Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Architecture of Paradise Palms: Shadow Block

Shadow H-block on a Paradise Palms Palmer & Krisel Plan 6A
Similar in nature to decorative concrete block, shadow block serves as another defining architectural feature of Paradise Palms.  Shadow block is created when concrete block is placed or cast in a manner which presents a small relief in which shadows are cast when hit by light.  Shadow block can be created through several types of applications.  Found on many of the Palmer & Krisel-designed homes, the most prolific use of shadow block is formed when standard concrete masonry units are placed in a manner which projects the block from the face of the home. 

One of the most recognizable forms of shadow block is the projecting H-block found on the Palmer & Krisel Plans 6A and rare 6H, as well as on some courtyard walls in Tropical Estates; however, other subtle variations exist on many other homes.  The Plan 8s incorporate some form of decorative shadow block on their elevations; while the Plan 5s incorporate a single vertical line of shadow block on their chimneys.  There are also a few more variations seen on other models, including the open-ended eight-inch block which is found on just three of the four Plan 7Bs built in the community. 
Shadow H-block on a Paradise Palms Palmer & Krisel Plan 6A
Another form of creating shadow lines is the use of scored grout lines.  This look is formed when the grout lines between concrete masonry unit blocks are indented, or scored, to create subtle grid-like patterns.  This look is most commonly found on block fence units in all parts of the community, and is a look that can easily be recreated today.

The third and most rare form of shadow block found in Paradise Palms is molded shadow block.  This type of block is formed when patterns, or shadow lines, are cast into concrete block when it is originally molded. There is only one home model, the Miranti Sherwood, which originally incorporates this type block into its facade.  The Miranti-built Sherwood is also the only other home model, other than the Palmer & Krisel-designed plan 6A and H and the occasional Tropical Estates courtyard wall, to incorporate H-block in its fa├žade, giving lucky owners of this model a double bonus.  
Molded shadow block on a Miranti Sherwood home
Most forms of shadow block can still be recreated today through creative design.  The basic units and dimensions still remain the same today as they did 50 years ago; local distributor Allied Building Materials is the source for Orco Block, which manufactures architectural concrete block, screen block, and even molded shadow block. Here’s a closer look at some of the shadow block which defines Paradise Palms:  
Square shadow block on a Palmer & Krisel Plan 6C
Square shadow block on a Palmer & Krisel Plan 8A
Square shadow block on a Palmer & Krisel Plan 8A
Square shadow block on a Palmer & Krisel Plan 8A
Shadow H-block on a Paradise Palms Palmer & Krisel Plan 6A
Shadow H-block on a Paradise Palms Palmer & Krisel Plan 6A
Shadow H-block on a Paradise Palms Palmer & Krisel Plan 6A
Shadow H-block on a Paradise Palms Palmer & Krisel Plan 6H
Shadow H-block on a Tropical Estates courtyard wall
Shadow H-block on a Tropical Estates courtyard wall
Open ended square shadow block on a Palmer & Krisel Plan 7B
Open ended square shadow block on a Palmer & Krisel Plan 7B
Vertical shadow block on a Palmer & Krisel Plan 4C
Vertical shadow block on a Palmer & Krisel Plan 4C
Vertical shadow block on a Palmer & Krisel Plan 5C
Decorative H-block on a Mirnati Sherwood home
Decorative H-block on a Miranti Sherwood  home
Molded shadow block on a Miranti Sherwood home
Molded shadow block on a Miranti Sherwood home
Molded shadow block on a Miranti Sherwood home
Vertical scored shadow block on a Tropical Estates home
Vertical scored shadow block on a Tropical Estates home
Scored square block wall 
Scored square block wall