I am drawn to older buildings; I believe I am attracted to the handmade craftsmanship in many of them. I know that the “infrastructure” of plumbing, electrics, asbestos, etc., etc., etc., is not always so good. However, I look for the signs of a craftsman at work…a gargoyle, a statue, dentile molding, a carved bannister, etc. I can almost see the artist working on the raw product and finishing it with pride. Perhaps sometimes the finishing touches are taken for granted and only the “brute force” of the whole building is appreciated. A cake without icing is just…well, not even a proper cake. Anyway…my mind and pen are wandering.
Not too long ago on a day much warmer than today, I was in Chinatown, D.C. This little building stuck out among the high rises around it, an architectural island of Art Deco. The building was only three stories high (four if you count the roof garden) and was tiny compared with most of its neighbors. The front of the building is carved limestone and was named and labeled, “The Bulletin.” I looked up its pedigree…it was built in 1928 for the United Press Company. If you look closely at the building, you can see four carved bas-relief figures representing the printing industry. An industry that I wanted to be a part of some 50 plus years ago.
Today, it’s been resurrected as “Bar Deco” by Noe Landini of the Old Town Alexandria, VA, Landini Brothers. According to various restaurant reviews and write-ups, he has thoughtfully brought back the architectural feeling of the building along with good, locally sourced foods. It even has roof seating, presumably for nicer weather than today’s. We will definitely go there to eat someday but most especially to take in the feel of the building itself.
The Bulletin Building. Chinatown, Washington, D.C.