Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Re-purpose: Re-use

I would replace the old industrial buildings that are no longer in use with a big park. This park would be aimed toward the college students but would not be excluding families or other friendly people in the community. Aside from the small playground area on the corner of Springdale Ct and Spring Garden St, there are no parks (that I have seen at least). The park would have green recreation fields that could be used for sun bathing, a leisure game of catch, or a somewhat organized game of kickball. A trail around the open area would be nice, and maybe some benches too. The park would be a space where students could go to read in the sun, instead of putting a blanket out next to College Ave and trying to read there as everyone passes.
I think there needs to be a Wal-Mart put in the old industrial area. Maybe I am spoiled and used to the small town life, but I only had to drive 5 minutes to get to Wal-Mart at home. I thought coming to a bigger city everything would be closer, but Wal- Mart is much farther away. In my adventures off campus I have not seen any big stores where you buy your basic needs. With UNCG, Greensboro College, NC A&T, and Bennett College all in the same area there are many people who would benefit from a closer Wal-Mart. If I need something and I cannot find it, or the right kind of it on campus I have to find a friend who has a car here who has the time and is willing to drive me fifteen minutes to get to the cheapest, most of the time easiest place to find any item, Wal-Mart. I assume I could ride a bus, but I have not figured out the GTA, and would not want to try to on my own.
Along the same lines as Wal-Mart, I think a big grocery store would be beneficial to the area. The same reasons apply here as with the Wal-Mart: lack of one close by, proximity to students, and convenience for community as a whole.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Side Streets & Back Alleys

A side street is defined on as a street leading away from a main street; an unimportant street or one carrying but little traffic. An alley is a a passage, as through a continuous row of houses, permitting access from the street to backyards, garages, etc.
Both of these items can be compared to a stack. When I think of an alley, I think of a dark scary place with criminals (outcasts of society, kind of) lurking in every shadow. This may not be an accurate conception, but an alley is a place for hiding things that no one wants to see or have seen. Alleys are home to secondary buildings used for storage, and used to be outhouses. As we walked along the alleys, we passed many trashcans and every spare inch of ground filled with gravel and used for parking. Along the alley ways we came upon sewer vents that are not found on side or main streets, which makes another point for the stack comparison. When you are walking along an alley, most of the time you feel somewhat confined because of the fences residents put up, creating a front between their land and the access way. The fences represent their turf as well.
Side streets can be thought of in the same negative light if in a certain context, but my first thoughts when I hear the words 'side street' are of suburbs and children playing in the streets of their neighborhoods. Side streets are connectors; they connect one street to another, and one family to another. Without side streets where would parents teach their children to learn how to ride a bike? and where would those kids then practice after taught? If you think about it, side streets can be an escape from the busy world. When someone is on a big road that only serves the purpose of transporting traffic from one side of town to the other all they are focused on is getting where they are going. When you turn off of that very street onto one of its side streets you are immediately absorbed into a slower pace and calmer atmosphere. The scenery changes from shrubbery and directional signs to houses and garages. Side streets can be considered beats, but I do not think of them as hectic interchanges.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

College Hill Mendenhall St.

This is the oldest building on the block. Located on the corner of W Market St and Mendenhall St. All the land in this area was farmland before filled in with colleges, universities, and houses. This is the original farm house.
On the other end of Mendenhall, we began to see houses with fences around the front yards. I would infere from this that the part of the neighborhood we were in was not the safest, or most neighborly place to be at one point. Maybe I am far off base, and many of the families had dogs who wanted to roam freely in their front yards.
This is one of the houses we looked at. The wrap around porch tells me the family values quality time and the outdoors.
One of the older buildings on the block, this one is in the process of being remodeled and is beautiful. The copper trim and roof make the structure stand out and shine. For the most part the building is symmetrical, showing the value of balance to the architect.
One of the apartment buildings in the neighborhood, all of which are brick. The building pictured above is one of a twin, the other across the street. Houses were torn down and replaced with apartments, showing the value of the location is more important than family homes.
A barn shape roof shingle style was popular in the northeast in the mid 1800s. The builder was from Connecticut and built the house in 1859.
Second oldest building in the neighborhood. This house is farther back off of the street, and was modeled from the Italian style in the pink farm house on the corner.
A bungalo in the middle of the neighborhood. One of the newer structures around, the materials used are mostly natural materials.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

College Hill Tate St.

