Saturday, March 13, 2010

America's First "Green" House

By Presidential Proclamation 8479 , March is once again Irish-American Heritage Month. President Obama calls "...upon all Americans to observe this month by celebrating the contributions of Irish American[s] to our Nation with appropriate ceremonies and activities."

Given [1016] Architecture's reasons for strong Irish pride (some percentage of actual bloodline, as well as a Notre Dame education), Inside the Brackets wants to fulfill its civic duty by focusing some attention on high-flying Irish-American Architects.

Drumroll, Please!
Admittedly, it took a bit of Google exploration to find a list of architects that could fit the bill, but Inside the Brackets is quite happy to re-remember this bit of Irish-American history.  Irish Architect James Hoban won the contest for the design of the White House (in 1792).

Okay, so this design award isn't exactly "current events," but I dare say you don't always read about the best designs in Arch Record (though, as of this writing, there is a feature of the restoration of beautiful Neues Museum on the homepage).

The Award
In a review process which may have seemed as arbitrary and brief as any experienced in architecture school, George Washington breezed into town on July 16, 1792 and selected Hoban's design for the new Presidential Mansion over several other competitors, including an anonymous submission by Andrew Jackson.

Modifications to the competition entry, shown right, were made, including those requested by Washington and repairs and additions after the 1815 fire.

All in all, Inside the Brackets thinks that the end result is something of which all Americans, Irish or not, can be proud.
The Result
Without Irish American James Hoban, you might not recognize any of these images:

Do our readers know of any other great Irish-American architects?

[1016] Architecture is ready. Are you?
Let us know: Think about it, comment below, then:
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  1. Actually you missed Louis Henri Sullivan, who is considered the father of the Skyscraper and mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright. I would say he was a pretty substatial Irish American influence on Architecture no?

  2. Robert McDonald3/14/2010 2:33 PM

    James O'Donnell, several building in NY, designed Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal (funny that a Notre Dame educated Architect would miss this)

  3. William Kerr

  4. Perhaps we'll take a closer look at Sullivan (also with a strong Chicago connection), O'Donnell and/or Kerr later in the month. I have heard of Sullivan and O'Donnell, but never made the Irish-American connection.

    Thanks for the tips on these great names.


Comments welcome.