I caught wind of these competing, brightly contrasting layers of graffiti on a side street during my last visit to Indianapolis. A rainbow of vandalism, so it seems. Sure, it sort of looks like tagging, but is it really fooling anybody? The barely discernible reflection should indicate that these tags are behind a pane of
By this point, after two years of intermittent lockdowns and the ensuing impacts on businesses, we can all see it with our own eyes: retail is fickle. I’ve written about this more times than I can count, since the very onset of this blog, waaaaay back when the biggest issue I could see was that
Party walls in college towns: campus culture can shift building form, punching holes or tearing them down.
I haven’t contemplated on party walls in quite some time, but it used to be a subject that vexed me. It’s a tricky one, because there’s no universally understood term for what I’m describing here, which makes it harder to pin down. Is there a better label than “party wall”? Simply put, the old commercial
Even as a child, I can recall the family trips down to Florida or South Carolina, witnessing all those high-rise apartment and condo buildings, each one of which had its own balcony. Sometimes two. And I remember noticing how there never seemed to be anyone out using them. Needless to say, I didn’t understand real
Many years ago, on this blog, I postulated that, in vibrant downtown areas with lots of small, family-run businesses, an aging, outdated exterior sign might actually be a selling point. Even if the paint is a little chipped or the letters a bit rusty—a tiny bit (not too much!)—a visibly old sign is a tacit
In these economically fraught times, it’s not always easy to find an urbanized restaurant/retail district where one can comfortably kick back a burger and a brew and feel safe, either from crime, civil unrest, or inconsistent enforcement of COVID precautions (depending on what you perceive is the greatest threat). In 2021, the suburbs of large
Eisenhower Valley and the Victory Center: in an otherwise prosperous area, a vacant office building finds a new lease. Or two.
If the name “ Eisenhower Valley ” in Alexandria, Virginia sounds silly to you, you’re not the only one. Why would a natural feature in one of the nation’s original thirteen colonies share a name with a man whose presidency ended in 1961? Was there a little known colonial Eisenhower family who bumped shoulders with
Mixed-use town center as the new “organic” downtown: how distinct can they be if they become as commonplace as malls?
The mixed-use town center is a novelty across much of the county. A metropolitan area of one million people is unlikely to have more than one or two of these newfangled nodes, which typically combine housing, retail, offices, hotels, garage parking, and maybe even an institutional use like a school, a library, or a municipal
I’m not sure what it is, but something about the downtown to the unincorporated Washington DC suburb of Sliver Spring, Maryland seems have spawned a number of unusual urban forms: acute angles, bizarre protrusions, and neglected little corners. I’ve written about this once before: how a building’s orientation and street frontage created a little storefront
In April of 1967, the City of Montreal unveiled an unprecedented architectural showpiece, attendant to hosting the International and Universal Exposition, an event that most people referred by its catchier abbreviation “Expo 67”. This spectacular feat in construction owes a great deal to tradition. Starting with the the World’s Columbian Exposition (the Chicago World’s