Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The medieval Hereford mapa mundi

Two details from the Hereford Mapa Mundi. Screen shots from my computer

The SXIV medieval Hereford,  is the largest intact mapa mundi that is not comprehensible as a modern map, because it is the representation of the Medieval view of the world, with its architecture, history, monsters, animals. It pictures the human knowledge in only one piece of art.
Though the unconventional orientation has been to east, when it is turned around, some geographies are recognizable, like Italy, the Northern of Africa, Greece.
The Victorians considered this map a monstrosity, because it has an ancient characteristic called ¨augmentation:¨  the horror vacui of the first cartographers made them fill the ¨map¨ with all kind of figures -from the real or mythological world-, even with non existing rivers, mountains.
Watch this video to learn more about the Hereford map:

As a bonus:
A Babylonian world map, known as the Imago Mundi, is commonly dated to the 6th century BCE. The map as reconstructed by Eckhard Unger shows Babylon on the Euphrates, surrounded by a circular landmass showing AssyriaUrartu and several cities, in turn surrounded by a "bitter river" (Oceanus), with seven islands arranged around it so as to form a seven-pointed star. The accompanying text mentions seven outer regions beyond the encircling ocean.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Detroit through Dave Jordano's pictures

I've never been in Detroit, but at least have seen lots of photographs on line. The most captivating for me are those of abandoned houses.
I'm sharing these selections of pictures by photographer Dave Jordano, a former Detroit citizen. The following is an excerpt from

In the past 40 years, the number of people living in the city of Detroit has halved. This has led many to write it off — in many ways, wrongly — as a decrepit ghost town. Unbroken Down is a photo project that counters the images of abandoned buildings with personal, vibrant shots of everyday life in Detroit.
Photographer Dave Jordano – fresh out of college after being born and raised in the Motor City – was part of the exodus when he headed for Chicago to start a commercial photography studio in the late ’70s. Jordano’s father worked for General Motors and joked that motor oil ran in the family’s veins. Three years ago, Jordano returned to Detroit and began photographing the neighborhoods, people, vistas and communities of his hometown. His resulting body of work is an endearing and sprawling document of a city close to his heart.
“This is the most emotional work I’ve made,” he says. “I don’t get tired and I just keep wanting to go back. I find more and more material every time I go.”
Unbroken Down is also an attempt to set the photographic record straight. Jordano believes that Detroit is more than a tale of decline and images of the associated urban decay. Yet, a lot of celebrated photography projects made in Detroit recently have focused on ruination as if the apocalypse passed through and kept going.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The ¨intelligent¨ sidewalks in Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema sidewalk. From
Rio de Janeiro sidewalk. From
Sidewalk in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro. 

When I was a student in highschool, a friend of us went to Rio de Janeiro. He was a young man, and there was too much in Rio to enjoy. When he came back, the first description of the city he made me and my girl friends, was about the design of the sidewalks. Being our sidewalks in Buenos Aires so boring, with these mosaics we call ¨vainillas¨ he was absolutely impressed by the wavy pattern.
A few years after, I had my own opportunity to personally walk Rio´s sidewalks, by the sea, with the  buildings and the morros on the other side, that´s a great experience. 
Today I´ve read that:

¨The city began installing a series of QR code patterns onto its pavements on Friday 25 January in preparation for the 2016 Olympics, starting at Arpoador by Ipanema Beach. Keeping in line with the traditional black and white mosaic tiles that already line the streets in this area, the QR codes can be easily activated using a free app for smart phones called ‘QR Reader’.
In scanning the pavement QR code, the user will be diverted to a tourist information website which lists details about area where they are standing, including a Google Map so they can find their way about.
The first of this series of QR code mosaics is located in Arpoador and its associated website provides information such as: “The place was named Arpoador because in the past, whale harpooning was common in that region. The whales used to migrate from the south in search of warmer waters. At that time, it was necessary practice because whale oil was widely used in construction to produce mortar.”
Other tit-bits of information include the length of the beach (500m), details of night-time sport activities and where to stand to get the best views of the Ipanema and Leblon Beaches. Warnings of strong waves in the area are both a warning to weaker swimmers and an invitation to seasoned surfers.¨

I´d never have imagined an interactive, intelligent design as this in my years of a student in architecture. Even more, there´s a Dutch firm that will ¨build¨ the first house ¨printed¨ with a huge 3D printer.
I´m astonished, maybe I´m getting old.

