Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mid Century Modern Scavenger Hunt - Zig Zag Roof

I've been doing some scavenger hunting lately for local zig zag roofs for a local modern residential consulting opportunity and thought I'd share some of my scavenger finds. The zig zag form, whether in plan, elevation, or section is signature character that evolved as an element of mid century modern aesthetics. Quite often the tails of the zig zag are left flipping up as can be seen in most of these examples. Part of my mission was to verify the better condition and also see what I could find.

The first building is the Ridge Road Urgent care building. It still has the old exterior bullet lights if you look close. I think this building was originally brick and has been covered over with EIFS on the majority of the exterior and painted the typical suburban 'what shade of beige would you like?'. If you look close you can see the original stacked courses of brick at the windows accompanied with the vertical protruding brick accents. Personally I think if this building was white with dark grey accents it would have more street appeal.

Next are a couple of MCM zig zags we pass by on the way to our Pediatrician's office in Finneytown on Winton Road. The first is a small traditional church that had a 50's entry addition. The architect of this project designed this entry that exhibits a 50's 'time of the now' approach. There is also an excellent obelisk put adjacent to the entry that's not pictured. Shortly down the road from this is a little dry cleaners I've always enjoyed. The cantilevered fly outs are awesome with the dark paint hefting the form over the storefront glass, I bet it looks great at night.

A trip up north in the Lebanon area revealed a small MCM elementary school with a zig zag entry canopy. The rest of the school is a very 'Cranbrook' campus style of school design. The majority of the rest of the building is typical low slope large overhang hip roof boxes connected by flat roof glass corridors. I'm sure the kids love the use of the colors throughout this project, it's good to see they are maintaining what they have.

Next is a recent renovation project of a formerly delapidated MCM building on Victory Parkway by Eden Park. Having gone by this one on my way to work for the past four years I've gotten to watch it sit vacant, then go through the pictured renovation. The original building had some unique aggregate faced concrete panels on the exterior that looked very dated and did not survive the renovation. The new building is a step in the right direction, albeit a bit of a suburban intervention probably developer driven. I'll admit the color scheme is not something I agree with, so I went black and white with my photos.

Last, and certainly not least is Princeton High School up in Sharonville. This is another Cranbrook style school with a cluster of building functions tied together by glass hallways. The building on first pass does not jump out, but a closer look makes a trip to see it worthwhile. The zig zag canopy frames the bus drop off similar to the Lebanon elementary school and is totally made of concrete. There are many playful MCM details and forms in the exterior treatment and daylighting techniques. The original exterior mosaic tiling accents clad angled reveals that are north oriented to avoid direct southern light. The gymnasium facade is folded with stone cladding beyond other numerous MCM details. Certainly it's worth the drive to take a quick exterior tour, it's right off I-75 at the Sharonville exit.


  1. Loving your blog! And this post!

    A little further out in Hamilton is Badin High School and they have a zig-zag roof. From their website: http://www.badinhs.org/images/new640x200/admis_oneminbadin.JPG

  2. the drycleaner's shop is s*w*eet

    and a road trip to cranbrook is in order!

  3. Inside pleasant ridge chili - they have the zig zag over the booths - i love it!