Wednesday, July 29, 2009


A buzzword making the rounds today among those focused on saving our cities is placemaking. I would like to propose another word: placeunmaking. We see it all around us. In fact, the reason many downtowns require a placemaking make-over is because they suffered placeunmaking first.

The four pictures today are from an area just a short distance south of the London downtown core. The top photo and the one on the right show a once fine home, note the elegant entrance with the large porch and Greek columns. The warm yellow brick was once common in the London area, I understand Fred Kingsmill has called it London brick, is now quite hard to find. This was the fine home of a well off individual. Obviously, this was once a fine neighbourhood. No more.

The home always had the Labatt brewery as a neighbour, possibly there is connection between the brewery and both buildings featured today. But the brewery was but a few small structures when our yellow brick home was built.

On the left and below we see another scene from around the same area, just one block east and kitty-corner to the Labatt brewery. This apartment building was once one of the prettiest buildings of its type that I had ever seen. It was red, clay brick with matching red tile roofing treatment at the front. The second and third floor front apartments all had elegant twin doors leading to small balconies with attractive black, iron railings. A few years back the brick was hidden behind some stucco-like material and then that was covered with white and yellow paint. It is just so sad.

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