Kristen Woolery and Melissa Gerstle, both professional designers, authored “Honoring Our History,” a presentation given to the Highland Park Town Council and HPISD School Board and made available online at concernedpccitizen.com.
In it, they explore the use of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture in Highland Park and contrast the style’s use in existing buildings with what’s seen in drawings for the Bradfield Elementary School rebuild project. Here’s a summary of their analysis:
Quatrefoils, decorative architectural details somewhat similar to a flower or four-leaf clover, are used as a repetitive motif on the 91-year-old Bradfield Elementary (left) as well as on Highland Park Town Hall (right), but are missing in recent designs for the replacement school building.
The arches used on Highland Park Town Hall are well balanced and to scale, but those seen above in drawings for the new Bradfield appear excessive, stylized, oversized, and unbalanced.
The added third-story of Town Hall was designed with a pitched roof to reduce the impact of the building’s height and help it feel appropriate in a residential neighborhood. Proposals for the three-story Bradfield don’t include a pitched roof, making the 47.3-foot-tall building feel overbearing next to adjacent homes. While Spanish tile covers all of Town Hall, the material in proposed designs appears to only cover parts of Bradfield.
Town Hall has symmetrically divided double-hung windows, as did Bradfield decades ago. Drawings for the new school (above) don’t show similar windows. Those shown appear inconsistent in size and style, and are scarce and small on the north and east elevations.
-William Taylor contributed to this article.