Greene & Greene Virtual Archives
Joseph N. Kinney Building
Pasadena, California, 1896
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Joseph N. Kinney Building
Pasadena, California

In 1896 the Greenes built an office block in the center of Pasadena for local land investors Joseph N. Kinney and Bela O. Kendall. Constructed of iron and glass, it was one of the largest structures in town at the time. The design possesses a sense of simplicity that sets it apart from the surrounding buildings. On the exterior, classical pilasters on three levels flank three-part window bays. A wreath-and-garland frieze decorates the margin between the second and third floors. The decorative flourishes on the highest frieze are Charles Greene’s own invention. A classically detailed cornice completes the decorative scheme. The Greenes designed modern technological advances into the structure, including a skeleton of iron H-beams and cylinder-beams similar to that first used by William LeBaron Jenny in the Home Insurance building, in Chicago of 1884-85. The Kinney-Kendall design is the Greenes only significant commercial commission until many years later, as their interests and talents lead them almost exclusively to domestic architecture.