This week we are observing College Hill, the neighborhood to the east of campus. The plan was to go down Tate St to Market St, and then come back down Mendenhall St, but I guess we were slower than Patrick anticipated and only got down Tate St leaving Mendenhall St for tomorrow. The houses found were not very diverse, most looking similar to the one pictured to the left (although very few had shutters). Most were two stories with front porches shaded by tall trees. Wooden siding is the most common material used on the houses on College Hill. I think this says something about the time period when the houses were built; the materials that were available and affordable were used. The first block we walked through had houses with multiple mailboxes, and doorbells, and some with multiple front doors. The second block had similar structures, but more single mailboxes and fewer beer bottles on the porches. The third block was back to looking like there were multiple occupants in the houses, but no evidence of partying. The third block had fewer homes because of an empty field and recreational center on Greensboro College's campus. More houses on the second block did not have driveways. I would assume this is because if only one family lives there instead of five college students, fewer cars are needed. We did come across a few apartment buildings on the second block, and I did not see any parking lots to go with them. Another irregular building in this context was a Baptist Church on the last corner of the first block. The church was made of brick which made it stand out on another level too.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The MHRA Building

The MHRA Building, which stands for Moore Humanities & Research Administration, is located on Spring Garden St just past Yum Yum and the Old Towne Tavern. This building was built in the last three years and is beautiful. Especially in comparison to the Bryan Building, this space is much more simple. Housed in this building are classrooms, conference rooms, offices, and administrative offices. The wide array of purposes brings in a wide array of people, showing a new value of having different generations and scholars in one building. The building is bright, and well lit, with a big entrance way that flows inward, making people want to look around. The walls seen in the picture are made of stone, giving the building a trendy, green feel. The ceilings being white lifts the feeling of the area, making the space seem more grand. The layout is very simple. On the first floor you come in and you have the choice of going down the little hall seen in the picture, a longer hall, that is straight as well, or going up stairs; simple. That in itself is a value, simplicity. Clean-cut, easy to maneuver around, well lit, and basic beauty; I cannot think of more I could want from a building.

The Bryan Building

The Bryan Building is the home of the School of Business and Economics. This building is not easy to navigate, and I don't think it is because of add-ons and what not, I think it was built this way. The building was built in the 1960s, and so is similar in appearance to the Eberhart Building. I have not been in the Eberhart Building yet, but I would say it is a safe guess that it is not as confusing. The Bryan building is shaped somewhat like the letter C, zig-zagging its way around in a way that keeps you from being oriented. I am not sure what values the designer was trying to convey; business students need to practice finding their way around and traversing confusing situations? No center is present in this structure; I hear there is a food court, but have not found it yet... The presence of a food court would show a value of the students in the Bryan school. Long hours and hard work make for a hungry person, and I guess the Caf is too far of a walk for such busy people. There is a courtyard in the middle of the C that could continue that same value of working long hours. The students working towards their majors, must need everything of necessity in closer proximity.
I chose this picture because I only ended up with one good picture of the front of the building, and conveniently part of the class is in it. The teacher, Patrick, is seen waving in the middle.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Quad

The Quad is a rectangular space of campus defined by eight residence halls, forming somewhat of a neighborhood. The buildings all face inward and have connecting side walks that criss-cross through the space. These buildings are all the same form, all three stories, and not too big. Take the Quad out of its environment and it is still more like a community when compared to the high rises in appearance. Many tall trees live around the buildings within the rectangle creating more of an enclosed feeling; a community is formed. The values of this elite area are seen in the big lawn in the center of the space for recreational purposes, the big porches on all buildings for socializing, and the decorations on the sidewalks. The Quad is known for being home to the fraternity and sorority groups on campus, which is seen in the art on the concrete sidewalks, and around the cigarette buds covering the ground next to the benches. Not all people who live in the Quad are a member of a fraternity or sorority organization, but that is the reputation of the Quad. The location of the Quad on campus shows the balanced value of academics and athletics. From the east side of the Quad you can see the tennis courts, the gym buildings, the soccer field, and the 'golf course'. From the west side, you can see the library, the Caf, the EUC, the Bryan building, and a few other academic buildings in the background.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

