Brookings Oregon Town Plan
Bernard Maybeck, Brookings
Documents Collection C.E.D. Our reproduction. Previously unpublished
This small drawing seems to be a key to the other drawings. It covers the largest area, and by using it you can fit the others together. Whether it is an early or late draft is unclear.
Note how at the center there is powerful organizing geometry- symmetries and bold axis., while to the sides the plan gets more organic.
The Chetco River is shown very faintly on the left, where it is crossed by the railroad. The circular terminus of the main axis upper left is over the ocean, where it meets the river. At the opposite end of this axis is the civic center, which is on a knoll and would have command a spectacular view down the boulevard that forms the axis, across the great park to the ocean. It is not oriented straight out to sea but down the coast the south, a magnificent stretch of rocks, curving bays and mountains. This knoll is now east of US 101. It is where the Chetco Inn (a partially surviving Maybeck building) sits. The Baptist church seems to approximately occupy the site of the civic center.
101 approximately follows the curved road just to the west of the civic center. The curving road that comes from the river and crosses the park is where the railroad was to cross. It is now Railroad Avenue. The Abby, the old library, and Azalea Park are to the lower left.
To fully get the plan's power you would need to go up on the knoll where the civic center was to be, walk around one of the care homes that now block the view, and look down what was to be the axis. There is the coastal plane falling to the sea (now jumbled with buildings) and then the sweep of the coast to the south the rocks off Pelican Bay, the crescent of Crescent City about as good as it gets. If the plan survived in built form, that prospect would be part of every day spent in the town, the thing about which the it centered.
Bernard Maybeck, Brookings Town Center. Another draft covering the almost the same area. Cut to section (and probably ownership) lines
The original of this plan is about 4'x12' and very finely detailed. It is on onionskin tracing paper,
now very fragile.
The design for the residential district on the left continued to evolve. By February 9 1915
the district's design is more informal, the roads follow the contours more closely, the circular intersections have been
eliminated and another row of blocks of lots has been added downhill of the ones shown below.
The orange diagonal line above the legend is a north/south section line. South is to the
upper right, north toward the lower left. The ocean is beyond the top of the drawing.
Highway 101 now follows the curving upper road.
The geometry of the civic center is much like that of Michaelangelo's Campidoglio civic center in Rome, which considering Maybeck's propensity for appropriating from Michaelangelo, is probably not accidental.
Note how sensuois would have been an exploration of the paths and roads-- the sequence of compression and release, mysetry and vista. Note how interesction become rooms themselves, with paths recieved by a hollow across the way.
Note how the municipal building commands the
view down the boulevard and is made more grand, for those viewing it, by the geometry of the center. Note again
the repeated, not-quite-symmetrical, symmetries. Maybeck repeatedly sets up an expectation and them suprises
San Francisco's Lyon Street stairs. Maybeck's Palace of Finre Arts in the distance, his Swedenborgian Church just behind.
Very similar geometries to those of his design for dropping down from Brookings' Civic center. Maybeck would likely have
let the landscaping grow a bit more wild, due to his love of the unkempt formal
Another study of Brookings' Civic Center, lower right of the top two drawings
Documents Collection C.E.D. Our reproduction. Previously unpublished.
"The combinations and arrangements of the buildings and gardens at the Fair were planned according to the principles discovered
by the Frencharchitects. Besides other phases, the fundamental idea was that the picture presented by the ground plan of a group
of buildings and their surroundingsshould be agreeable to the eye, and therefore in the development of the plan it is treated as though
it were an ornament without regard to the fact thatit represents buildings."
"If the plan of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition group of main buildings were reduced in scale to the size of a golden
brooch and the courts and buildings were made in Venetian cloisonné' jewelry, that brooch thus made would pass as the regular
thing in jewelry without causing the suspicion that it represented a plan for a World's Fair."
Coast Land Mailing List
(to receive occasional updates on land available and on the progress of the Harbor Hills project)
copyright 1998 Bill Buchanan