Sunday, July 17, 2011

BALTIMORE Streetscapes

We set out for Baltimore to find architectural essences in its streetscapes. I had not been to Baltimore in about 15 years and took in a good dose of nostalgia for a city I never really knew but served as a symbol of urbanity as I was just beginning to think about cities and buildings. Baltimore, the CITY in my youth, where we'd go on a Saturday night, drive in from the county and lock the car doors as soon as we glided off the highway into downtown, usually finding our way to Fell's Point to listen to a friend's band play at a waterfront restaurant and feel the nightlife energy walking the old streets layered with history and spilled beer. 
I had an informed list of neighborhoods to see: Bolton Hill, Hampden, Little Italy.  After scouting these vital neighborhoods, I left with the first image I encountered as the highway route first shuttled us through downtown: 400 Block Baltimore Street, the strip club district, a.k.a. "The Block." I'm intrigued by the juxtaposition of the architecture of commercial classicism, emblematic of a thriving American city at the turn of the century, now hi-jacked by low-rent convenience stores, fast food, and strip joints. Business up top, Party down below.  I will draw these buildings in their wealth or ornament, seemingly well-preserved on the upper floors, exterior, and blur the street level going-on. I'm also intrigued about the potential for dialogue about preservation and urban economies by capturing this moment in the history of this Block.

1 comment:

Deanna said...

Talk about juxtaposition and irony. What a waste for those beautiful buildings!