The Liquor Corral is nearing its completion of the renovation process. We are just completing the final details. From the initial design concept to the final product, it has maintained its vision.
Located in the heart of downtown Buckeye ‘Historical district’, the original building was essentially a prefabricated metal building, with an entry reflective of an old western facade. It had wood siding, a wood deck and security bars adorning its windows.
Our initial goals was to give it a fresh new look while still maintaining the old west feel. We wanted to get rid of the bars on the windows which was not welcoming. However we did need to consider security in our design.
The building owner, who is originally from Iran, wanted to reflect upon the wonderful architectural character of his cultural background. He wanted us to look at architecture from the middle east and somehow blend this into our design. Through both our memories from college architectural history 101 and our research for this project, we fell in love with the lattice work type design of ‘mashrabiya’ or ‘Shanasheel’. It become our goal to fuse this design element.
We wanted to develop a design which didn’t completely change the basic bones of the building or structure. We had to be very cost conscious. We began looking at cowboy western wear, specifically cowboy boot design. We concluded that the patterns of leather on the boots was similar to the cut patterns of mashrabiya screens. With the use of rusted metal panels and the use of a plasma cutting machine, we were able to create our own mashrabiya meets western wear motife.
We took this design element and developed custom sliding barn doors which open during the day and closed for security at night. This allowed us to get rid of the security bars.
Barn Door Detail
With the help from the City of Buckeye Economic Development Catalyst Grant Program and the trust of the business owner in our design, the project became a reality. With the dedication form Chris Rounds of Rounds Construction, we worked through the design challenges to create this custom one-of-a-kind architectural masterpiece.
By: Lara Serbin, Buckeye Main Street Coalition
Last month was the National Main Streets Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The Buckeye Main Street Coalition members Jay Broadbent, Charlene Powers, Brian and Kristi McAchran and Lara Serbin were fortunate to attend this important event. We had many opportunities to talk to others who are doing similar events, facade improvements and fundraising. We wanted a different perspective on how to improve historic downtown Buckeye. March 30 through April 1st was packed with learning sessions at the Omni Hotel. Below are some of the sessions offered:
The Museum on Main Street: The Smithsonian Comes to Town
A Rule Breakers Guide to Accessible, Sustainable and Economical Brick Streetscapes
Understanding Today’s Sponsors, Matching their expectations to your needs
People Power: Engaging Your Community Members
Activating Space with Community Partnerships
Defining value in down town festivals and events
Crowdfunding for Public Spaces and Community Places
Mobile Workshops explored downtown districts located in and around Atlanta. City staff, City Managers, Main Street volunteers and business owners took us on walking tours and explained lessons learned regarding revitalization. There are so many lessons and creative ideas that came out of these tours. Meeting other Main Street members was a significant way to affirm or re-examine how we do things. We went to Atlanta to make our downtown Buckeye better.
Buckeye Main Street Coalition at Coca Cola
Atlanta: Historic Downtown Tour
This tour was led by Paul Hammock, Director of Education at the Atlanta Preservation Center. He took us to Five Points, Grant Park and Martin Luther King National Monument. He pointed out the wall of mega buildings dividing circulation. Many historic buildings have been demolished. As with any well developed urban core there have been preservation losses and few wins. He took us to a 1950’s parking structure where the Victorian Kimball House Hotel the most beautiful hotel in Atlanta used to stand.
Kimball House Hotel Atlanta
1950’s Parking Structure replaced Kimball House
The biggest win for the city of Atlanta is the Fox Theatre saved by the wrecking ball by the local citizens. A 1928 lavish theater house with Egyptian and Moorish style interior, halls for dining and outdoor roof decks.
Opening Ceremony Atlanta
The Opening Plenary Session took place at the Fox Theatre and Buckeye Main Street Coalition held the Arizona sign proudly! The most memorable stop was Grant Park, a mile south of downtown. The Atlanta Preservation Center purchased Atlanta’s most significant and endangered house in Atlanta, the antebellum Lemuel P. Grant Mansion. Back in the day this house was king of the hill with acres of cotton. Now the single story is shoe horned among historic homes. Inside the spaces there are artifacts like stair stringers propped up against the exposed thick walls resembling rammed earth walls of the southwest. Before Atlanta Preservation bought this place it looked like a Roman ruin with no roof and nature taking over. This building restoration gives gave me great hope for the Buckeye Historic Courthouse and Jail that is in such need of stabilization.
Lara Serbin at Atlanta Preservation Center
The original wood panel flank the tall window openings. The last stop in the city core was the Martin Luther King National Monument Landmark. Several city blocks are reserved for a museum, crypt, visitor center and the Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Martin Luther King National Monument
I sat in the church pew and listened to Dr. King to rest from taking photos. The space had a simple interior and intricate stained glass. It was a sacred space well cared for.
