Monday, February 23, 2009

The Churning American Landscape

As much as we don't like it, the American built landscape churns. Two recent Plain Dealer stories tell two tales of demolition or impending demolition. One talks about the dismantling of the Catholic presence in Cleveland's urban neighborhoods, the other talks about a developer wanting to demolish a piece of agrarian history embedded within the suburban millieu of Twinsburg and Solon.

As an architect, BOTC wants these buildings to remain. The Church of Saint Andrew and the Corbett Farm House are landmarks, monuments, and touchstones of everyday life and generational histories. The architectures remind us a former times, speak to another era of society, remind us of the skill of craftsmen, and the humble skills of designers long passed. Thes buildings can survive us and should survive us--yet, again, because of the flux of the American landscape they will be demolished and their remains strewn about many landfills.

The demolition reminds BOTC of a Son Volt song, written by the ascetic Jay Farrar:

"Way Down Watson"

PUT WHISKEY ON THE WOUNDS
SALT THE GLASS AND SAY GOODBYE

NO FEEL-GOOD SCENES TO BRING IT BACK
JUST FALLEN BRICK AND BROKEN GLASS

WRECKING BALL OPERATOR
TWENTY YEARS PULLING THE LEVER
THESE WINDOWS SHIELD THE COLD FROM THE WEATHER OF MY SOUL

FEEL THE HEART STRINGS SINKING FAST
ANOTHER TREASURE FOUND ANOTHER TUMBLING DOWN

I PROTECT MY EARS AND EYES FROM THE DUST AND NOISE
WORD COMES DOWN TO THE BITTER END THE DIESEL HUMS THE CYCLE SPINS

WHEN WE MEET ON THAT HARD HAT GROUND
JUST A PHOTOGRAPH NO ONE ELSE AROUND

WORDS TO LIVE BY IT JUST GOES TO SHOW
SOMEDAY WE ALL GOTTA GO

FEEL THE HEART STRINGS SINKING FAST
ANOTHER TREASURE FOUND ANOTHER TUMBLING DOWN

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