29 September 2009
on the corner of lee and fulton streets, new apartments have taken over the former industrial sites and, before that single family residences along the street. there is also a sharp contract with the feeling of wafco mills complex, which seems more a part of the fabric of the neighborhood.
lee street feels very different than the neighborhood proper. along this thoroughfare, there seem to be four categories of building:
 the residential dwellings dating from the latter nineteenth century into the twentieth
 the industrial buildings that largely replaced them and shifted the vision of the landscape
 other store front buildings that provided a retail presence along the thoroughfare
 larger-scale apartment complexes constructed in the last several years (lee street/fulton = the largest)
25 September 2009
in hss125 today, i presented "visualizing empire," a presentation that the wonderful kim martin and i did for a conference three years ago. using genre painting, we frmed architecture as a trope within the works to help understand notions of eastern-ness and western-ness in the early republic....with polarities between civilized and wilderness, order and chaos, etc. students seemed most to resonate with thomas cole's "course of empire" series....moving from the "savage state" to the "pastoral or arcadian state" to the "consummation of empire" to "destruction" and finally to "desolation." with each of these works in a series, cole depicts a cyclical view of the world, periodizing history and tending to compartmentalize each state into a discrete phase through which each civilization passes (reference here the later work of frederick jackson turner and the advance of the american frontier). the point of the presentation, though, is the blended landscapes with elements of the two visions of the world...not either/or but both/and.
24 September 2009
PRIMARY : SECONDARY : TERTIARY
we also looked at changing uses for buildings....post office to a printing company....methodist church additions.....bank building to a police station....grocery to convenience store....movie theatre to a bookstore....what was one a mini-city with a commercial area that served more than a narrow population of students has over two decades transformed into what clay calls a strip. some of this has to do with the lack of diversity in what stands as the commercial core.
17 September 2009
as students conclude the first segment of hss125, they will be analyzing a series of artifacts from the period 1750-1850. today in class, we worked together using an oil lamp and created a presentation to help them see that visual media can actually WORK WITH the topic to help underscore central themes and issues. by developing a three point outline, students reinforced salient concepts using this example...and will thus turn their attention to their own specific projects.
here's what we dreamed up:
clear glass material
cold/hot to the touch
parlor…idea of darkness
compare/contrast to other oil lamps
whale oil industry
sperm whales killed in great quantity
pacific ocean focused
pass out of fashion/sustainability
and from there, we drew up slides and worked up some visuals...i've put together a demonstration slide that looks like this...
and here's the whiteboard in the room with some of our scribbles on it...
not bad for less than an hour's brainstorm.
the idea of infilling, central to today's (wet + rainy) class, informed our discussion in hss105. as we de-constructed the landscape along mendenhall street, students had the opportunity to use sanborn fire insurance maps to see changes along the thoroughfare in the early twentieth century. here are a couple of images from the handout.
as suggested within the handout, students thought about architectural style, their previous travels along tate street, and some additional ideas about the changing face of the neighborhood over the decades as buildings were built, some demolished, and new ones infilled.
16 September 2009
and here are the students using the forms along tate street...
12 September 2009
as we finished visiting the campus today in hss105, we headed from the monolithic, modern library tower to the quad, peabody park, the business building, along spring garden to the moore humanities and research administration building, concluding our brisk walk + talk at the gatewood building. students took a CLOSE look at the library tower in this next image...
11 September 2009
04 September 2009
among the most significant edges on campus, the rail line on the south side of the "mini-city" clearly distinguishes us from the properties that face lee street. we were lucky enough that a train came rumbling by to reinforce the sense that sometimes noise is an indicator of where edges and stacks lie, according to clay's terminology. i have to say some of my most favorite moments on campus lie at its edges.
02 September 2009
september 1st brought the realization that school REALLY is underway! in hss105, we walked from the east edge of campus (tate street) to the north side of campus (market street), taking in the architecture along the way and speculating about meanings hidden and not-so-hidden in buildings. following grady clay's method for looking at the city, the students in class searched for fixes, district, fronts, strips, and beats. on thursday, they'll attempt to synthesize all of the efforts at analysis for the uncg campus. you can follow their efforts through the semester by the series of links on the right hand side of the blog. my initial foray is contained here, a page from my sketchbook.
one of the most obvious things about our walk was to understand the center of campus (as it happens...where walker avenue WOULD have crossed college avenue)....a spot between the library and the newer wing of the stone building, marked by the two porticoes of these buildings facing each other across the campus lawn. the specific spot is marked by a circle on college avenue. lots of alignment there....
on the periphery, students saw the "edges" of campus (what clay calls fronts)...and their advancement into the residential college hill neighborhood to the east. on thursday, we continue our exploration of edges....