EUC, Jackson, and The Caf

As we returned from the long Labor Day weekend, we regrouped and started at the clock tower on the corner of College Ave and Spring Garden St. The focus of Tuesday's outing was centers, and we looked at the Elliot University Center, the Jackson Library, and the Caf for examples. We began on the southeast side by the water element and the sitting area. I learned about how the EUC was first built in the 1920s, and was touched up about every ten years. A major revamping occurred in 2000 that changed the appearance of most of the building and added a lot of new space. The auditorium was added at this time, along with the passage way between the EUC and the library, and many other things.
As I said, we focused mainly on centers. All three of the buildings follow the theme of circles found around campus, and most of those circles were centers. In the EUC there is the drum at the entrance between the bookstore and food court. I had never taken the time to really notice the detail in the entrance drum. The lines up the walls, the white portions around the windows that make a pattern, and the blue light on the ceiling. Many people travel through this area, and it is along the axis of the space. At the other end of the hall, the axis, is the circular staircase, another center. The stairs connect the floors, the back entrance to the main floor, and so on. This stairway is also a center in the idea of balance.
We then experienced the recent addition of the hallway leading to the library. Once in the library we were told to find the center of the library and stand on it. I stopped under the artwork at the crossing of the main passageway through the meat of the library and the entrance from the EUC. There was art hanging over that spot and the only sky light in the building. I then thought that was too easy, so I explored farther down, and decided on a more central location from the physical aspect. We were never told where the center was; I don't think there is just one that is correct. I have decided to choose the first place I stopped as the center. As a class we went onto the front porch to that circular area and discussed the possibility of a center there, but left inconclusive.
We moved on to the building The Caf is in. We never actually entered the dinning area, but focused more on the complicated layout and lobby area outside of the Spartan Market and Mail Center. The center of this building is the staircase up to the dinning area. Many beats are present in this structure. I have already mentioned the Mail Center and the Spartan Market, and the Caf itself. The building is centrally located on campus, therefore it is also a good place to meet up with friends.
I chose a picture of the front of Jackson Library to show one of the possible centers. Another drum of sorts is represented, and the columns that can be found around campus are seen here too.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


This is my turf. I live in the Cone high rise, and therefore am given access to the building. For any person not living in the building, the task of getting in is more difficult than simply opening the door. I have a FOB that lets me into the building and onto the elevator, or into the stairwells. Without a FOB or key allowing you into the building, you should feel out of place and unwelcome unless escorted by someone who does live in the dorm. In the picture the name of the dorm is written on the windows and the wall just above the security system; the black box on the right side of the picture.

A Vantage

You are looking at a picture of the intersection of McIver and Carr St. I took the picture from the top of the McIver parking deck. The parking deck is the vantage point, and this is what you see from the 'vantage point'. I thought the night time shot was interesting with the lights on in the buildings and along the walkways.

A Stack

This picture represents a stack because you can see the power lines, and the smoke stack, and, if you look closely in the bottom left hand corner, the railroad fence. All of these items have been pushed over to the south side of campus along Oakland St. All items are eyesores, and the railroad is loud, so they were stacked on this little bit of campus. Also along Oakland is the water tower, another eyesore.

A Fix

The Elliot University Center is a fix. A focus point on campus that holds the answers to many questions and problems. This building is the equivalent of a student union and a building that houses books, clothes, food, coffee, a convenience store and all that it has to offer, an auditorium, a ball room, a meditation room, the multicultural center; you can come to this building for just about anything. The central location of the structure on campus also helps draw you to it.

A Beat

An example of a beat on campus is the corner of College Ave and Spring Garden St. This intersection is frequented by most students who have class on Spring Garden or on the other side of Spring Garden. Not only do many students, and faculty, walk through the intersection, but there is usually a good amount of traffic on Spring Garden St.