Tactical Urbanism: 10 Ways to Restore Your Downtown for $500 or Less
In between the mobile tours there were educational workshops. A huge drop cloth, stack of wood pallets and tools told me this was a hands-on 3 hour course. There were 10 different Tactical Urbanism projects happening simultaneously.
Tactical Urbanism Work Session
Volunteers were asked to build things like a flower display and adirondack chair from wood pallets. Even though a lot of it was staged like a cooking show on Food Network, it held my attention. While volunteers were constructing, cutting and bolting the mediator was fielding questions like how to not get in trouble with the highway department after tagging bicycle symbols on downtown streets.
Charlene Powers and Cheryl Sedig at Tactical Urbanism Work Session
Making an adirondack chair out of wood pallets
Maybe that is how most of us want to learn now, with chaos. At the end of 3 hours the teams had constructed a “Parklet”, chairs set on top of a raised platform with movie screen backdrop. I think most folks on Main Street organizations are finding ways to get their projects completed lighter, quicker and cheaper. I walked away with ideas on how to make future workshops in downtown Buckeye more interactive and fun.
Monroe: Creating a Downtown Destination through Local Investors Tour
The road that leads to Monroe is flanked with grand mansions of the cotton era. Monroe has its dark stories of segregated mass lynching in 1946 and current poverty, but they acknowledge their past honestly and embrace agrarian roots with pride. The historic downtown is vibrant with stores like Buckles Hardware, Little Italy’s Peppino’s Pizzaria and Rinse Bath & Body.
Monroe, GA historic downtown
City officials, Main Street volunteers and buildings owners were there to greet us at The Wayfarer Music Hall a community space to lease. Lemonade, ginger cookies, vase of flowers and goodie bags made me realize the impact of hospitality. The owner of the building was there, she was a Monroe native and had rehabilitated the 1910 building into a vital community event center in the historic corridor. The first floor she leases out for events like rehearsal wedding dinners. A second entrance opens to a flight of narrow wood stairs leading to The Wayfarer Hotel.
The Wayfarer Hotel
The Hotel is self sufficient without check in or full time staff. The walls have exposed brick and original plaster. Even the coffee bar is a shared space.
The Wayfarer Music Hall
She kept the improvements to the interior simple by only carving out what was necessary like a 3 compartment sink, hand wash station, ADA restroom and lockbox. Made me think of Buckeye and how we could so use a space like this to host events. It is a sign of the times to create a space that has an open ended use.
Keep Marching On with Faith, Hope and Love. Dr. Martin Luther King
Here at Serbin Studio we like historic architecture. I was in downtown Phoenix a couple weeks ago and went inside the historic Luhrs Tower. Just for fun. It was the art-deco elevator door detail, the ornately painted ceiling beams and round button chandelier that enticed me to climb up the tight stair case that was behind the elevators. The finishes were consistent on all floors and walls so I had no sense of differentiation per floor.
At the top of each stair landing was a restroom either Men or Women alternating every other floor. The co-workers must have had a tight knit social environment rubbing shoulders walking the stairs and waiting for the coast to clear until exiting the restroom. The drinking fountains are original and so tiny that potted plants have taken residency. One of the landings had a functioning office reception. A few framed vintage Life Magazine covers were equally spaced behind a dark wooden desk. I was surprised a gum chewing receptionist wearing a polka dot dress hiding spectators under the desk didn’t look up at me. You must understand this building is an icon situated in the down town core of Phoenix, Arizona. As a German immigrant, George H.N. Luhrs came to Phoenix in 1878 and commissioned the art-deco Luhrs Tower in 1929. It has a sibling, The Luhrs Building, a block away on Central Avenue and Jefferson Street.
With new city center projects erupting these days, I believe that it is important to preserve what history we do have in Phoenix. The photo above on the left is what I like to see. The complex fussy detail against the sleek gray panels of the high rise in construction. The building skin on the gray modern building sheds all unnecessary detail, it is about efficiency for the height of the structure. The detail on the metal and glass canopy of The Luhrs Building is closer to the eye so it has more detail, it was modern for it’s time.
The upper double digit floors had the most current construction activity. Simple renovations like replacing deteriorated window and door frames with mahogany to match the existing finish the interior throughout. I loved the restroom doors too even though they practically opened out into the stair enclosure. Who paints gold leaf letters on glass anymore, and that “O” is too cool.
The fish scale black and white tiles are wonderfully decayed. The tiles were being replaced with like replacements. One of the windows in the renovation clutter was left ajar and so I captured the view looking towards South Mountain. This is probably more what it looked like when it was first built. Back in the day, the Luhrs Tower was one of the tallest buildings in downtown Phoenix. I felt great appreciation for the care taker of the Luhrs Tower as I explored as high as I could climb up those marble steps.