• The Cable Building Acanthus Block, 611 Broadway

    I was sort of flip browsing some old photos on my drive while revamping my web pages extensively the last two days and I came across some 35mm photos of took of the building from the fire escape way back in 1979. One of the designs I photographed caught my eye again as it has a number of times over the years and I decided to take my large scanned copy and fix it in Gimp to eliminate the angle of view. Next I fixed the proportions and lastly I managed to scale the size of the original by using a couple of photos, one happened to be a photo I took in my loft there where one of the windows is in the shot, along with capturing an artifact in the view which I still have that measures 5-1/2″ wide.

    Using that 5-1/2″ known size and measuring it’s pixels across the photo, I was able to extract the information needed, it took obtaining the width of that window in pixels and then converting this to inches. Once I did that I came up with the measurement of 82″ wide for the window.

    Now to the exterior photo, I now knew the window directly above the ornament on the 7th floor was 82″ wide edge to edge, scaling the photo in CAD so that the window measured 82″ wide I now had the image adjusted to the approximate correct size so I could measure nearby elements with a reasonable degree of accuracy.
    I determined the original terracotta acanthus leaf ornament I want to make a model of measures about 24″ wide, the height meausred close to 24″ but I could tell that due to the angle of view and a small projecting molding under it, that it is slightly more than 24″ tall- probably about 27 to 28″ going by how much I needed to “stretch” the image vertically to make the leave look proportionally close to some other photos I have that were taken from further away but on a higher level from a nearby building.

    Here’s a small verion of the 1979 photo, the angle of view was pretty acute;

    And now with the leaf mostly fixed and corrected but not quite as tall as it needs to be to make it 24×28″ and superimposed on a photo as an inset;

    I think it’s an interesting design that could be quite dramatic, and the size is real nice. This would be something that could be pressed in clay as well, so it will need some planning for the size to allow for interior casts of a reasonable size, and terracotta which will have two shrinkage factors to them- the shrinkage of the original model @ 1″ per 10″ and then the shrinkage of the pressed clay cast thru the firing process.
    I think I’ll work on this after I finish the current model.

    It’s is also interesting that I found a 1999 article in the NY Times which says in part:

    The firm of Allanbrook Benic Czajka Architects has the best view in the place, on the eighth-floor corner looking south down Broadway and east on Houston. ”We walked in and started jumping up and down,” said James V. Czajka, a partner; they pay $4,000 a month for a 1,500 square foot space.

    That space was directly above my loft on the 7th floor, and it was originally the cable car company offices though when I was there the tenant in that space was using it to store 55 gallon drums of some chemical.
    But holy cow, $4,000 a month rent in 1999!!! doing the math, my 1,000 sq ft loft would then have been around $2,700 a month in 1999 for a space I was paying $331 a month for in 1979!
    Doing the inflation calculator today they are probably paying $5446 a month rent and my space would be $3676
    But going by the 1978 rent I was paying and adding inflation in, the rent should be $2,277- a lot of money for a raw space with no hot water or heat after 5 pm or weekends if that’s the case now as it was in 1978!

  • Commodore Hotel Cornice Mask

    Now with about 140 pounds of clay pressed into the form and having used the template to form the concavity and the 2″ flat crown, I have the backer section moldings’ shape in the clay and ready to begin probably to-morrow on adding the mask portion to this.

  • Commodore Hotel Cornice Mask

    Now that I have the size determined that I want my model to be, I have my form ready to begin shaping the backer section first with it’s concave face.

    I decided 26″ wide, with the shrinkage of the clay the dry model will wind up around 24″ wide.

    The form will create the rectangular shape of the backing portion behind the mask, the mask will need to be completely modelled free-hand onto it similarly to the way the horse-head model was.

    A 1918 photo taken when the Commodore was under construction, that’s Grand Central Station on the left and this view was made before the elevated viaduct on Park Avenue in the foreground was added so motor vehicles could drive over 42nd street and around the terminal to the other side.
    The Pan Am building was later built behind the terminal and over the viaduct which allowed the vehicles to pass through two short S shaped tunnels to reach Park Avenue on the other side again.

  • Next model

    Now that the horse head model has been finished, I am thinking of making smaller version of the Commodore Hotel copper cornice mask:

    Casts could host an authentic looking, interesting and effective green copper patina on them using either a variety of paints as I used to do, or with one of the real metal and chemically treated coatings by sculptor and patina expert Ron Young whose book on bronze patination I have.

    Ron Young is highly regarded throughout the world for his knowledge and use of metal patinas. He is the author of the two books on the subject: “Methods for Modern Sculptors” and “Contemporary Patination”.

  • Horsehead model progress

    Nearing completion now, the left ear is not shorter than the right even though the photo makes it appear it is- the head is turned slightly towards that direction.

    Left to do now mostly is mane detailing and then overall surface cleaning and he’s done.

    And now he is completed and drying:

  • Horse head model progress

    Horsehead model progress 12-8-2013

    I did some more work on this today and started refining the left side of the face (not shown) and after using the hoist to get it standing vertically on the work bench I was able to remove the wood form and rough hollow out the head and back. Now laid back on the form’s backer and bottom board I’ll be finishing it up shortly and by then I can hollow the back out a bit more when it gets firmer than it is now.

  • Horse head model progress

    I am mainly working on the right half at the moment, the cornice I decided to hollow out from the top rather than the back as when an eventual mold is made of this the hollowed out top of the cornice will be molded and that will reduce the weight of casts.
    The casts will have those hollow compartments on the top but since this would be on the wall above the eye the compartments would never be seen.