QR code mosaic in Rio de Janeiro. From

Friday, January 25, 2013

Great design of maps and land cross sections

Felipe Correa/Somatic Collaborative, The Section as a Tool: A Regional Framework for Alexander von Humboldt’s Avenue of the Volcanoes, 2004.

I am sharing these great maps, land cross sections, cartography designs in general, from the post by landscape professor in Harvard, Jill Desimini: Cartographic Grounds: Projecting the Landscape Imaginary- It´s only my selection, click below to see the gallery in full:

Alexander von Humboldt, Humboldt’s Distribution of Plants in Equinoctial America: According to Elevation above the Level of the Sea, 1854.[Courtesy of Harvard Map Collection] 

George F. Becker, Comstock Mine Maps—Numbers IV and V, 1882 [© 2000 Cartography Associates]

STUDIO 09, Bernardo Secchi and Paola Viganò, Le Grand Paris, The After Kyoto Metropolis, 2009

Matthew Paris, Map of the British Isles, 1250. [© British Library Board]

Alison and Peter Smithson, Cambridge Walks, 1976. [Alison and Peter Smithson Archive, Courtesy of the Frances Loeb Library, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University]

Yamashiro no Kuni ezu, 1800. [Courtesy of Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division]

Zoom of the Yamashiro no Kuni ezu, 1800 (map above)

Eduard Imhof, Karte der Gegend um den Walensee, 1938. .[Courtesy of Alpines Museum der Schweiz, Bern] 

Zaha Hadid, The Peak Leisure Club, Hong Kong, 1982–1983.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bridge over the Han River: screen shots from The Host movie

A forest of columns.

Up till now, I´ve seen three movies by Korean director Bong Joon Ho, and in my list of preferred  directors, he is after Peter Greenaway, whom I´ve always had on top. I love the way he shows in dark comedies the life and social issues of workers and poor people in Korea. 
The first movie is Mother, it was absolutely great, it broke my heart. Second one, Barking dogs never bite, which I highly recommend if you´d like to see how´s the life in Korean tenement halls, those multistory anonymous buildings. 
And the third one, The Host, which monster reminded me of Godzilla. The plot is really interesting and the scenes in the bridge over the Han River and the sewers, beautiful.
I´ve selected some screen shots from my computer, enjoy!

Here, a man´s suicide. See him falling down the bridge, with the city behind.

The beauty of the structural iron knotts

The beauty of the iron structure is captured from below and above

A succession of concrete arches shown in different points of view while the young lady is running.

As a bonus, let us see two more pictures of the Paik Nam June Media Bridge by Planning Korea:

¨Korean creative director Byung Ju Lee of Planning Korea announced a new paradigm in bridge called ‘Paik Nam June Media Bridge’ in Seoul, Korea. Connecting Dangi-li Power Plant (which has a plan to be redeveloped into public cultural space) in the north and The National Assembly Building in the south, this bridge shows the first example of ‘a city expanded to the river’.
Pictures and text from:

Friday, January 18, 2013

The skyline of the World Heritage Town Olomouc is in danger!

I have been reading and reflecting on the article by Edwin Heathcote, ¨The bad and the beautiful,¨ about beauty and cities, and I agree that our memories make us feel as beautiful different environments, the sense of belonging that maybe is out of any tourism classification.
But, some cities are beautiful per se, without discussion, and the scale of its urban spaces and the skyline plays a major role in it. Heathcote says:

¨This, however, is all about grandeur, spectacle, the beauty of scale. These are the beautiful cities of cliché and fairy tale. You could equally argue that too much beauty hinders a city. Think of Venice, the sinking tourist city mired in its own past, a city that has become a theme park of decaying beauty.
London, a city to which the epithet “beautiful” can be applied only sparingly, has been threatened with losing its Unesco World Heritage status with dull, yet increasingly strident, towers impinging on historic views of Westminster and the Tower of London. In other cities, such as New York, Chicago, or Hong Kong, skyscrapers are the essence of the city. In London, it is more difficult, particularly as so many towers are so poorly designed, but this municipal carelessness does allow the city to adapt, to keep itself relevant. That is part of the reason London has been able to maintain its status as a trading centre for six centuries.¨

