The Rare Sight of New Tenement Cornices Sitting on Kenmare Street
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File this as a first. Cornices are usually the domain of pre-war tenement buildings. Part of what carries the old world charm into the new era. It’s usually five or six stories above the pavement … not sitting on it, nor in the twenty-first century.
Last week, we stumbled upon this very unique delivery at 19 Kenmare Street. The building is amidst a long-term exterior repair job, as evidenced by the encasement of bars and netting. Well, the owner deserves at least some praise for caring about contextual integrity. These half-dozen shrink-wrapped parcels contained replacement metal cornices for the roofline.
Cornices were composed of (flammable) wood, plaster amalgamations, or sometimes stone. During the mid 1800s, builders began to cut corners and started making molds to shape tin or other cheap metal. While conceived to upgrade the look, the more practical purpose of these architectural flourishes was to allow rain and snow to run off without damaging the brickwork. Many of them are poorly attached.
To see cornices curbside like this is something really rare. Most haven’t been seen separated from their buildings since the structure was built.