There are many elements of a city that make it unique and very diverse from others. Around Jacksonville, Florida, there is a lot of history behind the older buildings, restaurants, parks, beaches, neighborhoods, and much more. There is a lot of construction going on around the town and newer buildings being constructed. Although there is, what seems like, an endless amount of construction, many older locations remain. Kingsley Plantation, Dames Point Bridge, and The Landing are a few of Jacksonville’s landmarks. One unique place that I have been to, since my time in Jacksonville, was Chart House. The restaurant has been a part of the Jacksonville community since 1982.
The Chart House is a sea-food restaurant that overlooks the St. John’s River in downtown Jacksonville. This four-star restaurant was designed by the famous Kendrick Bangs Kellogg in the early 80’s. Aside from being known for their herb crusted and slow roasted ribs to their peach-bourbon glazed scallops and shrimp, the Chart House has a unique building structure. The uniqueness should come to no surprise seeing how the architect is known for being an “organic architect.” During our dining, the manager of the Jacksonville location, Mark Rojas, stopped by our table. Alongside our feedback of our meals, we inquired about the restaurant itself. We were very intrigued by the architecture and to our discovery there was a story behind the whole construction.
Learning further about the establishment, there were several facts that made the Chart House more unique compared to other structures in the city. Starting with the exterior, the building was designed to resemble a stingray. As it was hard to visualize when initially being informed, the manager opened up a Google Earth image on his phone. He pointed out the walkway to the front entrance is the tail of the sea creature. As it may be difficult to visualize while being on the inside and around the exterior of the building, the roof and the shape of the structure is the body of the stingray. It was not clear the specific type of ray the establishment was made to favor, but you may believe it is to resemble a spotted eagle stingray. There are circular windows on the ceilings that go to the roof, skylights, that on the outside appear as the spots of the stingray.
From examining the exterior to entering the interior, the inside was not what I had expected it would be. When entering from the outside, you are greeted with a beautiful water feature, that continues on the inside. As you gaze around the restaurant, you are introduced with an astonishing view of the St. John’s River. After gawking out all the windows boarding the river, you’ll begin to notice your other surroundings. The inside of the restaurant was designed to imitate a ship. Mark Rojas was educating us on the reasoning behind the design. The architect of all the Chart House restaurants, Kendrick Bangs Kellogg, was the captain of his own ship. When researching the establishment after our visit, it was difficult to find proof of that. Kendrick intended for all the exteriors to be different but the interiors to be similar. In the Jacksonville location, the circular skylights are resembling the windows on a ship. All the wood things are to resemble¬¬¬¬________. All the wood work within the restaurant has a slight curve to it. When constructing the inside, the wood used was dipped in the St. John’s River to help bend the wood. Can it get more authentic than that?
Every builder is different in their own way, especially their designs. Each have their own personality producing their visions. Kendrick Kellogg is a California native who was born in 1934. He studied at multiple colleges and universities for about five years but did not obtain a degree. Years later, Kellogg eventually procured his architectural license in California. During his journey to become an architect, he became acquainted with an architect named Frank Lloyd Wright. With a significant age difference, Frank Wright managed to inspire Kendrick in his performance and future designs. Exploring Kellogg’s other architectural designs, being viewed as an “organic architect” is an understatement. According to Wikipedia, Kendrick designs all his projects to “weather any storm.” His designs are one of a kind.
Before expanding his designs all over the world, Kendrick is best known for his work on the West Coast as well as in Japan. Wikipedia states that Kendrick built his third design, the Onion House, by hand with the help of William Slatton. This house was built in the early 1960’s in Holualoa, Hawaii. Kendrick was in his mid-twenties when he moved to Hawaii to construct this establishment.
According to JAX Daily Record, in 2012 the Chart House was named one of the one hundred top buildings in the state of Florida alongside the Florida Theatre Building and Riverplace Tower. That is quite an accomplishment, especially competing with the countless establishments in the entire state of Florida. The Chart House itself is a statement establishment when exploring the history and facts of it. All that the restaurant has been through, between the attacks and after effects of hurricanes to ¬¬¬¬¬their potential slow season, the place has remained strong.