The example of London, reminds me of a similar European case: 

In the last decade the skyline of the World Heritage Town Olomouc (Czech Republic) has been disrupted by two new high-rise buildings of poor architectural value. Currently the construction of the third “skyscraper” named Šantovka Tower is under proposal.  The Civic society For beautiful Olomouc (Czech Republic) rightly considers that the height of this new tower (75 m) and its placement near the protected heritage area, will jeopardize the valuable urban landscape and contribute to the devastation of its unique skyline. 
A private developer SMC Development has hired the architectural firm Benoy (London) for the project. He defends its choice with words about bringing first-class contemporary  world architecture into Olomouc, comparing it with  other Benoy projects in London or Singapore. Local authorities support the building and they are willing to change or bypass legal regulations which do not allow buildings of such height close to a protected area.  

Here are the three buildings, now, let´s take a look at Olomouc´s skyline, after and before:

No need for further explanations, but in an overall view of the city, you´ll understand the problem:

The rectangle on the horizon, would be the new tower. Santovka Tower, by Benoy London, 2013-2015?

For those who´d never been there, I´m sharing an excerpt from about Olomouc:

Olomouc (/ˈɔːləmoʊts/;[citation needed] Czech: [ˈolomou̯ts]; German: Olmütz; Latin: Olomucium or Iuliomontium; Polish: Ołomuniec) is a city in Moravia, in the east of the Czech Republic. Located on the Morava River, the city is the ecclesiastical metropolis and historical capital city of Moravia. Today it is an administrative centre of the Olomouc Region and sixth largest city in the Czech Republic. The city has about 102,000 residents, but its larger urban zone has a population of about 480,000 people. 
Olomouc is said to occupy the site of a Roman fort founded in the imperial period, the original name of which, Iuliomontium (Mount Julius), would have been gradually corrupted to the present form. Although this account is not documented except as oral history, archaeological excavations close to the city have revealed the remains of a Roman military camp dating from the time of the Marcoman Wars.

 City monuments 

Olomouc contains several large squares, the chief of which is adorned with the Holy Trinity Column, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The column is 115 ft (35 m) high and was built between 1716 and 1754. The city has numerous historic religious buildings. The most prominent church is Saint Wenceslas Cathedral founded before 1107 in the compound of the Olomouc Castle. At the end of the 19th century, the Cathedral was rebuilt in the neo-Gothic style. It kept many features of the original church, which had renovations and additions reflecting styles of different ages: Romanesque crypt, Gothic cloister, Baroque chapels. The highest of the three spires is 328 ft (100 m), which makes it the second-highest spire in the country (after Cathedral of St. Bartholomew in Plzeň). The church is next to the Bishop Zdík's Palace (also called the Přemyslid Palace), a Romanesque building built after 1141 by the bishop Henry Zdík. Its remains one of the most precious monuments of Olomouc: such an early bishop's palace is unique in Central Europe. The Přemyslid Palace used as the residence of Olomouc dukes from the governing Přemyslid dynasty used to stand nearby. Saint Maurice Church, a fine Gothic building of the 15th century, has the 6th-largest church organ in Central Europe. 
Saint Michael's Church is notable. 
The Neo-baroque chapel of Saint John Sarkander stands on the site of a former town prison. At the beginning of the Thirty Years' War, the Catholic priest John Sarkander was imprisoned here. Accused of collaboration with the enemy, he was tortured, but did not reveal anything because of the Seal of Confession, and died. The torture rack and Sarkander’s gravestone are preserved here. He was canonized by Pope John Paul II during his visit in Olomouc in 1995. John Paul II also visited Svatý Kopeček (Olomouc) (cs) ("The Holy Hillock"), which has the magnificent Baroque church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary. It overlooks the city. The Pope promoted the church to Minor Basilica. 
Several monasteries are located in Olomouc, including Hradisko Monastery, Convent of Dominican Sisters in Olomouc and others. Carriage in the Olomouc Museum of Art Other notable destinations are the Olomouc Orthodox Church, consecrated to Saint Gorazd (cs), and the Mausoleum of Yugoslav Soldiers. This monument commemorates 1,188 Yugoslav soldiers who died during WWI in local hospitals after being wounded on battlefields. The principal secular building is the town hall, completed in the 15th century. It is flanked on one side by a gothic chapel, now adapted and operated as a museum. It possesses a tower 250 ft (76 m) high, adorned with an astronomical clock in an uncommon Socialist Realist style. (The original 15th c. clock was destroyed at the end of World War II. It was reconstructed in 1947–1955 by Karel Svolinský (cs), who used the government-approved style of the time, featuring proletarians rather than saints. Olomouc is proud of its six Baroque fountains. The fountains survived in such number thanks to the city council's caution. While most European cities were removing old fountains after building water supply piping, Olomouc decided to keep them as water reservoirs in case of fire. The fountains feature ancient Roman motifs; five portray the Roman gods Jupiter (image), Mercury (image), Triton (image), Neptune and Hercules (image). One features the emperor Julius Caesar, the legendary founder of the city (image). In the 21st century, an Arion fountain was added to the main square, inspired by the older project. In the largest square in Olomouc (Horní náměstí - Upper Square), in front of the astronomical clock, is a scale model of the entire old town in bronze.

