11 October 2008

Restoring Council Chambers



Back in July I was crawling around City Hall auditing their HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems (I’m an MEP consulting engineer) when I stumbled upon a restoration effort underway in the Chambers of City Council.

A young lady on top of the scaffolding introduced herself as the restoration artist. She explained that sometime past the coffered ceilings had been painted that ugly brown and yellow, and the murals had been covered with acoustical tiles. She was removing the tiles, stripping the paint, documenting the old art and then restoring it to its former grandeur with some new gilded highlights on the dentils, cornices and pineapples. Apparently this style was typical throughout. She said she “should be done with the rest of the building before I’m 80 [years old].”

And yes that is a nipple peeking out from behind the arm of the maiden frolicking with the cherubim. I don’t know if that makes this “campy” or obscene, but I’m sure lots of critics will chime-in on that. I suppose since the ceiling mural is at least 70 feet above the sidewalk we can call it “high art”.

I can’t wait to see it when she’s done. It should be spectacular.


CityKin said...

That is very cool.

Randy Simes said...

It's amazing that they ever covered this up to begin with.

Radarman said...

The city's most prominent muralist was Italian born Francis Pedretti. Those are probably his.

You wouldn't believe how City Hall had been butchered by the 1970s. There were dropped ceilings and the municipal equivalent of Nu-Sash windows everywhere. Restoration efforts are still grudging. The management would prefer to be in an office park in Blue Ash.