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Sep 24, 2021
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Before & After - Clementine's Brash Courtyard

Post by 
Dan
B

rash Courtyard is an area that one passes through before entering the building itself. I think that it sets the stage for Clementine. It begins with the street presence outside of the courtyard walls with glimpses of Clementine beyond, then segues into a hidden garden with the original structure welcoming above.

Before

Since its construction in 1889, what is now Brash Courtyard was the church's lawn and changed little over 130 years. Initially there was a low wall next to the sidewalk.

Facade ca 1960
Front, ca. 1960
View from Richland Park, ca 1939
View from Richland Park, ca 1939
Front lawn and neighboring soda fountain
Front lawn and neighboring soda fountain
Front lawn in 2017 and the rightfully skeptical Brenda
Front lawn in 2017 and the rightfully skeptical Brenda

Issues & Plan

The front yard was literally a greenfield - blank canvas, which enabled us to design a space that met all of our needs. We wanted to create an urban outdoor space that people wanted to be in, that drew them back through the evening. The concept was to create a hidden garden akin to a courtyard one would find in New Orleans, something that was both functional and would both surprise and delight visitors.

From this objective, the broad design outline emerged. Privacy required walls. We designed concrete walls for the public facing sides that were board formed in the old style. The resulting wood grain, together with the black steel walls recesses, landscaping and illumination, softens the wall. On the semi-public side facing Hathorne restaurant, we chose a semi transparent breezeway block that we custom poured in black concrete. Ivy covers this breezeway wall much of the year creating a friendly separation with our neighbor as well as an interesting color contract of bright green and black.

To be truly functional, the courtyard had to be hardscaped. Creating a compelling paved area is challenging, and we designed a decorative layout and scoring of the concrete. We pictured the concrete expanse with integrated concrete tree planters that flank the front entry.

For both visual appeal, privacy and noise reduction, we landscaped both the exterior and interior perimeter of the courtyard and added two fountains. The fountains created ambient noise and at night their illumination provides flickering light on the nearby walls.

The black entry gates incorporate the Venetian Cross that we found in the building's original chandeliers and incorporate throughout Clementine. They also provide a small peek into the courtyard for the passerby.

Music in the courtyard, built-in seating that is under-lit, and beautiful landscape and architectural lighting complete the design.

Arial view of lawn after removal of 1957 facade
Arial view of lawn after removal of 1957 facade
Work turn to the courtyard
Work turn to the courtyard
Board-formed concrete walls unveiled
Board-formed concrete walls unveiled
Mid-century breezeway black block wall laid
Mid-century breezeway black block wall laid
Brash overseeing the pouring of the courtyard
Brash overseeing the pouring of the courtyard

After

Many events desire outdoor space, but desirable outdoor areas are hard to find in the city. Guests use the courtyard year round for cocktailing and all uses for which the outdoors are best. And when the sun dips behind the historic soda fountain building to our west, you'll understand.

A glimpse of Clementine over the courtyard walls
A glimpse of Clementine over the courtyard walls
Street view
Street view
Entry through pivot gate
Entry through pivot gate
Side entry
Side entry
Front courtyard
Front courtyard
The courtyard shines at night
The courtyard shines at night.