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Columbia University Digital Knowledge Ventures The Architecture and Development of New York City with Andrew S. Dolkart
image The Public Realm Smaller Scale Buildings
Immigrant Palaces
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Maps & Key Buildings
Smaller Scale Buildings
Immigrant Palaces
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But even for the most modest civic buildings a sense of architectural grandeur was used. This was a period in the early twentieth century where there are a number of civic construction projects in the most densely overcrowded, poor, immigrant slum areas of New York.

The construction, for example, of public baths, and also the creation of small parks in the city, which often have small play buildings often also incorporating public baths.

When these buildings were built, the city didn't envision these as cheap buildings. There was this view that architecture could be an ennobling experience, that good architecture would help to create better citizens among the immigrants. And so very prestigious architects were hired to design these small-scale civic buildings in these slum areas.

And this is the Hamilton Fish Park Play Pavilion, which was designed in the early twentieth century in one of the most densely overcrowded sections of the Lower East Side. And the park was created, and Carrère and Hastings designed this small-scale but incredibly grand and monumental building, a symmetrical building focusing on this great arched entrance, which was a form borrowed by Carrère and Hastings from the Petit Palais in Paris. So they're taking one of these monumental French buildings and they're making it a much smaller, more modest building, but still a grand building, for one of the poorest immigrant areas of New York.


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