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International Grove Court

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The style of architecture called 'Bauhaus' in Europe was also referred to as 'International' here in the US.  I think the main thing was that it fell under the 'Modernist' umbrella and just helped people envision these particular characteristics better...things like horizontal lines, no fussy ornamentation, cantilevered construction. I've seen different dates for when the International style started and 'ended' but it was mostly between the '20s and '50s.

The Grove Court Apartment building in Montgomery is an example of the International style, and was put on the 2009 Alabama Places in Peril list.  The last time we were in town, we drove over to see:

Grove Court Apartments, Montgomery AL

This is how the state described it for their 'Places in Peril' listing:
Constructed in 1947 by local architect Clyde Pearson, Grove Court stands out in the capitol city as a rare example of the International Style. Melanie Betz, architectural historian for the AHC remarks, “Its long rectilinear form, taut plane surfaces devoid of ornamentation, brick and concrete construction, flat roof, cantilever balconies, corner windows and bands of metal casement windows are hallmarks of the style.”


Despite the high level of integrity, the apartments are today in a deplorable condition. The complex had been under contract in 2007 by investors wanting to renovate it into condos, but this promising deal fell through before anything got started.


Now open to vagrants and the elements, and with a demolition notice looming from the city, the future of Grove Court is very much in peril. The current owners now have it on the market. With new ownership and a new renovation plan, this “recent past” landmark in Montgomery may ultimately be saved.

Grove Court Apartments, Montgomery AL

The building is in a "U" shape -- you can see walkways through the trees, and how this area served as a courtyard:

Grove Court Apartments, Montgomery AL

There were 54 one-bedroom, and 27 two-bedroom units.  And these trumpet vines are going to take over.
Grove Court Apartments, Montgomery AL
The Advertiser has their own gallery of Grove Court also.

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The Fagus Factory in Germany that was designed by Walter Gropius (one of the founders of the Bauhaus/International style) was recently inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.  I could spend all day looking at the entire list.

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