Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Building Collector is on Instagram

Building Collector is now on Instagram!  
I've been sharing lots of photos of rare buildings, 
so check it out on the mobile device app: https://www.instagram.com/buildingcollector/

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department Building Souvenir Replica Lighter

Big thanks to my friend, Seiichiro, who was able to identify this replica as the Tokyo MetropolitanPolice Department Headquarters. There are no words, nor identification on the replica itself, which made it difficult to locate. The metal souvenir includes a lighter and helicopter-pad roof lid that, when removed, reveals a small storage box. This main building of the Keishicho is located in the Kasumigaseki part of central Tokyo just a block from the National Diet building. Constructed in 1980, it is 18 stories tall and is in the shape of a large wedge with a cylindrical tower. The Metropolitan Police, with a staff of more than 43,000 police officers and over 2,800 civilian personnel, manages 102 stations in the prefecture.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Art Ratner’s Miniature Souvenir Building Collection

I recently discovered this story about souvenir building collector Art Ratner on a website called QuirkyBerkeley. From the website, “In 1984, he began to collect miniature souvenir buildings.  You see what happened was – as a nine-year-old boy, he lost a miniature Statue of Liberty somewhere between acquisition and getting home from a special outing with his mother to Liberty Island.” The article has lots of great photos of his collection.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Downton Abbey (England’s Highclere Castle) Jewelry Box

Missing the PBS show, Downton Abbey now that the series is over?  Longing to have a nice place to store all of your diamond, gold and other jewels?  Lord Grantham loves his house and you can too.  A team working for the Queen’s nephew, David Linley, has recreated a wooden miniature replica of Highclere Castle in 10,944 pieces of maple marquetry. Created in a limited edition of just five, the cabinet has 72 square finials are turned on an ornamental lathe which ensures symmetry on each piece. Can’t afford the  £65,000 (close to $100,000)  price?  I wrote previously about some Downton Abby / Highclere Castle souvenir replicas.  I also found a plastic castle that illuminates and nice porcelain ornament and more from PBS.  Also of note, the David Linley company creates Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello as a miniature architectural cigarhumidor.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Oval Base Souvenir Buildings from Germany

Have you noticed some of the older souvenir building replicas made in Germany have distinctive oval bases? The unusual design leads me to believe they were all produced by the same company, but they are unmarked and I have never heard of a name associated with them. Do you know? What I’m going to call, ‘Oval bases’ and are either rounded or pointed at the ends. They are also sometimes ‘forced perspective as they are not fully 3-D, but are condensed somewhat as one would view it from a certain perspective. One replics has the words, “Aschaffenburger Schloss” on the oval base, but it is actually the Castle of Johannisburg, in the town of Aschaffenburg, Germany. Erected between 1605 and 1614 by the architect Georg Ridinger for Johann Schweikhard von Kronberg, Prince Bishop of Mainz. Constructed of red sandstone, the typical building material of the Spessart, the hills near Aschaffenburg. A keep, or fortified tower, from the destroyed 14th-century castle that had formerly stood on the site, was included in the construction and is the oldest part of the castle.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Identifying “One Wacker Drive” Souvenir Building Chicago

I recently acquired this souvenir building and wanted to learn more about it. In the book, Monumental Miniatures, the replica is called “One Wacker Drive” (plate 64, page 30), but I couldn't find the building, nor information about it, despite hours of research. I had so many questions about the metal souvenir. Was it planned for the World’s fair, but never constructed? Perhaps the design changed and what was built is very different from the souvenir.  The souvenir has on its base the words, “A Century of Progress, Souvenir, Chicago World’s Fair 1933.” An homage to Fort Dearborn is in all four corners of the ground floor. I contacted a number of architectural and historical groups and institutions in Chicago and they had no information. Silly me, I should have gone directly to the source… the author of the aforementioned book, David Weingarten. This would have saved me hours of scouring the Internet for clues. Within minutes of my email, David replied with the answer:  “One Wacker” is, in fact, the One LaSalle Street building.  It felt like a halleluiah moment. The clouds parted and all was revealed. I feared that this souvenir could be generic and not based on a real structure. We now have the answer. However, other questions remain…why was this labeled as a souvenir of the Century of Progress, as it was not built as part of the fairgrounds? The real building was completed around the time of the start of the fair, so could it be celebrating the new building to fair-goers? Also, why the depiction of Chicago’s Fort Dearborn at the base? Not sure… do you know?  David W. has an educated guess and I tend to agree. The 1933 Chicago World’s Fair theme was a 'Century of Progress' to celebrate the city's centennial. The theme of the fair was technological innovation. The fair's motto was "Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Adapts." Fort Dearborn was built in 1803 and by 1837 it was de-commissioned.  Perhaps, in 1830’s Fort Dearborn was an important landmark for Chicago. Then, a century later in 1930, the One LaSalle Street building was new and demonstrated Chicago’s progress. So, could this souvenir be a combination of the old and new celebrating Chicago’s history over that century? Alternatively, if the fort aspects were originally planned for the base of One North LaSalle Building, we could then put this souvenir of One LaSalle Street in the category of “As Imagined” and not “As Built” just like the St. Josephs Oratory. Or, the combination of the skyscraper and the fort were purely commemorative mash-up. Named One North LaSalle Building or One LaSalle Street Building, The real building is in the financial district of Chicago. It was for some time one of Chicago's tallest buildings. Built in 1930 by architectsKarl Vitzhum and John Burns, the streamlined skyscraper in the Art Deco style has a lavishly detailed entrance and lobby. Paraphrased from “The American Skyscraper,” 1850 – 1940: “A celebration of height, by Joseph Korom "One North LaSalle Street stands squarely in Chicago’s financial district, on the NW corner of LaSalle and Madison, helping to define that famous business corridor. This is a no-nonsense building designed to create profit for its owners, provide its tenants with functional space and impress the public at large with quality architecture. It rises effortlessly to meet the sky while employing telescoping segments. It rises 49 stories and cost $7 million, truly sobering for 1930.”

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Souvenir Building Replicas Other Materials: Wood, Rubber, Soap, Marble, Onyx, Coal

To complete the 14th in a series of posts about different materials used  to produce souvenir buildings, I compiled a list of ‘others.’ These off-beat materials include: Bakelite, Wood, Rubber, Soap, Marble, Onyx, Coal and Macerated Money. I've written before about building souvenirs made of macerated money. Below are some examples and photos. Do you know of other odd materials for building replicas?

Preble County National Bank made of rubber for the 100th anniversary in 1973

Goodyear Blimp Hanger in Akron, Ohio made of ‘Dualuminum'

England’s Durham Cathedral made of coal & the Hawaiian Islands made of lava

Washington Monument made of Bakelite & Bennington Monument made of wood

Rockefeller Center made of hand soap
Equator Monument made of onyx & Washington Monument made of marble    

Sigma Alpha Epsilon's Levere Memorial Temple at Northwestern University made of stone    
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