Architects Dressed As Buildings At The 1931 Beaux Arts Ball

Architects Dressed As Buildings At The 1931 Beaux Arts Ball

With the celebration of Carnival upon us, venues around the world are bound to be filled with the merriment of masked and costumed figures at extravagant parties, partaking in the century’s old tradition of masquerading. While most participants aspire to facilitate the movement of dance in their costumes, a smaller group of revelers consider structure and shape instead. These architects of iconic structures from decades past celebrated the 1931 Beaux Arts Ball by masquerading in these sky-high replicas of their buildings. If you’re looking to make a statement during the final night of Carnival, perhaps a Guggenheim Museum headdress or Eiffel Tower hat is the perfect party accessory.

Read on after the break to learn more about the Beaux Arts Ball.

When it comes to innovative work, no one excels more than the extraordinary figures who attended the 1931 Beaux Arts Ball. In the midst of the Great Depression, attendees were asked to look past the current circumstances to a brighter future, using the theme "Fête Moderne - a Fantasie in Flame and Silver" to celebrate the innovative spirit sweeping the architectural world. For $15, guests could expect not only the esteem that correlated with the annual event, but also a setting that was "modernistic, futuristic, cubistic, altruistic, mystic, architistic and feministic." 

Playing upon the theme of modernity, many attendees adorned themselves in the technology of their age, wearing impressive interpretations of the buildings they designed or the inventions they created. The theme was apparent on Chester Aldrich dressed as the Union Club, William F. Lamb as the Empire State Building, and Arthur J. Arwine as a heating boiler, to name a few. The most recognized figures today are those proudly displaying their handiwork in the video: A. Stewart Walker as the Fuller Building, Leonard Schultze as a Waldorf-Astoria tower, Ely Jacques Kahn as the Squibb Building, Ralph Walker as his Wall Street tower, and Joseph Freedlander as the Museum of the City of New York. These monuments flanked William Van Alen, adorned in a striking interpretation of his Chrysler Building, completed in flame-colored silk and using actual elements from the building (inlays of wood panels from the structure's elevators.)

Whether the spirit of Carnival inspires something showy or more subdued, take guidance from these architects and think outside the box!

Story via New York Times

About this author
Cite: Holly Giermann. "Architects Dressed As Buildings At The 1931 Beaux Arts Ball" 17 Feb 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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