An exhibition of drawings at the Middendorf Gallery (2009 Columbia Rd. NW) by architect Timothy Pflueger and his associates in the firm of Miller & Pflueger will alike please architecture buffs, art deco fans and homesick folks from the Bay Area. Pflueger (1892-1946) was the principal designer of several of San Francisco's notable buildings, including the Pacific Stock Exchange and the distinguished skyscraper at 450 Sutter St., and he did several typically stupendous movie palaces.
The drawings for the latter are themselves stupendous. Done in pencil on paper or parchment, they are reminders of what was lost (and what gained) with the advent of computer-aided design systems. Shown here are extensive sets of drawings for the 1926 Alhambra, Moorish of course, and the streamlined Alameda of 1932 -- sketches, floor plans, elevations, cross sections and luminous decorative details. The fact that for the most part these are working drawings, produced in the office on a daily basis, serves to underscore the high quality of the draftsmanship.
Also featured are a series of skyscraper studies done in the early 1920s. Presumably done by Pflueger himself, these too are very fine. The architect here, comfortable in all styles, was on fire with ideas about civilizing the tall building, running a basic 20- to 30-story module through a variety of changes at bottom, middle and top. Keeping the tall building relatively short is in itself a civilizing move, come to think of it. The exhibition continues through June 2.