ONARCHITECTURE- BAR moments: Pav screen nixed, Blue Moon Fund razing

No glow: Capshaw wants an LDC screen in front of the Pavilion to promote upcoming shows to concert goers, but the BAR isn't keen on it. (The Flaming Lips at the Pavilion in 2006)

During its March 18 meeting, the Board of Architectural Review expressed reservations about a six-foot tall poster frame and LCD screen Pavilion owner Coran Capshaw wants to place in front of the downtown music venue. 

According to Pavilion manager Kirby Hutto, the frame would be big enough for three 11 x 17 posters, and the LCD screen would be used to promote upcoming shows and display sponsor messages. 

"Whatever (message) is appropriate for the crowd at the event," Hutto told BAR members, adding that the LCD screen could also be used to display city information. 

Incorporating suggestions from the BAR in February, the design also includes a cover to be placed over the LCD screen when there are no events at the Pavilion. 

BAR member Amy Gardner said the placement of the screen at the entrance ramp is "still awkward" and detracts from the view from the Downtown Mall. In February, BAR members suggested the screen be moved off center so that it couldn't be directly seen by pedestrians walking down the Mall.

"It's an improvement," said Gardner, "but it's not quite there."

Although BAR chair Fred Wolf said he felt comfortable with the new design, he did wonder why a screen couldn't be placed on the stage at events, and two other members said they were still not comfortable with an electronic screen out front, even if it would be covered. 

In the end, the BAR voted 4-3 to deny the request, sending Hutto and Capshaw back to the drawing board.

Buffing up the Jeff

Hutto was also on hand to propose the installation of two structural columns on the back of the Jefferson Theater, which Caphaw is planning to turn into a night club/music venue. Hutto said that structural engineers had "expressed concern"  with the back brick wall of the old theater, which they say is bowing. 

When asked why the two massive columns couldn't be placed inside the building, project architect Gate Pratt compared them to the support columns already in place on either side of the 1912 structure. The interior design, Hutto had mentioned earlier, would make it "a sixth more expensive" to install the columns there. 

Pratt said the steel columns would be pre-bolted into the existing wall and painted to match as closely as possible the wall's red brick. He also said the columns could not be equally spaced, due to the interior plan of the building.

BAR member Michael Osteen worried that the Water Street exterior of the building might "lose something" if the detailing of the columns weren't done creatively. "There would have to be something in the design to set it apart for me to be satisfied," he said. Another member also worried that two garish columns might "diminish the character of the building." 

Wolf said he felt comfortable with the reinforcement solution, noting the building looked "utilitarian" back there anyway, and motioned for a vote. 

The plan passed unanimously.  

C-Ville's blue 

Pratt was also on hand for a proposed facade makeover for 306 and 308 East Main Street, the building immediately to the left of the Eugene Bradbury-designed Bank of America building on the Downtown Mall, where the owners of C-Ville Weekly plan to relocate their offices. 

The design, said Pratt, calls for the addition of an aluminum paneled store front, the transfer of C-Ville Weekly's signage from its present location next to the Jefferson Theater, and painting the brick facade with the newspaper's blue color scheme.

"Painting the brick is an opportunity to break up the massing of the two buildings," said Pratt, adding that his client wanted to "brighten" and "modernize" the facade. 

However, BAR members called the colors "pretty jarring" and agreed that painting the brick was a mistake. 

"You can't look at colors as to how they relate to the tenant," said one member, "but as to how they relate to the Mall."

"Don't use bright colors," member Amy Gardner concluded. "Just follow the guidelines."

One member believed the proposed aluminum panels "undermine the integrity of the current design" and suggested that the project be considered an addition to the Bradbury-designed bank building. 

However, Pratt said he's focusing on modernizing and improving the existing facade. 

Finding BAR members unenthusiastic about the C-Ville color scheme, Pratt mentioned that his client needs to move forward as soon as possible, cost being one of the factors, and asked that preliminary approval be granted for some window work. The color scheme and panel work could come back for approval, he suggested. 

While members agreed it was a "sloppy motion," Pratt won his preliminary approval and agreed to come back with a new color palette. 

Incidentally, Pratt said he conducted an informal survey of Mall facades and found that 55 percent of them are brick, 30 percent are painted, and 15 percent are made of other materials.   

Blue Moon demo

At the end of the night, the BAR quickly approved demolition of a two-story apartment building behind 222 South Street. The two-building complex was once home C-Ville Weekly and now houses the Blue Moon Fund , a philanthropic organization spun off of the deeply-endowed W. Alton Jones Foundation and dedicated to improving "the human condition by changing the relationship between human consumption and the natural world."

Among other initiatives, the Foundation promotes "economically sustainable development models that do not displace humans and that take advantage of market forces." According to city records, there were five two-bedroom apartments in the three-story building, built in 1994, and which is not considered historic. 

Architect Mike Stoneking, of Stoneking-Von Storch Architects, said the Fund had "no interest in saving or relocating the building," even though an adjoining property owner had offered to purchase and move it.

Next door neighbor Oliver Kuttner confirms that he offered to pay $40,000 for the building and move it 60 feet west to his property, but someone in the audience joked that the Fund "would still have to look at it." 

In its place, the organization plans to build a new 6,800-square-foot conference center with six covered parking spaces and a driveway.