The Railroad Tracks

Remove Formatting from selectionOur next adventure began at the base of the smoke stack on the south side of campus. The part of campus on that side of Spring Garden St is an addition from the original boundaries of campus even though the smokestack dates back to before the 1920s. The building fits in with the buildings on campus with the continued theme of arched windows, a brick medium, and the impression that it sits above the landscape. Not on a hill, the building seems to be elevated by the lighter stone the first floor is made of. The location, at first does not make sense because it is so far away from everything on campus today even, but after some thought, the light bulb went off. The train delivers the coal to the smokestack building, so why wouldn't it be as close to the tracks as possible? I would have never made that connection on my own. In Boone, my home town, the only train we have is Tweetsie Railroad, a small amusement park based off of the old railroad system. The train runs around a mountain top carrying families, stopping occasionally to see some cowboy and Indian interactions. We actually got to see the train go by, which was exciting to me, but not everyone. As the conversation was lead back to our reading, and applying the terms we have been studying, I had a hard time making the connection that this was the campus' sink. The noise from the train makes the area not appealing for residence or classrooms or anyone having to spend too much time nearby. As a result, the campus leaders had the good idea to put everything else no one wants to see in the same area; those items include the radio tower, the water tower, and the only above ground power lines on campus. Our adventure that day gave us examples of a sink, a strip, a front, and an edge. What a day!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Campus Map

After our first week out in "the field" we have an assignent to go along with the reading we have been doing outside of class. We have now completed, from beginning to end, 'Close-Up: How to Read an American City' by Grady Clay. The assignment is to take a map of the campus and label topics discussed in the text, including fix, epitome, front, strips, beats, stacks, sinks, turf, and vantage. Above is the product of this assignment. Located to the left of the map is the key; labeled are a few examples on campus.
I began with a fix, the Elliot University Center. This building is an example because it is a focus point on campus. Centrally located, with much to offer, the facility is a textbook example of a fix.
The next term I focused on was epitome, which is a place where history is resembled in a symbolic way. My example of this on campus was the Manerva Statue. She represents the past and the pride of our university.
After epitome, I searched for a front on campus. A front is comparable to a frontier. Since there is no longer a western frontier, we now look to the city boundaries with the country, and situations of those sorts. I chose the front of Foust Hall as my front on campus. As discussed last week, Foust is a long building in front to give a strong appearance as you look into campus from Spring Garden St.
Tate St. is the location I used to show a strip. Not really the whole street even, just the portion near the Brown Building where Adam's University Bookstore, Subway, Sisters, and Jimmy Johns are located. The presence of those stores is what makes that part of Tate St. a strip.
A beat is a place frequented by the population. Many beats can be found on campus, but the one I chose to discuss is College Ave, specifically at the back entrance to the Caf, in front of the Jackson Library, and behind the Elliot University Center. These are centrally located amongst buildings and areas students and staff must visit to successfully live on campus.
After beats, I looked for stacks. A stack is a place where things get piled up, and are not pleasing to the eye, but no one really notices them anymore. I chose the multiple construction sites at school right now. Clay references bulldozers sniffing around which led me to this conclusion. Another place that could be considered a stack is the water tower, if you interpret the definition differently.
I had a more difficult time finding a place to represent a sink. A sink is a place where unwanted things or people are put; where would that be on campus? After some discussion and assistance in class, the group discovered the railroad tracks along Oakland St which provide a noisy place no one would want to spend an extended amount of time. This is where the smokestack, water tower, radio tower, and above ground power lines are located, all things that can be considered eye sores.
The term turf is used by Clay the same way I have used the word all my life; set areas where people are somewhat territorial. The best example of this I could find that was definite were the dorms and residence halls. To enter these buildings you must have a fob along with the key. The residence inside the building all recognize each other, and if you are not a visitor with someone specifically, you are not wanted. That is a territory.
Finally, I came to the word vantage. A vantage is another word found in everyday language, generally used in the same context. This is a point from which you can look out and see everything. These kinds of places are found on campus in parking decks and at the ends of College Ave. The parking decks have elevated columns with big windows, where you can see a lot of campus. When you are standing at either end of College Ave you can see all the way to the other end. Even though you may not be able to see all the buildings along College Ave at once, you know they are there, and that as you move along the walkway you can see them.
This assignment brought all the reading I have done in the last week and a half for this class fully come together. I found it very helpful to apply Grady Clay's concepts in our own little community on the grounds of UNCG.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Around Campus

