When a person thinks about water drainage and controlling water flow, a very important element in architecture design, it is not usually stimulating conversation.
Residences typically pitch a roof to a gutter which then deposits rain water into a downspout. Whether aluminum or copper, the downspout is a functional rather than decorative element.
Commercial structures with flat roofs drain to internal roof drains with the hidden drains running to the rainwater piping. However, these systems also require overflow scuppers, which are visible to the exterior of the building. Again, a functional element but, one that can become a visual element on the façade.
In Saint Augustine, two high profile structures have decorative scuppers. Whether constructed in the 1690’s or the 1960’s, draining water off the roof of a structure is important. Both these examples did so in an elegant way without losing the functional purpose of the scupper.
The Castillo de San Marcos, constructed 1695 and Flagler College, constructed in 1968 use scuppers to drain water and made them decorative. Well, the Castillo de San Marcos is a fort which was not constructed with beauty in mind but over time, the grandeur and engineering brilliance makes it a work in art. The stone scuppers are functional but look elegant with the stonework and simplicity of the site.
Flagler College on the other hand, has custom designed dragon faced scuppers. Their beauty adds a layer of interest and detail to the ornate exterior design. A visitor can sit and study the building and details such as these for hours. So, even an element as simple as a scupper is important to the structural integrity of the building but it can also be elegant and visually interesting in appearance.