Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On the Banks: A Googie Playground

With the massive Banks district currently under construction, and the city's progressive step in offering a form of crowdsourcing relating to this and other development (e.g. town hall debates, nomenclature polls, everyman architectural submissions), the future is lapping the banks of Ohio vigorously. Still, one could argue how its stylistic integrity stands against those of plans past.

For instance, this recent find:

While the rendering is interesting for its stadium proposal, the whole concept for redevelopment of the riverfront is of interest: a glorious transformation into a mid-modern Space Age wonderland.

Notably, almost every development proposal for the riverfront prior to mid-1960 seems to have a lone stadium west of the Suspension Bridge, but this one truly reflects the unique style of the era - an oval, lipped baseball stadium with Zig-Zag roofline:

Unless underground, the parking is notoriously absent here, except for the small lot to the west tied to the boxy International-Style Convention and Exhibition Center.

Then to the east, an interesting barrel-roofed structure sitting amongst the trees:

A planned historic memorial sitting among a miniature Central Park.  And to the right: a water tower, or a rare rendering of the unbuilt "Symbolon"?

On to a curious part of this plan, and it stands front and center of the whole development. An anchor of this promising utopia on the banks of the Ohio...

Connected to a stilted boardwalk, holding two side-by-side sine wave-roofed structures, overlooking a grand riverside harbor, is the heart and soul of this vision:

Frisch's Mainliner #2 Restaurant, Cincinnati, Ohio (1944).
Read more about this building here and see the plans here.

Another view (larger).

A double-wide Frisch's mega-restaurant?

Put on your Sunday best for this ultra-modern populuxe experience, where you'll be entrenched with mounds of powdered eggs and link sausage under a massive hyperbolic paraboloid! Take a look around:

Of course, Frisch's was not to be front and center of this 1961 proposal, but the illustration does reference two of Woodie Garber's hyperbolic paraboloid structures, exactly as designed for his Frisch's Mainliner Restaurant (above).

This incredible plan also sparks interest into the historical concepts of what might have been on the riverfront, and prognostication of what tomorrow holds. And so, this starts yet another series on Cincinnati Revisited: On the Banks.

• More about Woodie Garber here.

• The "Symbolon", referenced in the rendering detail with the barrel-roofed structure, was to be a massive Cincinnati Gateway Monument. The 1961 construction of Eero Saarinen's St. Louis Gateway Arch became the impetus for a competition held by the Cincinnatus Association, which drew 62 entries, but no winner - thus, no structure was built.

• Check out Cincinnati Modernation's scavenger hunt for Zig Zag roofs in Cincinnati.

• The stadium illustrated in this 1961 Riverfront Development Proposal was added to the "Revisiting Cincinnati Stadia" post.

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