Posts Tagged ‘Gustavino Tiles City Hall’

Vaulted ceiling loveliness outside a city building

August 12, 2013

Contemporary government buildings have a reputation for functional ugliness.

MunicipalbuildingceilingBut in 1909, when the newly consolidated city of New York needed more office space, city officials seemed to realize that a forward-thinking metropolis should have triumphant architecture.

So they commissioned the McKim, Mead, and White–designed Manhattan Municipal Building at One Centre Street, which was completed in 1914.

One of the building’s loveliest features is outside: the vaulted ceiling at the south arcade.

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Here, surrounding the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge-Chambers Street subway station, are beautiful columns and white Gustavino ceiling tiles.

Look up at them for a brief moment, and you might imagine yourself at an Italian palazzo rather than in Lower Manhattan.

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The vaulted ceilings are a reminder of the Gustavino-tiled ceilings of the long-shuttered City Hall subway station, all glorious curves and colors and light.