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Embassy and Chancery of Haiti (Gibson Fahnestock House)
The adjoining Fahnestock and Moran houses were under construction simultaneously and succinctly exhibit two basic approaches to highstyle Beaux-Arts architecture in America. Both depend upon eighteenth-century French prototypes; Totten's Moran house is a freely composed, eclectic design while Wyeth's Fahnestock house is more academically correct in its composition and architectural vocabulary. Its four-and-a-half-story limestone facade is a finely proportioned composition in which the richness implied by the Corinthian pilasters is achieved by restrained elegance rather than by abundant ornament. Nonetheless the comparatively thin front plane is activated across its entire surface with variously proportioned and detailed windows locked into a subtly defined and perfectly balanced grid. Although less imaginative than its adjoining neighbor, Wyeth's design is visually coherent and viscerally satisfying, its restraint a positive influence on the avenue.
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