Maybe more voices help us to protect the World Heritage Town Olomouc. Many European cities have used their cultural heritage as a strategy for (cultural) tourism, but most important is to promote the identity and civic proudness  of the inhabitants.

Here, Dr. Nikos Salingaros´ contribution:

"Olomouc is facing architectural disaster, though promoted with the best of intentions. The city is about to build a third glass-walled skyscraper, even though two earlier ones clearly degraded its architectural heritage and lowered both the city's sustainability and its income-generating potential through tourism. Unfortunately, certain power brokers still insist on gigantism and the fetish of glass-and-steel buildings as an elusive mythology of progress, little realizing that it's only the extremely expensive equivalent of junk food. They hire well-known multinational architectural firms who have their intellectual roots in industrial modernism, and who are experts at building the same alien-iconic building everywhere around the world. Why should a tourist pay money to come to Olomouc when they can see the same glass skyscraper in London or Singapore? The truth is that people are tired of the same futuristic images, and want to experience genuinely human-scale traditional architecture when they travel. But you will never hear this story from the stupid media who blindly repeat the marketing statements of the firms involved. As far as the tremendous wastage and non-recuperable embedded costs of glass skyscrapers, maybe a giant oil-producer like the Czech Republic doesn't mind wasting energy on status symbols of an imagined but false modernity. Just pump more petroleum out of the ground around Pilsen. And who needs those tourists anyway? It's more important for Olomouc to look like Dubai so as to keep up with the architectural insanity of the rest of the world."

To complete Nikos´ statement, here is an interesting data from Global Urban Development Magazine:

¨According to the Travel Industry Association of America, visitors to historic and cultural-attraction sites spend more and stay longer than the other types of US travelers; they spend US $631 and 4.7 nights away from home per trip compared to the average US traveler’s spending of US $457 and 3.4 nights. Several cities have begun to invest in place-identity and heritage tourism. Philadelphia, for example, is investing US $12 million in private and public funds to make heritage tourism a lynchpin in its economic development strategy.  Many cities in Europe have also started to include heritage resources on their urban regeneration agendas.¨

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A new expedition to Troy

Ancient Troy. Photograph by James Stanfield

Myth, folklore, mystery, and intrigue surround the ancient city of Troy like no other ruin on Earth. Once thought to be purely imaginary, a prop in Homer's epic poem The Iliad, excavations in northwestern Turkey in 1871 eventually proved that the city indeed existed. In 1871, German adventurer Heinrich Schliemann began digging at Hisarlik, Turkey, (shown here) in search of the fabled city. His roughshod excavation wrought havoc on the site, but revealed nine ancient cities, each built on top of the next and dating back some 5,000 years. At the time, most archaeologists were skeptical that Troy was among the ruins, but evidence since the discovery suggests the Trojan capital indeed lies within the site.

