concrete typography

1Today’s pairing are two examples of concrete type that is set above an entryway. These buildings were built 2 years apart from each other (The Frick Building in Pittsburgh was built in 1902 and the Vermont Building in Boston was built in 1904). What first caught my eye in the picture from Pittsburgh, in addition to the concrete fruit (?) and the lion heads (?!) was that ampersand. I love the way it is nestled between the two words. I’m also curious about the “Co”. Did they run out of room and this was their creative solution to solve the lack of spacing? Or was impregnated C a plan all along? Either way, it’s beautiful. Here are some interesting facts about The Frick Building (via Wikipedia):

  • The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • The tower was built directly adjacent to a building owned by his business partner and rival Andrew Carnegie, on the site of Saint Peter Episcopal Church. Frick, who feuded with Carnegie after they split as business associates, had the building designed to be taller than Carnegie’s in order to encompass it in constant shadow.
  • The Frick Building was opened on March 15, 1902 and originally had twenty floors. It was the tallest building in the city at that time. A leveling of the surrounding landscape that was completed in 1912 caused the basement to become the entrance, so some sources credit the building with twenty-one stories.

The Frick Building is now the home of the Andy Warhol Museum. Here’s a close up of that beautiful ampersand and the pregnant C:

2While walking around the North End neighborhood of Boston, I came across The Vermont Building. Who needs concrete fruit and lion head’s when there are TWO apostrophes?! I have never seen a word abbreviated with two before.
3Here are some interesting facts about The Vermont Building (via Wikipedia):

  • The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.
  • Its construction was funded by Redfield Proctor, a United States Senator from Vermont, and one of the owners of the Vermont Marble Company.
  • The Vermont Building was built in 1904. The 6 story brick and marble building originally housed retail establishments on the ground floor, and commercial, warehousing, and light manufacturing facilities on the upper floors, including facilities of the Vermont Marble Company. It now contains loft apartments.

Back to those apostrophes:

4Have you noticed any beautiful concrete lettering above an entryway in your city? Take a picture and tweet it to me @nikki_vz or email at to be featured in an upcoming post!


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