Wednesday, March 4, 2009

2009 Cincinnati March(itecture) Madness

East Side Bias?

After the announcement of the bracket on March 1, the surrounding (made-up) buzz is the suspected East Side bias of the selection committee and the lack of any buildings at all for Lower Price Hill, Price Hill and Westwood. Oyler School thought they had a chance. Fire Company No. 24 (Warsaw and Considine Avenues) and St. Lawrence Church (3680 Warsaw Avenue) both thought they deserved a bid against their closest competition – Fire Company No. 20 in Northside and St. Francis De Sales in East Walnut Hills* respectfully. It was not to be.

Oyler School (1931)
Samuel Hannaford & Sons
Fire Company No. 24 (1890)
Charles Fox

St. Lawrence Church (1894)
Adolphus Druiding
*For these purposes, St. Francis De Sales Church is listed in East Walnut Hills but is on the border of East Walnut Hills, Walnut Hills, and Evanston and my map has it in Evanston officially but historically, I associate it with East Walnut Hills.

That said, this year the committee really tried to think about the reach and geography of the overall field as well as an inclusive list of Architects. But this also was not a popularity contest or push to recognize all neighborhoods. IF a building was deemed worthy to compete, it was selected because of its mertits first and location and architect secondarily. For instance, the Committee wanted a fire station represented in the field. It selected what it feels is the best one.

The current field is understandably heavy with Downtown and Over the Rhine with representatives taking a total of seventeen slots out of the current thirty. Over the Rhine with four representatives comes in just ahead of Clifton with three. Unlike last year Walnut Hills, Northside and Uptown (CUF) are all represented in 2009. However unless voted in, Avondale, Mt. Auburn, and Prospect Hill (which is by most accounts part of Mt. Auburn) are left out. Avondale’s entry last year, the Cincinnati Zoo, is a strong candidate to return as are a number of its churches and homes.

For those who think the West Side has been dissed, it should be noted that neighborhoods like Mt. Adams and Oakley are also absent. And far east neighborhoods like Linwood and Mt. Washington also do not have any representation.

Interestingly, eight Architects are new this year, only losing two from last year’s list completely -- Albert Gilbert and Henry Walter. The biggest hit actually came against the “Unknown” architects when some of the early National Historic Landmark homes were left out of the competition. Wilson, Hannaford, McLaughlin, and Elzner & Anderson all lost buildings on the list but all still have at least one remaining. Hannaford (alone or with partners) leads the field with six.

All that said, if you want a structure to represent a particular neighborhoods, you MUST nominate it by posting a comment below or here. Please comment on this post or any subsequent post from now until 9:00 PM on Friday when nominations will close to vote for your favorite not currently in the field.

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