2015Childs Restaurant, Coney Island New York

The historic glaze colors from Atalantic Terra Cotta Company to match, in collaboration with Boston Valley Terra Cotta USA

 

RESTORATION
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THE DELLA ROBBIA SCHOOL OF TODAY

“The brilliant polychrome terra cotta, instead of following the conventional flower and fruit motive of the Della Robbia school, is marine to the last degree – and even submarine in part. The carnival spirit of Coney Island demands color; it permits almost anything. Childs restaurant strikes a new note of beauty in surroundings that are naturally festive."

Designed by Dennison & Hirons in a fanciful resort style combining elements of the Spanish Colonial Revival. In 2001 is was considered as one of the most unusual examples of polychrome terra cotta.

The terra cotta was manufactured by Atlantic Terra Cotta Company, from models by Max Keck and coloration by Duncan Smith. For that time this terra cotta applied to the building was striking and unusual. It was unusual because it differed from the purely traditional elements. The designers worked closely with the terra cotta artists  of the ATCC.

From a distance the Childs building offers a nice but fairly standard neo-Spanish colonial design with classical elements. But closer the detailing shows the marine and sub marine detailing. This sense of absurd surprises makes the building pleasing beyond its architectural accomplishment.

from FOTC research by Susan Tunick

process

to get a good understanding of the terracotta material

  • research on the site

    ornaments from Atlantic Terra Cotta Company USA 1923

  • work in progress - glaze research at BVTC

    redesigning the glazes

  • Color matches

    the first results in getting to understand the material

  • viewing the details

    a close look at the unique glaze application

Result

view of the nautic scenes before dismantling for restoration