Friday, October 04, 2019

Watching architectural history rot

Demolition by neglect
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
There’s a lovely, historic building in the middle of downtown #LdnONT. Well, it’s historic. But maybe not so lovely, as it’s been sitting, empty, for years, and recently had its dusty, broken windows replaced by plywood. Sadly, this building, the former home of the Wright Lithographing Co. Limited, isn’t alone.

Our downtown core is, to be charitable, a disgrace. Nevermind the boneheaded decision to summarily rip up three adjacent arteries at the same time - that’s a discussion for another day.

No, the rot goes back years, and it’s left us with parking lots where buildings used to be, and empty hulks of once-vibrant structures, abandoned in place by owners more focused on, well, I’m not entirely sure what their end-game is, actually.

Because I always thought property owners made their money by maintaining their buildings and then renting out the space. You know, like landlords have been doing forever. But a quick walk through the dusty streets of downlown London makes it clear how many of these places have been boarded up, with no sign of any effort to return them to life.

There is no investment. No interest in helping the community fill in its gap-toothed streetscape. No interest in generating revenue off of assets they own. That last one staggers me.

This particular building is owned by a company that proudly sticks its logo on every asset it owns. As if abandoned-in-place architecture is good for the brand. Or something to be proud of.

News flash: It isn't. It simply reinforces the long-simmering belief by those of us who care that our city's leadership is afraid to show some backbone. That no one wants to anger the big bear or upset the status quo.

I’ll give them points for the red paint on the plywood, but the fact that no one else asks why the same downward trajectory plays out for countless other properties in the core is, to me, disturbing.

This building deserves better. So does this city. So do we.

#london #ontario #canada #random #urban #downtown #wellington #road #street #photography #wright #building #community #crisis #hope #photooftheday #instagood #nofilter #nofilterneeded #google #pixel2 #teampixel #lifeinthemargins #family #everything

No comments: