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61 articles

Undone by the dome.

Strolling through the town of Bowman, North Dakota last summer (which is how one gets around if one finds oneself in Bowman…obviously), I came across a pretty slick looking geodesic dome home. We see these from time to time. After all, they were quite the fad for a few years, peaking around 1970. While I

In Mt. Adams, residential infill gets the old spit ‘n shine.

Residential infill development can—and often does—fail to integrate architecturally with the neighborhood that surrounds it. And that’s okay. Far more important than adherence to a certain vernacular is the physical form of the house. When looking at the front of the home square-on, does the layout emphasize a front door, a porch, a garage, or

Highest and best may not be tall, but it’s still higher and better.

Urban neighborhoods have been changing considerably over the last decade, and, in many locations, income levels have risen steadily. When we hear about gentrification, the coverage often reaches us through a few recurrent tropes: data-driven accounts of demographic and socioeconomic change; journalistic interviews of individuals who have either left or feel threatened by the rising

Another defunct college campus, cleft in two.

If I call this article my third installment in a trilogy on abandoned campuses, I guess that implies that I’m done with the subject for a while. And I am. But after exploring old campuses in small cities (or perhaps “big towns” is the better term) in Nebraska and South Dakota, it’s time to take a

MONTAGE: An abandoned building is bad enough. But what about an abandoned campus?

It’s been a long time since I’ve shared a mostly photo-driven blog article, and I can’t think of a richer array from recent years than that of Dana College, a private educational institution founded in Blair, Nebraska. Originally affiliated with the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Association (the denomination and nationality of the original pioneer founders), various

Sweeping the street, cleaning the corner.

In an otherwise flourishing neighborhood in Jersey City, we encounter what might seem like a bit of a surprise.Boarded-up windows? Looks like blight. But notice that port-a-john in the lower right corner.Something’s getting fixed back up. As can be expected among any structure within a mile of this site, demand has only accelerated in recent

If a tree grows in Brooklyn, then Queens can claim an entire garden.

When a settlement grows suddenly and rapidly, it’s common for the new development to completely overwhelm everything that preceded it: not just for the older settlement to get engulfed in the new, but for it to disappear completely. It’s happening all over the fast-growing areas of the American southwest, particularly states like Texas, where formerly rural

Tearing down southern California’s tribute to a bygone era (circa 1950).  

Photography courtesy of Linda Shaffer. Americans have never really valued housing for its permanence—certainly not like we see in many other, older settled lands, where it is common to find private residences that predate our little Declaration of Independence. It baffles most Europeans that a structure in the US can qualify for listing in the

Teardowns: more than just an antidote to architectural monotony.

I recently featured a photomontage of teardowns and realized that, as powerfully as the images can speak, I’ve hardly plumbed the depths of this rich subject. Many other visuals await. In the weeks ahead, I’ll reveal my first blog post from a U.S. state I have not yet featured (and haven’t visited for almost twenty years),

Undone by the dome.

Strolling through the town of Bowman, North Dakota last summer (which is how one gets around if one finds oneself in Bowman…obviously), I came across a pretty slick looking geodesic dome home. We

In Mt. Adams, residential infill gets the old spit ‘n shine.

Residential infill development can—and often does—fail to integrate architecturally with the neighborhood that surrounds it. And that’s okay. Far more important than adherence to a certain vernacular is the physical form of the

Another defunct college campus, cleft in two.

If I call this article my third installment in a trilogy on abandoned campuses, I guess that implies that I’m done with the subject for a while. And I am. But after exploring

Sweeping the street, cleaning the corner.

In an otherwise flourishing neighborhood in Jersey City, we encounter what might seem like a bit of a surprise.Boarded-up windows? Looks like blight. But notice that port-a-john in the lower right corner.Something’s getting