Tuesday's adventure was to begin at the corner of Walker Ave and Tate St; my adventure began before that. I woke up Tuesday morning, not exactly sure where I was going, but confident I would find my way no problem. I got up, got ready, went to breakfast with my map in hand and made out my route to the corner of Market St and Tate St. I saw that I had somewhat of a long walk infront of me, so I allowed 20 minutes for me to walk to the corner of campus. Market St is on the corner of campus, but Walker Ave is not. I traipsed around back and forth pulling out my map, then broke down and called my roommate who gave me the university phone number to call. The gentleman who answered was helpful and did not make fun of me; I was appreciative. I finally arrive at the correct intersection just in time for Patrick to come down the sidewalk and begin class. Phew. With that crisis over it was time to start taking some pictures and learn a little.
The first building we discussed was the Brown Building. Facing Tate St, this building, similar to Foust, looks out into the city of Greensboro with a beautiful presence. The front of the building is decorated with a porch supported by six columns, and big lanterns hanging from to roof. Once the music building, the names of composers are carved into stones banding around the building. Also carved into lighter stone on the bottom right hand side of the front is the year the building was erected: 1924. The building was named after Wade R. Brown who played a key role in the school of music, and later became dean.
After discussing the Brown Building we moved up Walker Ave to the intersection of McIver walkway. Surrounding this intersection is the Stone Building, the McIver Building, and the Eberhart Building. The Stone Building addition is what blocked Walker Ave from being a through street for cars; Walker Ave continues on the other side of Jackson Library. Architecture from the twenties and sixties is evident in these three buildings, most interestingly contrasted in Stone where the addition does not match the original. Eberhart and McIver were built in the sixties. Buildings from this time are more geometrical and simple. The older part of the Stone Building was built in the twenties, which can be assumed because of the resemblance it has to the Brown Building, with a box shape and columns with detail around the gutters. Also seen in this region is the kiln behind the McIver building, allowing us to figure out that it used to be the art building.
As we continued to walk and talk down the McIver walkway, we came upon a brick house. Patrick had to point it out, or else I would not have noticed it even though it looks out of place. We were asked as a group to think about what this building could have been used for. With a little guidance, we decided the building was built in the twenties, when UNCG was still a women's college. We took a few guesses that were pretty close, and then Patrick filled in the missing holes for us. The house was there as somewhat of a "playing house" kind of assignment. The women would take a home economics class and then put the skills learned into action at this site. Now the building serves as office space.
Across the path from 320 McIver St is the Patricia Sullivan Science Building. This building was opened in 2005, and recently named after the late chancellor who retired last year. As we walked past the Sullivan Building I mainly learned about how buildings are named here on campus. When the building is opened the name it is given is sort of the genre of the building. Until the Chancellor retired the Sullivan building was called "The Science Building". The people who name buildings on campus named the science building after Chancellor Sullivan because she was a big part of the construction and improvement to that part of campus.
So, we keep walking, and pass the McIver parking deck and recognize it as a vantage point on campus. We keep walking to the Music Building, which is still called "The Music Building" for the time being. This is a newer building, with an evident theme of circles. We stood outside and talked about a few of the terms discussed in our reading by Grady Clay shown in this building. We could see from outside where beats were. Then we went inside and admired the techniques the designers used in planning the building. There were themes of banding along the main, long hallway next to the music library, but the theme was not continued on the ceiling. We looked at the spaces inside and the purposes they served. The auditorium already in use and it's entrance way were big and elegant, and we saw the site for the new auditorium they are planning to build in the near future.
Once we walked through, we came out on the other side, facing College Ave. I had not yet been down to the bridge even though it is right beside my dorm. The setting is serene; as you walk across the bridge you are surrounded by trees with a little stream running under you. I enjoyed that short, simple part of the walk more than any other space on campus so far.
We finished up the class in the middle of College Ave in front of Jackson Library, and were told to meet at the smokestack on Thursday for our next class.