Wednesday, April 09, 2008

What dreams may come


Potential
London, Ontario, April 2008 [Click to enlarge]


Continuing my personal challenge to find compelling images in places other folks might have written off (see here and here for the first two entries), I walked down London's Dundas Street and looked for inspiration. It's the main east-west road through the downtown core, the very faded shopping mecca that used to be ground zero for anything that happened not just in this city, but in the region.

It's fallen on hard times over the past 30-ish years, and despite little pockets of renewal here and there, it still gets more than its fair share of bad press.

But as I wandered along the sidewalk on a brilliant Sunday afternoon, I looked up and saw not a desolate building waiting for destruction, but something worth saving, something that could have life in it yet, if only someone would have faith in its future, and a bank account to match.

One wonders if the world has enough people with that kind of courage. One wonders if it need only apply to old buildings.

Your turn: Please look into this building's past. Or its future. Or both. What do you see?

14 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Great pictures, Carmi! I love the way you capture things that most people wouldn't look twice at. I aspire to do that one day. :-)

Zephanie Cooper said...

I really love these pictures. I'm from the london area, too, and I love how all of your pictures make me feel warm and fuzzy inside, like i'm at home. Even though a lot of them could be from anywhere...there's something about them that makes me think "wow, that's southern ontario."
Great blog,
Zeph

Wordnerd said...

I see a building that needs to be saved. I see craftsmanship so incredible it would be a shame to see it reduced to a pile of rubble. I hope the building gets a knight in shining armor of its very own.

LaskiGal said...

There are so many buildings like this in Detroit, MI. Where I grew up . . .

It is sad because you can see that at one time they had such life, such energy, such promise. Now . . . they are empty shells. Nothing but memories.

Striking . . .

kenju said...

It would be a shame if that building is allowed to become so derelict that it needs tobe torn down. I always think of the people who used to work there and what went on in the building, and if they miss being there.

R. Sherman said...

It's really ashame that someone cannot restore the building and put it to use. I suppose the area in which its located is not the best?

Cheers.

Christine said...

Oh I agree with the others! This could be a beautiful building! It makes me think a little of my high school, which is an old building, and looks a little like a castle. Architecture today isn't nearly as beautiful as it use to be - we have to save buildings like this one!

Bunny Trails said...

"I looked up and saw not a desolate building waiting for destruction, but something worth saving, something that could have life in it yet, if only someone would have faith in its future, and a bank account to match."

Love your thoughts on this. I'm bemoaning the fact that in our city, and I believe across the country, people want waht is new. Few are interested in renovating and reviving what we already have.

The decision was recently made to close down one of our hospitals, which is very central, when they open up a new one on the FAR northeast side of town. As if those of us who remain in the older areas have no need of convenient services.

We have so much square footage of available buildings - office space, retail, residential, etc. Yet they continue to build and build and build. What a waste.

Why can't we breathe new life into that which we already have? Like the beautiful building you've photographed. Why have we become such a disposable society? It's heart-breaking and frustrating.

Barb said...

Carmi, in the shapes of the windows I see an old church that was abandoned for a more modern, larger house of worship. The shell of the old church is embraced by a mismatched structure in an attempt to use the old space, yet is also abandoned. While this scene is not unusual from city to city as a sign of "progress" it seems that these artices are left standing as a reminder of the beauty --- and the quality --- of our past. Moving on and living in the moment is one thing, but if we don't have our past we can't appreciate our present. Thanks for the reminder!

Heidi said...

This kind of scene chokes me up a bit... what a beautiful building and then all those boarded up windows. Ahhh... I can picture an old department store with wrough-iron railings on the staircases leading you from women's furnishings to linens for your home, perhaps? Or maybe an old fashioned candy counter on the main floor does the trick? Where the floor is made of oak and it creaks slightly as you walk over it? Fun to daydream...

Anonymous said...

Great picture - and a great building. I think this buildings knight in shining armour, with a fine appreciation of the buildings great potential, is not that far away. Mind you, careful renovation of these buildings take time - if you return to this spot in two years and take the photo again I think you will find something very different and wonderful happening there.

What London's Downtown needs is fresh new perspectives and business initiatives from young enterprenuers who see what Downtown London could be while celebrating each buildings heritage and not bemoan what Downtown once was.

Killired said...

this is probably going to sound silly but it's the first thing i thought of... it looks like the perfect place for MTV's Real World show...

rashbre said...

A strange building facade, with the piece above and to the side in such a different style. Like the brown one is being hemmed in by so much concrete.

Rainbow dreams said...

I have often thought about what used to go on in old boarded up buildings. There are so many there with a huge history behind them. Wouldn't it be lovely to see them come back to life? What if we all believed just a little more than we do? I wonder what differences would be made - if we believed in each other a little more too - what unleashed potential would we find?.
I wonder about the people and the lives that these places were important to...what memories they hold, what stories lie hidden in full view.