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The Kaleidoscope at the Hub; Hub Tower

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1984–1986, Charles Herbert and Associates (The Kaleidoscope), Herbert Lewis Kruse Architects (Hub Tower). Walnut St., between 5th and 7th streets

At the base of this multiuse complex is the Kaleidoscope, a double-layered enclosed pedestrian shopping mall. This two-story section of the complex exhibits low, open towers with hipped roofs and other design elements that have become the hallmarks of the Postmodern vocabulary. The second level of the Kaleidoscope is connected to adjacent buildings by skywalks, which typically do little to encourage pedestrian use of the street. The Hub, a 25-story highrise, as often happens with skyscrapers of the late 1970s and 1980s, ends up being bulky rather than the soaring romantic structure Louis H. Sullivan had in mind. The fenestration of the upper floors of this glass and metal-sheathed building, together with its metal-detailed glass corners, easily fits in with what we usually think of as Postmodern. The architects have emphasized the vertical fenestration of the brick skin of the building in the fashion of the “Vertical Style” of many American skyscrapers of the 1920s. But there is not enough variety of depth in the facade of The Hub to make this work. The crown of the building is composed of a glass-and-metal gable end to the front of the building, behind which is the characteristic (for Postmodernism) central tower with its own hipped roof. The interior space housing the entrance and elevator lobby utilizes a 1980s version of the late-twenties Art Deco.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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