Monday, 9 July 2012
Art Deco Gem - 103 Church Street
There has sat at the corner of Church and Richmond a tiny perfect Art Deco masterpiece for four score and two years! The 1930 J. Frank Raw Building is one of the platonic ideal of Arts Decoratif movement. It's all here- the limestone finish, the font-astic typography of her numberboard, the Egyptian ziggurat setbacks (absolutely essential for period), the octagonal windows, the mullioned windows... even the curve of streetcar track is perfect and to period.
And, most significantly, it has been well maintained. Many of its peers have been "improved", typically by adding a 50 story modernist tower on three sides of them. Or carving them out into a cheapjack theatre, like the conversion of the TSE into "The Design Exchange".
The Art Deco Society officially records the building as the 1932 Charles Dolphin Building. Given that Dolphin's masterpiece was the 1941 Postal Delivery Building now called "The Air Canada Centre" it is an impressive pedigree for this building.
And here is what happens to Art Deco buildings when they are not maintained properly.