by Michael R. Allen
En route to another building, I passed the home of Albert Aloe Opticians at 138 West Adams Avenue in Kirkwood. What a stunning mid-century building, replete with its vintage yard sign! The simple geometry of red brick and native limestone provides a backdrop for colorful tile work. I read the colored rectangles like punched out sections of early punched paper data cards. The second floor window ribbon is even shaped like an early computer punch card, with the common tile color suggestive of old paper stock. (Surely some readers will recall the very floppy disks of old.)
It’s as if the architect saw patterns in a punch card and abstracted them into tile work patterns. Either that, or the architect embedded a message in secret geometric code.