Friday, August 9, 2013

The "New" Old Courthhouse

Yowza it's hot. I decided to find ways to entertain myself with air conditioning at someone else's dime. This is the inside of the rotunda and dome at the newly renovated Harris County courthouse in downtown Houston. It was built in 1910. Over the years, as the county became pressed for space, lots of dropped ceilings and ductwork and other improvements took away the beauty of the original building. The county has restored all the lovely marble, the plaster moldings and woodwork. The marble is gorgeous.  On the north side of the building  there is a restored courtroom that looks like something from an old movie set complete with a viewer's balcony.
The most lovely surprise is the restoration of the stained glass dome skylight. The color just glows and the plasterwork around the edges is a nice counterpoint to the very geometric design. They had a few clues to go by for the restoration- photos, scraps of surviving materials and copies of old plans. The design for the original stained glass, however, was lost. The restorers had to take color clues from the other materials and go with a period design.
The building was nice and cool and the drawing was quite a challenge.

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