Hooray for the Hip!
The centerpiece of Gainesville’s downtown could easily be the Hippodrome State Theater, which actually started out as the Federal Building back in 19011 (read all about it here: http://thehipp.org/explore/building-history/). The building itself is beautiful, as you can see. It is used for gathering of all kinds, as well as plays and independent movies. Even the space outside is used by sidewalk vendors and street musicians.
You may find it quite shameful that I have never been inside. After almost five years in Gainesville, I probably should have been at least once. I will rectify the situation soon, I hope. But for now, the outside will have to do. And it does do, quite nicely.
I love the carved ornamentation, no matter what Adolf Loos would say about it. And despite modernism’s move away from ornamentation, architecture is still so much about aesthetics that it is impossible to get away from ornamentation of some kind. Now it is all about the finishings, rather than labor-intensive carvings.
Although the carvings look wonderful on this building, were they to appear on a contemporary building, they would appear showy and a bit forced. What ornamentation is produced now is almost always built of lightweight, modern materials, molded rather than carved. The application of this mass-produced ornamentation speaks more to a misguided nostalgia than to a meaningful language. The time has passed for this kind of ornamentation, and likely will never return.