for
people, inviting leisurely walking and marveling at
the arch’s sheer grandeur.
• Original arch was 77 feet tall, but marble version
stands at 72 ½ feet.
• Eroded by time, weather, corrosion, and animals,
so in 2004, it was renovated for $2.7 million.
• Inscription at top reads: “Let us raise a standard
to which the wise and the honest can repair. The
event is in the hand of God. — Washington”
Original Arch vs. Current Arch
Influence of the Beaux-Arts
Arc de Triumphe from Paris
Beaux-arts is a form of eclectic neo-classicism that displays the following:
Enormous size
Immense Archways
Stone material
Lavish relief decorations
Extraordinary detail with classical influences
Naturalism in sculpture
Bas Relief
• Insignias and other
designs are etched
into the stone but
don’t jut off of it
Coffered Ceiling
• Decorated, amazingly
symmetrical squares
worked into the
Console bracket keystones
• Scroll-shaped
• Located at apex of
arch as a keystone
• Keeps parts in
position as a bracket
Frieze: Alternating Wreaths
• Frieze – Wall, often
decorated, above
• Patterned with
wreaths; every other
has a star inside
• Wreaths connected
by olive branches and
Washington’s Likenesses
Washington as
Accompanied by Fame
and Valor
by Hermon MacNeil.
Erected in 1916.
• Displays dualism
of Washington,
as a man of both
war and peace,
whichever is
appropriate; he
always knew
which one was.
• Invokes realist
Washington as President,
Accompanied by Wisdom
and Justice
by Alexander Stirling
Erected in 1918.
Bibliography for
Information and Images
d/download.php?downloadFile=WSP_E •
AS/appendix_3.pdf• •
bigmap/manhattan/villages/greenwich •
Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Greenwich Village Historic District
Designation Report. Vol. 1. New York:
City of New York, 1969. Print.
[email protected]/3574353039/