Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cheap Flower Bulbs from Lowe's

My big box chain store inside bulbs have greatly pleased me in their performance. The flower below bloomed over Christmas, just in time for the birth of Jesus Christ. It's even red and white!The second one has not pleased me as well as the first one. It has plopped over in this picture, and shows no signs of blooming. It has since stood back up, but will probably flop over again sometime soon. It has flopped over before and then risen again, so I am not sure what is wrong with it.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Morton, Illinois: Pumpkin Capital of the World

Yes, it's hard to believe, but Pumpkinland does exist. It's in Morton, Illinois, which is sadly succumbing to suburbanization.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Left Behind: A Church in Southwest, Washington, DC

Sliced off from its neighborhood, buffeted by an interstate, this Franciscan monastery continues on in the shadow of the massive government office buildings of Federal Center Southwest.What is cool is how the church received a Modernist makeoever, with this stylish railing that leads around the property.In back, this funky Modernist chapel completes the ensemble of buildings that still houses friars.
See it from the air here; the parking lot features "Thou Shalt Not Park Here."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Rowhouses, Southwest, Washington, DC

Oddly enough, once all the historic 19th Century rowhouses had been swept aside, they proceeded to build these new ones in their place.While I'm not a huge fan of the design, Southwest could have used more of these streets during the rebuilt, considering how much of the area is dominated by large apartment buildings.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Southwest Freeway, Washington, DC

The Southwest Freeway was one of the few legs of what would have been a giant, destructive double loop of interstates planned for Washington, DC. Thankfully, the interstates were stopped before any more damage could be done.Sadly, it was too late to salvage the connectivity of Southwest to the rest of the city; the area remains isolated and largely out of the public consciousness of the city.See its and its mate, the Southeast Freeway, from the air here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Waterfront Mall, Southwest, Washington, DC

This failed mall on the riverfront in Southwest appears to have been largely demolished for redevelopment.It was a total failure, but what was cool is that it was suspended in the 1960's, complete with its sole remaining tenant, a cheap restaurant with harvest orange dining benches.The Brutalist apartment blocks lining the area still survive.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Arena Stage, Southwest, Washington, DC

The Arena Stage, so-named because
it was originally housed in the arena of the Heurich Brewery in Foggy Bottom before it was demolished for the Kennedy Center, is once again undergoing a transformation. They're literally building the new Post-Modernist theater over the top of the 1960's one. Bizarre. See it from the air before the renovations began here.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Apartment Buildings, Southwest, Washington, DC

After the clearance of thousands of rowhouses and viable corner businesses, the modernists came in and built their apartment towers in the their place. Erasing the grid and creating superblocks, the oldest portion of DC, the waterfront of Southwest, began to transform into a whole other world. See the buildings, great examples of the many Modernist apartment buildings from the air here.

I have to admit, I hated Southwest when I lived in DC, but now it has a strange sort of mid-century funkiness to it that I now like. Now don't get me wrong, the area is still dead and lifeless 24/7, but the architecture has grown on me.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Demolition and Rebirth of Southwest, Washington, DC

Imagine an entire neighborhood, strong but a little worn on the edges, completely demolished for what would become an outdoor Modernist architectural workshop. It exists, in the smallest and least explored quadrant of Washington, DC. We'll look at the vision of the 1960's and 1970's, when a blank slate became a real, new and totally different neighborhood.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On the Wrong Side of the Tracks, Southwest, Washington, DC

Crossing underneath the railroad viaduct to the Southwest quadrant of Washington, DC, the visitor enters another world. See more of this huge example of urban renewal in the next week.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Highway 40: The Emperor Has No Clothes

So I'm confused, how is the new I-64 better than the old one? All the old curves are still there, the road is still three lanes through the most congested portion around I-170, and traffic is actually worse than it was two years ago. My parents told me they ended up in stopped traffic going westbound on Sunday, and I encountered much, much heavier traffic west and east of the road closure on the same day. I suspect we are seeing what Robert Moses discovered decades before, and our highway engineers should have expected: you build more lanes, and you get more traffic. Why? Because people see a new interstate, and everyone immediately starts driving on it. Big surprise. And the accordion effect of going for three to four to three and then back to four lanes again compresses and slows down traffic. Driving over Hampton, I could see traffic backing up westbound around Clayton Avenue--the same place it began to back up ten years ago when I was an intern at the Art Museum. When is this collective fog going to lift and everyone realizes that the new interstate, while technically safer, solved none of our traffic woes?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Loggia of Union Station, Washington, DC

Many a time I would be looking for a cab out in front of Union Station and I would be accosted by gypsy cab drivers instead. Hey, they are cheaper, but you have to give them directions the whole way home.I have more memories of this loggia shrouded in darkness, as I waited for the bus to take me home at 2:00 AM.

A Blog detailing the beauty of St. Louis architecture and the buildup of residue-or character-that accumulates over the course of time.