A new expedition to Troy:

¨Troy, the palatial city of prehistory, sacked by the Greeks through trickery and a fabled wooden horse, will be excavated anew beginning in 2013 by a cross-disciplinary team of archaeologists and other scientists, it was announced today (Monday, Oct. 15, 2012). The new expedition will be led by University of Wisconsin-Madison classics Professor William Aylward, an archaeologist with long experience digging in the ruins of classical antiquity, including Troy itself. The new international project at Troy, to be conducted under the auspices of and in cooperation with Turkey's Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, will begin a series of summer-time expeditions beginning in 2013. 
"Troy is a touchstone of Western civilization," says Aylward. "Although the site has been excavated in the past, there is much yet to be discovered. Our plan is to extend work to unexplored areas of the site and to systematically employ new technologies to extract even more information about the people who lived here thousands of years ago." (....) Although archaeologists have been digging at Troy for almost 140 years, with the exception of a 50-year hiatus between 1938 and 1988, less than one-fifth of the site has been scientifically excavated. With about 4,500 years of nearly uninterrupted settlement at a crossroads between Europe and Asia, Troy is fundamental for questions about the development of civilization in Europe and the Near East. 
"Troy deserves a world-class archaeological program," says Aylward. In its heyday, Troy's citadel, with walls 12 feet thick and more than 30 feet high, was about 6 acres in size. A walled lower town covered an expanse of 50 acres, much of which is unexplored. Mysteries abound. Ancient Troy's royal cemetery, for example, has yet to be discovered and archaeologists are eager to add to the single example of prehistoric writing known from Troy, a small bronze seal from the Bronze Age. "Major gaps in our knowledge involve the identity of the prehistoric Trojans, the location of their principal cemeteries and the nature of their writing system," says Aylward. 
"The enduring question of the historicity of the Trojan War is also worthy of further exploration." In future work at Troy, Aylward plans an array of collaborations in order to deploy powerful new scientific techniques to reveal the hidden record of the ancient city and its inhabitants.
 New methods to examine chemical residues on pottery from ancient kitchens and banquet halls, for example, may reveal secrets of ancient Trojan culinary proclivities, and genomic analyses of human and animal remains may shed light on diseases and afflictions at a crossroads of civilization. Much of the new work in the area of "molecular archaeology," which includes DNA sequencing and protein analysis, will be conducted in collaboration with the UW-Madison Biotechnology Center, which has become an active partner in the new Troy project. This past summer, researchers from the center participated in reconnaissance for future studies.¨


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

About churches´ adaptive reuse

The first time I saw a project of dwellings in a church already deconsecrated, it caught my attention, but I thought, maybe it´s an isolated case. Up till now, I didn´t have a clue of how many churches (of different religions) were kept empty, without use for lack of funds or  because the specific sect or religion had changed the procedures for meetings, or simply because there are too many. So, it is better to sell them to be converted into a different use facility but of course, under severe restrictions.
I understand the typical ones, like ¨no alterations on the facade and style should be made,¨ or to keep the original style, but there´s another very important restriction: Relatives must have rights of access to visit the remains of the deceased. That´s a difficult task...

Even if it is deconsecrated, I would feel that the building has a kind of soul, I don´t feel that the masses and ceremonies can be removed from the building´s (the people´s ) memory just retrofitting the structure, and/ or adding partition walls, or changing interior colors.

