Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Suggested Listening: 99% Invisible

I may be a little late to the game on this one, as I heard about the show through an always great RadioLab podcast short, but this is quickly becoming one of my favorite podcasts. (and I have a lot of favorite podcasts) As The Memory Palace is to history, and RadioLab is to science, so 99% Invisible is to the world of architecture and design. The San Francisco-based public radio podcast takes brief, well made looks at the more interesting phenomena of architecture ranging from acoustics to the Transamerica Pyramid. Definitely worth a listen.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Autumn Mural Construction - January 12, 2012

Third floor walls are up, and even some sheathing, leaving just the roof left to be framed.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Autumn Mural Construction - January 11, 2012

Third floor deck in... The third floor and roof could well be up before the rain starts tonight. From the east side, there's still some to be seen. I wonder how much will remain once construction is complete.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Goodbye, Mt. Olive AME

A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at the changes on my block over the last 55 years. One of the biggest and saddest changes was the renovation of the former Mt. Olive Church, which was stripped of most of its detail and appeal during a renovation at some point in those 55 years. In that post I wrote, "The really unfortunate fact is that this past renovation has likely sealed the fate of this church, which will probably see the wrecking ball in the next few years, as have many of the other churches in the neighborhood. Given that this one has been so badly compromised already, it's unlikely that many will come to its defense."

Here's the before and after picture, from March of 1954 and this December...

I hate to say I told you so, but an item on the January SOSNA zoning meeting agenda indicates that my prediction of the church's imminent demise will be borne out. To wit, "727 South 19th Street (former Mt. Olive AME Church): Demolition of existing church and erection of 5 single-family homes with rear-access parking thru a common driveway." Demolition and conversion to rowhouses is the same fate that befell two other nearby churches, Varick Memorial at 19th & Catharine and Metropolitan AME at 20th & Fitzwater. Both of those churches came to be similarly comprised architecturally towards the end of their lives. 

Despite the likely destruction of Mt. Olive, a process begun with that renovation some time ago, there is still hope for the survival of some of the other majestic churches in the neighborhood. On that same agenda, another church item appears, this one indicating a better fate for another church, "2319-27 Fitzwater Street (Greater St. Matthews) INFORMATIONAL:  Presentation about the renovation of existing church and rectory to be apartments."

Autumn Mural Construction - January 10, 2012

Second floor framing is up.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Construction on the 1800 Block of South Street

These places are flying up on the 1800 block of South. The two single family houses facing Kater are already framed up, and the foundations for two multi-family buildings fronting on South Street were going in today. Given that one owner had all four lots being developed, it's too bad that something more adventurous didn't end up here, like a large floor-through commercial space with condos above, or a condo building like the one currently going up on the 1200 block of Bainbridge, which puts something like twelve units on a similarly-sized block.

The four buildings that we'll be getting are the conservative play here, and I'm sure the developer will do fine. While I might have done something a little less conventional, it's still good to see another four vacant lots disappear from the neighborhood.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Autumn Mural Construction - January 6, 2012

This morning the concrete was all set and the materials were on-site for the first floor deck. I can't imagine that the mural will be visible by February. Sad to see it go, but happy to add a home and family to the city, and lose a few surface parking spots on an empty lot. This mural did its job well.