Canada Dry – Bottling Plant

Bob Borson —  January 4, 2011 — 14 Comments

Things used to be much more simple – but that doesn’t mean they were better … but in this case it does. During the holiday break, I had some time to continue flipping through all the old Architectural Forum magazines we acquired and I found a real gem of a project. Among the many funny ads – which have been the subject of many posts – there are projects that get featured in these old magazines that I do not think would ever get any attention from today’s print media. Why is that? Is it because they aren’t made out of bleeding edge technology or shipping containers, or living walls? I couldn’t tell you the answer other than those things probably sell magazines better than practical solutions to typical problems that have been resolved in a considered and thoughtful manner.

That’s too bad.

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I found this project – ‘Bottling Plant’ in Greensboro, North Carolina from J.P. Coble, Architect in an issue and thought it was really something great. Construction costs were to be kept at a minimum (who hasn’t heard that before) and according to the description, it had a bright color scheme with green equipment (featured prominently inside the glass wall along the main elevation), bright red columns, and aluminum colored interior walls. The exterior was white with a red billboard type exterior sign-age to take advantage of the buildings prominence on a main boulevard just outside of town. I really wish these pictures were in color.

What originally caught my eye was the wall section … when I looked more closely, it would appear that the wall section doesn’t quite match the adjacent photos. The way the glazing goes from floor to ceiling with no header – allowing the ceiling plane to move through the window wall and extend out as the overhang. There is no interruption as your eye moves from interior space to exterior space – the wall section shows a slight difference between the interior ceiling and the exterior  soffit but that’s not how it was built. The offset was either removed or the roof overhang was thickened up – but I don’t think that was the case considering that the roof overhang doesn’t appear to be more than 10″ – 12″ thick.

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I decided I wanted to see how this building has fared since it was built some 70 years ago. I didn’t actually think it would still be functioning as a Canada Dry Beverages Bottling plant … I don’t know what I thought to be honest. I tried searching on the architect, then the engineer, then bottling plants in Greensboro – you name it, and I came up with very little information and no images. I even spent the time to go through Google Maps to see if I could find a shot of the building from the roadway – zilch. What I did find was an article to buy the plant here from November 26, 2008. They are going to tear it down along with some housing for the poor and turn the entire area into a complex that features some combination of restaurants, retail and hotel accommodations.

Yippee ..? I don’t know the area so I suppose I shouldn’t cast dispersion and say that this is another example of progress being made in favor of some combination of restaurants, retail and hotel accommodations. We need more of those things right?

So as depressed as I was over the demolition of a building that up until a few hours ago I never knew existed, at least I found some awesome ads from Canada Dry.

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They call him GINGER but I just I call him freaky crazy!

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Mmm …. a Ginger-Upper! That does sound good but the other items on that picnic? Not so much. Pickle Hamburgers and Hamburger Delights? Sounds a little dodgy … I’ll stick with the soda thanks.

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Picnic’s were clearly a theme – makes sense to me, picnic’s are delightful! Except why is that bottle so big and is the diving board that kid is sitting on a piece of lumber? The wheels are flying off on this ad but that’s what makes it so good. I’m going to switch to Canada Dry Ginger Ale today!

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even better

  • jbushkey

    America’s ginger-upper! CANADA? Dry LOL

  • http://twitter.com/architecturally Albert

    As a Canadian – Canada Dry rules! Wa-a-ay better than Coke ;)
    As an Architect – Bob rules… What a cool stuff. What a nice professional sensitivity. What a great attention to the details… (Your comparative analysis of this section floored me.) Enjoyed your piece professionally and emotionally. Have I mentioned that Canada Dry is the best soft drink ever? :)

  • http://modernsauce.blogspot.com ModernSauce

    Gingervating is the best. word. ever.

    • Anonymous

      it’s not bad is it?

  • http://twitter.com/chamwashere Chamois Green

    And why is his hot dog soo small?? (last ad)
    I would have loved to see this bottling plant in full color, too. A lifelong fan of Canada Dry, it would have been some kind of Mecca to see it in person.

    • Anonymous

      Do you think he was haunted by having a small hot dog his entire life? Sure, he seems happy enough now, apparently oblivious to having a small hot dog but as men get older, that tune changes.

  • http://twitter.com/mondo_tiki_man Jonathan Brown

    I love how glossy food in the 50’s apparently used to be. Nothing says “delicious” like a high buff shine.

  • http://www.wood-and-light.com David Mathias

    Great looking building. I wonder if people showed up to watch through the window as ginger ale was being made. And I hope that’s a north-facing wall. In NC. In summer.

  • http://buildipedia.com/community/profile/64-ryancarpico Ryan Carpico

    You can really see the design trends evolve when rummaging through years of old architecture rags – I try to hold my breath when flipping through the issues from the 70s and 80s to avoid inhaling the stench of mainstream postmodernism.

    It is too bad that we don’t see more ‘practical solutions to typical problems’ in today’s print media. The exposure for new technologies is definitely necessary to continue pushing buildings to perform at higher health, safety and welfare standards. But when the majority of buildings are designed and constructed for minimum budgets, it’s important to have an array of examples for simple yet elegant solutions. And there is so much enjoyable architecture among the utilitarian structures of our daily lives. With the continued proliferation of blogs such as yours hopefully there will be more exposure for the hidden gems of contemporary design. Thanks – keep up the good work.

    • Anonymous

      Not to get too heavy but I think that it’s harder to appreciate simple work done well because there are so many moving parts that you can’t see without slowing down and really taking a look at what’s there. Traditional media rarely gets that option since they need to provide something that really reaches out and grabs the reader.

      Flash = cash

      Can’t say I blame them, they are running a business and to that extent, the ends justify the means. But now you and I have additional options to go out and find the content we want – from blogs and freelance writers – everybody wins. (yea!)

  • Randy

    Like you, I have the sick facination of seeing how an interesting structure has fared over the years… generally to my own detriment. It is rare to find a happy ending to the story. So I searched, as you did, for this plant – unfortunately I found it.

    http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=36.056196,-79.829444&spn=0.001555,0.003473&t=h&z=19

    If you go to the street view of this large structure, at the corner of Ellington & Highpoint, you will see the Canada Dry name carved into the stone on the face of the building. It is apparant that as production increased, they eschewed any and all concern for the artistry that was invoked in the original design process for this bottling plant, and blazed a path of brick and cast stone. Let’s all say it in unison: “ooooooooh, aaaaaahhhh, ohhhhhh” – how very bold of them.

    • Anonymous

      I found the same image but you can see that the bottling plant as it was no longer exists. I didn’t think that it would, it was too small to continue functioning as a bottling facility but I suppose I hope to find that it had been repurposed into something worthwhile.

    • jbushkey

      Sprawltastic!

  • http://www.suryacem.com/ Suryaceme

    Canada Dry bottling plant is grown step by step , Canada dry is a great brand