An interesting article about this issue has been written by Philippe Ridet at

¨Dozens of computer displays have taken the place of the altar. The church of Santa Teresa in Milan was originally built in 1674, but closed for worship in the early 19th century. The city council purchased the building in 1974 and in 2003 it opened as a media library.
No one can tell how many there are. Neither the Catholic church nor the arts departments at various levels of government have seen fit to count them. But there are probably several thousand places of worship all over Italy which have been deconsecrated and sold. The permutations seem endless: here a bar or a country house, an artist's studio or a garage, there the head office of a bank, a library or function rooms. But sometimes a whiff of incense seems to linger, as if long after the last mass the spirit of the place still clings to the walls.
This may be yet another sign of the hard times on which the church has fallen and Italy's increasingly secular society. But that is not what prompted the Milanese photographer Andrea Di Martino to set up his camera at the entrance to a series of ex-churches. Much as for a passport photograph, he adopted exactly the same angle for each picture: the effect is striking yet poetic, "an encounter between an umbrella and a sewing machine".
Andrea Di Martino is preparing a book with his series ¨The mass is ended.¨ In the following link, you can see the gallery:
Then, I have been reading another article by a real state company in UK, that explains:
¨A recent survey conducted on the website found that church conversions were the most popular choice among users for a converted living space, with 60% preferring to live in a converted building rather than purpose built accommodation. The survey brought to light some worrying issues also, with church conversions listed among the worst buildings in terms of value and layout. Bear in mind then, that a church conversion is not carte blanche to an exotic, original living style, but that each one must be assessed on its individual merits just like any other property.
Increasingly, cash strapped ecclesiastical bodies are selling off more and more churches. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) says that in the last 5 years around 500 London churches have been turned into homes. There is no need to jump to the conclusion that the entire country has completely lost its faith. The Victorians have a lot to answer for, apparently they simply built too many - even in their time the churches were half-full but, with money pouring into post-industrial Britain, the building went on unabated.

(...)  if you wish to undertake your own church conversion there are a variety of ways to go about this:

  • Anglican Churches - Closed churches are described by the Church of England as those no longer required for public worship and thus formally closed under church legislation (the Pastoral Measure of 1983). The aim of the Pastoral Measure is to find alternative uses for those churches in order to avoid their demolition and preserve our national heritage - conversion into housing is just one such alternative use. The Church of England publish a list of closed churches which you can see here.
  • Methodist Chapels - In the last 75 years, somewhere in the region of 8,000 Methodist chapels have been closed. There are presently around 100 or so scattered across the UK but with a greater concentration in Cornwall, where the sect was most popular. Many of these were constructed in the 19th century and being smaller than Church of England churches are more suitable to conversion as a single home. 
  • Buildings at Risk - If you have an excess of time and money and want to take on a really spectacular project then you might want to check out the Save Buildings at Risk register at

That´s good that this site highly recommends the buyer to hire a specialist architect to deal with the City planners and to design with respect and experience in  architectural conservation.

In this video, the reporter says that the Americans are the main market for deconsecrated churches converted into houses. It seems that they consider them as the best expression of Italian art.

REFERENCE for pictures above: Andrea Di Martino

Jakob Culture Church today hosts concerts, poetry and opera after being de-consecrated in 1985. From 

An architect that is required to work in ¨adaptive reuse¨ of a church, maybe confronted with a dilemma. Let´s learn more:

¨In most instances, adapting a house of worship to a secular purpose, a measure that in some denominations requires a deconsecration ritual, is the only way to save the building from demolition.
''I personally think it is too bad that so many churches no longer fulfill their original functions, but it is wonderful that we are creative enough to find new functions that will enable them to stay alive and healthy,'' said William J. Higgins, a partner in Higgins & Quasebarth, a preservation consulting firm that did a historical analysis for the St. Peter's project. ''I would rather see the character of the space used as an asset than to obliterate it. If a church becomes an interesting place to socialize, dine, exercise, why not?''
Adaptive reuse, as the process is known, can be daunting. ''These buildings do not lend themselves to easy conversions,'' said Ken Lustbader, who was the director of the New York Landmarks Conservancy's Sacred Sites program until last month. ''It is an expensive proposition to divide up sanctuary space, deal with the placement of floors, windows, electricity, plumbing, wiring.''
In addition, Mr. Lustbader went on: ''It is a more challenging conversion to go from soaring sanctuary to studio apartment. Convents, schools and parish houses lend themselves much more to compatible adaptive reuse, but they do not have the spectacular architectural details.''
Stephen B. Jacobs, an architect, balked when he was asked to design apartments for the alteration of the All Angels Church, a English Gothic-style Episcopal church on the West Side, about 18 years ago . ''I said to the rector, 'Would you sell Westminster or Coventry?' and I told the client, 'I can't rip out the inside of such a wonderful building,' '' he recalled. ''It was sold to a developer who tore it down.''
''A year later,'' he continued, ''another client came to me about another church, and this time I said, 'I'm going to do it.' '' The result was the conversion of the Greek Revival Village Presbyterian Church on West 13th Street into a 15-apartment co-op called the Village Mews Housing Corporation but more commonly known as ''the church.''

