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Archive for the ‘buildings’ Category

where i removed a stone from my shoe

June 7, 2010 1 comment

I had a small stone in my shoe. It was unpleasant. So I stopped here, sat on the steps, removed the shoe and removed the stone. If only all our problems were so easily resolved.

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Categories: buildings

manure cart

June 4, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve a passion for the buildings found at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, especially the older structures. There’s a strange sort of practical beauty to them. I’m completely smitten with the massive barns with their beamed ceilings and skylights and interior stalls and pens.

On my most recent visit I noticed these very cool red carts situated in strategic points among the stalls. When I got closer I saw they were all labeled “For Manure Only.” Not a very appealing thought, but I love the communal attitude behind it. The people who bring their livestock to exhibit at the fair are the sorts of people who will clean up after themselves–not because they’re forced to, but because it’s the decent and respectful thing to do. The people who operate the fair understand that, and provide them with some of the necessary materials to do it.

These aren’t just manure carts; they’re an expression of consideration.

Categories: buildings, found object

modular world

May 6, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m torn between admiration for the clean, simple efficiency of modular buildings and horror at their utter lack of architectural soul. These buildings mean nothing as buildings; they exist only as a quick and inexpensive means to house stuff. They are the anti-Bauhaus.

From that perspective, modular buildings mean a lot. They speak a great deal about our culture. These structures aren’t built to last; they’re built to last long enough. No matter how long they remain standing, they’ll never end up on some registry of historical buildings.

But photographs of them will find their way into the historical record and museums and galleries. It’s odd to think images of these soul-free structures will, in the end, receive more attention than the structures themselves.

Categories: buildings, industrial, suburbs

turning lane

April 17, 2010 Leave a comment

More and more, it seems, cities and towns are bumping up against farmland. A couple years ago, I’m told, this used to be a poorly maintained two-lane county road. But a farmer sold his land to a developer, who built a few dozen suburban-style homes. And now there are street lamps and a turning lane.

Nothing new there, really. Before the poorly-maintained county road, there was a dirt road. And before that, probably a path of some sort. The new is always bumping into the old, and the old is always giving way. Everything turns.

Categories: buildings, landscape, rural, streets

off-balan ce

April 6, 2010 Leave a comment

I love the backs of buildings. All the attention is given to the front, of course. The public face. But in the back, where nobody is supposed to be, where nobody is supposed to look–that’s where you see the most honest and intriguing aspect of the building and the people who inhabit it.

I’ve walked by this door dozens of times and always found it oddly attractive. I’m drawn to its lack of symmetry. Everything is just a bit off-center, a bit out of true. For some reason, that makes it beautiful to me.

Categories: buildings, city, industrial

hint of things to come

March 28, 2010 Leave a comment

There are so many things to like about vines growing on the sides of buildings. They form a habitat–almost an ecosystem–inhabited by small animals and insects. They bring the natural world closer to the people who live or work in the buildings. And hey, they’re pretty.

But there’s also the fact that growing vines are a reminder that the natural world is always trying to reclaim its territory. Given time and opportunity, these vines will pull these bricks down and reduce this lovely window to lovely rubble.

Categories: buildings, nature

fifty-five days

February 3, 2010 Leave a comment

According to the local weather service, we’ve had fifty-five days of heavy snow so far this winter. That’s fifty-five days of heavy snow. None of your moderate snow, none of you light snow, none of your dustings of snow. Heavy snow.

Fifty-five days.

Categories: buildings, landscape, winter