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Northwest Community Nursing and Health Center (Ada Hawkins School)

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Ada Hawkins School
1938. Intersection of Putnam Pk. and Cooper Rd.

At the start of the loop is the former Ada Hawkins School, now converted into the Northwest Community Nursing and Health Center, a finer variant of the Public Works Administration Neo-Colonial elementary school at Chepachet ( GL13), apparently by the same architects, showing the same virtues, but better composed, with less disruptive variation in window size. Altered only superficially for its present use as a medical facility, the interiors give a pleasant sense of traditional building crafts coming to terms with modernism. Red tile (not vinyl) floors, yellow brick dados (not sheet paneling), stained oak (not metal) doors, wooden sash (not aluminum) in the transoms to light the halls from borrowed classroom light. Is it this quality which substantially accounts for the charm of such “Depression” buildings? They mediate between tradition and modernist functionalism, their point of view being less “modern” than progressive. Everything seems so solid, so luminously matter-of-fact, so cheerfully derived from everyday experience—as though an unproblematic modernity would automatically emerge from the progressive application of the familiar.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.

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