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Pontiac Free Library

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1956, Jackson, Robertson and Adams. 101 Greenwich Ave.

This small village library is an adept, straightforward example of American modernism as it developed out of the International Style. Following Walter Gropius's emigration to the United States in the late 1930s, the Bauhaus aesthetic came to be reinterpreted in this country as an architecture of abstract, clearly defined forms rendered in wood, brick, or stone, materials more common here than the uncompromising white stucco favored in Europe (and used here when the real International Style effect was desired). The Pontiac Library follows in this vein. It consists of a plain, sharp-edged rectangular main block clad in common-bond Roman brick that emphasizes the building's horizontality. The steel-frame vertical strip windows with horizontal mullions both counter and reinforce this emphasis. A plain, flat-top entrance portico, generous rectangular bay window on the south, and a subsidiary block to the rear complete the composition. Inside, the bay window is balanced by an unornamented fireplace whose domestic air somewhat mitigates the stark qualities of the building. Jackson, Robertson, and Adams themselves had all died by 1950; by the time this structure was commissioned, the firm was conducted by George Fraser and Raymond J. Henthorne, who shortly thereafter changed the name of the practice to Fraser and Henthorne.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Pontiac Free Library", [Warwick, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-WA15.

Print Source

Buildings of Rhode Island, William H. Jordy, with Ronald J. Onorato and William McKenzie Woodward. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004, 323-323.

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