Heavy traffic isn’t restricted to city centers! This summer, Canton’s bridge over the Grasse river is being repaired, cutting it from four lanes to two. Around 8:00, 12:00, and 4:00, traffic backs up for half a mile down Main Street. (But I’d rather the traffic than skipping the bridge repairs…)
Photographing landscapes and structures (and being the son of civil engineers), I’ve become a bit of an architecture fanboy. The trend towards building with shipping containers, whether a do-it-yourself effort or a pre-fab corporate approach, seems particularly exciting. This weekend, I encountered this in-construction house built from three forty-foot intermodal containers. The owners added sloped roof, a permanent foundation, and windows and doors outside, but they liked the shipping container aesthetic and plan to keep all of the original paint and labeling outside. I find that look charmingly authentic.
Inside, however, there’s little hint of the structure’s more exotic origins. Though, like the exterior, the interior is still under construction, there’s a straightforward home inside the three long shipping containers worth of space.
Moving your belongings in and out of a house is hard enough on a normal street, I can hardly imagine what it’s like to navigate the narrow Elfreth’s alley, America’s oldest residential street.
Portland’s Pearl District is colonized by construction like some sort of reverse-termites; shiny new buildings add to the skyline each day. As impressive as the reflections and the bridges and the gorgeous dawn sky is, I rather love the image of the man reading the paper in the bottom-right corner of the image. He’s literally on the edge of this dramatic image, but so thoroughly unfazed. Reading the paper and eating cereal has to happen sometime!
In preparation for my upcoming travels to the West Coast next month, I was looking back at the images of Portland, Oregon’s Pearl District. It seems representative of some of the common features of West Coast cities: newer architecture that incorporates a mixture of scales (human vs. superhuman), modern interpretations of some more traditional forms (like the bridge, which resembles a traditional Japanese zig-zag bridge), and a generally utopian, “city of the future!” vibe.
Perhaps no scene better emphasized the sometimes-contradictory nature of a growing city than this one: a yoga class in a sunny park on a summer afternoon, across the street from a shadowed construction site. Juxtapositions are rarely so literal.