Monday, February 2, 2009

downtown architecture

the Fox Theater

Transbay Blog has a nice writeup of the newly restored Fox Theater in Oakland. It's a beautiful building, and a nice spark for downtown. (Read more about the Fox on the Friends of the Oakland Fox site, SF Gate and Wikipedia.) A grand reopening gala is coming up this Thursday, February 5th, and is sold out.

Oakland is fortunate to have several historic theater buildings that weren't lost to the wrecking ball. Besides the Fox, the nearby Paramount Theater in all its Art Deco glory is home to the Oakland East Bay Symphony as well hosting other events. And of course the Grand Lake Theater that anyone who's driven down 580 on a Friday or Saturday evening can't help but have seen.

Cathedral building

The building that caught my eye on one of my recent trips downtown was the Cathedral Building. I'd seen it countless times before, wedged between Broadway and Telegraph, but never looked at it that closely. Probably because I'm usually driving past, negotiating the funky jog on Broadway, or walking towards BART. I'd never even known the name of it. But on my recent trip, I was there near lunchtime, and the building was lit up with sunshine, so I snapped a quick picture. I looked a bit into its history (not as extensively as Transbay Blog's Fox writeup), and found it was built in 1913 as the federal building. It's a great example of Gothic Revival architecture, which explains why it was renamed the Cathedral building in 1969, since the top looks like part of one. It's a historic building, though has been redone as condominiums, and not cheap ones, going for $700,000 on up. You can see more pictures of it here. That's a lot of money for a 1, 2 or 3-bedroom condo, even if it is downtown and in a historic building.

One cool thing about the above buildings is that Google Earth has 3D versions of them incorporated into its imagery. So you can explore downtown Oakland, seeing the relationship of buildings and spaces, from views you might not otherwise be able to experience. Alas, the imagery of the Fox Theater isn't up-to-date, still showing scaffolding and construction netting around it (the same on Google Maps street view), but I was impressed with how much of downtown Oakland has been modeled.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Cathedral Building is one of my favorite buildings in downtown Oakland. I get to stare at it every evening as I wait for my bus to arrive. Though the condos are expensive, I think they're worth every penny. Of course, I don't have that kind of money so I'll just continue to appreciate from afar.