Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Southlake Town Hall

In the center of Southlake Town Square is the Town Hall, which also serves as a municipal courthouse, public library, Tarrant County commissioner's office, and more. To say the least, it is a large building that draws a lot of traffic.

The building itself is handsome, stately, and cuts a fine figure from the park plaza in front. Situated as the center of town square, this red brick structure stands above all the others surrounding it. The area in front of it is meant as a public gather space for the city during special events, and it does this to great effect. See yesterday's entry about the Town Square for more on that.

The front is a mixture of function and facade that blends tastefully. The large Ionic columns serve to support a rather large balcony, from which special proclamations and civic ceremonies may be officiated and overseen. Though it is difficult to tell from the photo, the City Hall is actually four stories, with the bottom story being about 3/4 below the ground-line, like one might see in Seattle.

Some of the more interesting external elements are seen in the corners. I especially like the dented corners, which soften the building's outline a bit while adding more dimension. The top of the indention is a nice counter to the crown of the facade, which in and of itself is a nice touch. The triangular pennant design adds just the right amount of Tex-Mex character to the building. The fake balcony, while attractive, always puzzles me wherever I encounter it. It would be only a minor increase in cost to make a small, functional balcony with a window-door behind it. The fake balcony, conversely, suffers more drawbacks than a real balcony in that it is a perfect haven for bird nests and flying debris like leaves, plastic bags, etc. Yet it provides no access to actually clean it out, like a balcony would. Some other form of decor, such as the Lone Star bas-relief on the other wall would require much less maintenance to keep clean. It seems like it'd make a lot more sense to replace the fake balcony with a real one or something else.

Going up...

Immediately inside of the front door are symmetrical square-spiral staircases to the left and right of a very attractive, simple design, with plenty of natural light from the numerous windows.

Going down...

Regretfully, the Town Hall courts were in session, the offices were in use, and the place was quite crowded with a number of people who, for obvious reasons, did not want to be photographed. Getting a clear shot of anything took a while before others had cleared out.

I love this view. The grand ballroom-style foyer of the Town Hall is incredibly elegant, and reminds me of an a lot of an Arabic courtyard I saw in one of the books I've read. It would be only the work of minutes to replace the furnishings with tables, linens, and fancy chairs, and you have a room fit for a black-tie affair, or a wedding reception. I'm not sure if the city had this in mind when they approved the design, but considering most city and county courts and offices are closed on Saturdays, it seems like an ideal time to rent out the space for just such an event.

I would have liked to be able to do a more thorough spread on the building, like I did for Big Ol' Red, but unlike The Old Red Courthouse, this one is still very much in use for private city business. Would that my own city had that kind of money.

No comments:

Post a Comment

My Shelfari Bookshelf

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog