Friday, September 14, 2012

Howard M. Reynolds - Orlando Architect

Howard M. Reynolds was an American architect practicing in Orlando, Florida in the 1920s. He designed gracefully proportioned, notable public buildings in the prevailing fashionable styles of the 1920s, including Mediterranean Revival, Colonial Revival, Spanish Colonial, Egyptian Revival, Art Deco and Art Moderne.

Among Reynolds' best know works are a number of educational buildings still in use as schools or community centers in Central Florida. The Marks Street Senior Center is perhaps the most charming of them. Many of Reynolds' suave, stylish buildings have been designated as Orlando Historic Landmarks.

Reynolds' was among a small but active group of ten architectural firms listed in the Orlando phone directory in 1926, the others including: Frank L. Bodine, Fred E. Field, David Hyer, Murray S. King, George E. Krug, Ryan and Roberts (Ida Annah Ryan and Isabel Roberts) and Percy P. Turner. This group of architects felt it important to create a distictive regional architecture, an effort which they described in the Florida journal The Florida Circle in 1924 as follows:

"Just as architects of old created styles to harmonize with their environment, so have the architects of Florida been creating, from native motifs, a style that is carefully adapted to the climatic conditions and surroundings of the state. This style has an individuality all its own and should have a fitting name to express its origins . . . The Florida Association of Architects will give a prize of $25.00 for the name selected."

Blind window and terra cotta details (shown above) enliven an otherwise blank wall. One suspects that they were polychromatic when new in 1925. Keep in mind that Reynolds designed the Cherokee School not long after the Marks Street School. See my post from a week or so ago about the Cherokee School.

The twisted Solomonic Corinthian column (shown above) is a device Reynolds also used at the Cherokee School. The combined cross and x shapes (shown below) were a popular motif in Spanish Revival architecture in 1920s Florida, utilized by many of the leading Orlando architects of the day.

The romance of pink and white against the blue sky is perfectly suited to Sunny Florida.

Although it looks like an elegant resort hotel, it was built in 1925 as a school and now serves as the Marks Street Senior Center, in Orlando, Florida.

Howard M. Reynolds was a successful Orlando architect. In addition to this landmark structure, Reynolds' designs include the following notable Central Florida buildings:

Jones High School, 1922 - Colonial Revival
First Congregational Church of Winter Park, 1924 - Colonial Revival
Osceola Co. High School remodel, 1925
Orange Co. Chamber of Commerce, 1926 - Exotic Revival - razed
Osceola Co. Court House remodel, 1926
Winter Park Jr-Sr High School, 1926
Cherokee Jr. High School, 1927 - Spanish Revival
First National Bank Bld., Orlando, 1930 - Egyptian Art Deco

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