Exhibit - Table of Contents ........... Esenwein & Johnson - Table of Contents

Later Buildings
Art Nouveau and Other Expressions: Rediscovering the Architecture of Esenwein and Johnson

A 2005 Exhibit at the 
Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society Museum

Curated by Martin Wachadlo

TEXT Beneath Illustrations


Click on illustrations for larger size -- and additional information

Edward H. Webster Residence

Myron G. Farmer Residence

Louis Kurtzman Residence

House for Charles Mosier

House for Charles Mosier


AMERICAN RENAISSANCE - Providence Retreat

AMERICAN RENAISSANCE - Providence Retreat

AMERICAN RENAISSANCE - Providence Retreat

John Sinclair House

The Buffalo Automobile Club

The Buffalo Automobile Club

The Buffalo Automobile Club

Edward H. Webster Residence

THE WHITE CITY: Cornice detail.
J. N. Adam & Company Building

THE WHITE CITY: Masten Park High School

THE WHITE CITY: Root Building

THE WHITE CITY: Buffalo General Electric Building

THE WHITE CITY: Buffalo General Electric Building

THE WHITE CITY: Buffalo General Electric Building

Niagara Hotel

United Office Building

The Calumet Building

Ansonia Building

 

 

 

FACTORY AESTHETIC: Proposed design for Buffalo Orphan Asylum

 

 

 


THE WHITE CITY

Beginning in 1910, Esenwein & Johnson designed a series of buildings sheathed in monochromatic glazed white terra cotta with stylized classical ornamentation. Glazed terra cotta was considered an exemplary material for buildings, since it was more easily cleaned than other materials, an important consideration America's coal-fired cities. This series of buildings culminated with the General Electric Building, a towering icon on the city's skyline.

Esenwein & Johnson's successful practice continued during the 1920s., though designs were less stylistically diverse during the more conservative post-World War I years. As architects for the United Hotels Company, then the largest hotel chain in America, they designed the Niagara and other large hotels throughout the northeastern United States and Ontario, most in the Georgian style.

Although Esenwein & Johnson began to explore stylistic innovation once again with the Mayan Art Deco United Office Building in Niagara Falls, the firm could not survive the effects of the Great Depression, and dissolved in 1942.

The partnership was masterful, both at adapting historical styles to modem needs, and in using new and innovative expressions as alternatives to historicism. The firm produced an enormous range of work of uniformly high quality. Many of the designs rank with the best the country has to offer; their series of Art Nouveau buildings may be unique in American architecture. During its sixty-year existence, Esenwein a Johnson played a major role in defining the built environment of Buffalo and Western New York.


Photos and their arrangement 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
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