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Memories of a house demolition

I´ve been at a Craftsman style house demolition yesterday. Being built in wood frame, it´s impressive how fast a house like this can be demolished.
This particular house that had been designed by an architect at the beginning of the SXX, has to be respectfully remembered.  It has been documented before, there´s a complete record of it.
The homeowner told me that passers-by shook their heads in discontent. But this is progress, part of the evolution of cities, and if planners have decided to support the demo, there are no more complaints.
Anyway, as a kind of homage, I´ve taken pictures and decided to show them under an artistic point of view, what I usually call, ¨the beauty of ruins.¨ 
A free standing corner, the textures of the remainings intermingled with the palm trees, ...

the textures of all materials including the fence, ....

the new point of view through the opening that was left to the houses across the alley, the last memories of the people who´d been living and working inside....

the vigilant pipes, as witnesses of the works and the colorful expectation, the hope in colors, for the two new houses that will be built in coming months.

Finally, DEMOLITION, a beautiful poem by Mark Doty

The intact facade's now almost black 
in the rain; all day they've torn at the back 
of the building, "the oldest concrete structure 
in New England," the newspaper said. By afternoon, 
when the backhoe claw appears above 
three stories of columns and cornices, 

the crowd beneath their massed umbrellas cheer. 
Suddenly the stairs seem to climb down themselves, 
atomized plaster billowing: dust of 1907's 
rooming house, this year's bake shop and florist's, 
the ghosts of their signs faint above the windows 
lined, last week, with loaves and blooms. 

We love disasters that have nothing to do 
with us: the metal scoop seems shy, tentative, 
a Japanese monster tilting its yellow head 
and considering what to topple next. It's a weekday, 
and those of us with the leisure to watch 
are out of work, unemployable or academics, 

joined by a thirst for watching something fall. 
All summer, at loose ends, I've read biographies, 
Wilde and Robert Lowell, and fallen asleep 
over a fallen hero lurching down a Paris boulevard, 
talking his way to dinner or a drink, 
unable to forget the vain and stupid boy 

he allowed to ruin him. And I dreamed 
I was Lowell, in a manic flight of failing 
and ruthless energy, and understood 
how wrong I was with a passionate exactitude 
which had to be like his. A month ago, 
at Saint-Gauden's house, we ran from a startling downpour 

into coincidence: under a loggia built 
for performances on the lawn 
hulked Shaw's monument, splendid 
in its plaster maquette, the ramrod-straight colonel 
high above his black troops. We crouched on wet gravel 
and waited out the squall; the hieratic woman 

-- a wingless angel? -- floating horizontally 
above the soldiers, her robe billowing like plaster dust, 
seemed so far above us, another century's 
allegorical decor, an afterthought 
who'd never descend to the purely physical 
soldiers, the nearly breathing bronze ranks crushed 

into a terrible compression of perspective, 
as if the world hurried them into the ditch. 
"The unreadable," Wilde said, "is what occurs." 
And when the brutish metal rears 
above the wall of unglazed windows --
where, in a week, the kids will skateboard 

in their lovely loops and spray 
their indecipherable ideograms 
across the parking lot -- the single standing wall 
seems Roman, momentarily, an aqueduct, 
all that's left of something difficult 
to understand now, something Oscar 

and Bosie might have posed before, for a photograph. 
Aqueducts and angels, here on Main, 
seem merely souvenirs; the gaps 
where the windows opened once 
into transients' rooms are pure sky. 
It's strange how much more beautiful 

the sky is to us when it's framed 
by these columned openings someone meant us 
to take for stone. The enormous, articulate shovel 
nudges the highest row of moldings 
and the whole thing wavers as though we'd dreamed it, 
our black classic, and it topples all at once.

Images with copyright
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