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Graphics Gone Wild

June 27, 2012

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Fielded panels are foundational architectural elements in American historical building.  They are one of a handful of architectural features that cross the line between purpose and decoration.  Like a Corinthian column installed to support a gallery above, or an arch and keystone between two rooms, they are intended to enclose a space, support a wall, hold up a ceiling.  All have in common an intrinsic sculptural quality that is accomplished by crafting a single material in a way that is decorative in its detail.  The strength of the material and the art of the decoration are expressed as a single element.  This sculptural tendency  carries over to the ornamentation as well.  Garland motifs maybe applied but appear to be cast into the plaster.

The fielded panels in this house are turned into flat high contrast graphic designs overwhelming the space and removing all hints of history.  The interior view along the stair, minus the graphic panels, suggests the possibility of a lovely Queen Ann ambiance.  Untrained designers, even those with natural ability, might try to correct a problem with more of the same problem.  An interior architect could have provided a sophisticated rendition of this historical style.

House photos courtesy of Weichert.

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