BlathrWayne Lorentz

Showing blathrs with the tag “Architecture.”

Iʼm still standing

Thursday, May 26th, 2022 Alive 18,657 days

A weathered building in New Orleansʼ French Quarter

One of the interesting things about the built environment in New Orleans is the way some buildings manage to survive.

Houses in New Orleans have to deal with termites, mold, rising damp, horrendous rainstorms, aggressive vegetation, and more.

A weathered building in New Orleansʼ French Quarter

Looking at buildings like these makes me wonder how many dozens of hurricanes theyʼve been through, but are still standing after a hundred or more years.

Meanwhile, the house I rented in Las Vegas needed major repairs just 20 years after it was built.

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Nice gams

Monday, May 23rd, 2022 Alive 18,654 days

Three downspouts

Two historic downspouts, crafted in the shape of grotesque fish. Between them, a boring corrugated plastic tube. All serve the same purpose, but two of them are signs of an advanced civilization, while one is a sign of people being cheap.

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Ride ʼem allegorical cowboy

Saturday, March 12th, 2022 Alive 18,582 days

The 3100 Travis Building, with artwork by E.Z. Galea in 1951

Buildings do a great job of preserving history, if you know how to read them. A building may change owners, colors, and names, but its height, setbacks, floor spacing, materials, and other fundamentals can tell you a lot about it.

In some cases, buildings wear their history on their sleeves. 3100 Travis in Midtown Houston is one of those. Above what used to be the main entrance is a nice Texas-flavored bas relief featuring an oil well, and what may either be a pipeline or a railroad connecting McAllen with New York.

A lot of early- and mid-20th-century architectural decoration featured allegories, often of “Progress” or “Commerce” or “Engineering.” I donʼt know which allegorical figure this is supposed to be, but this is Texas, so heʼs riding a horse.

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Underground history

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021 Alive 18,459 days

A slice of the Hotel Cotton underneath downtown Houston

If you wander through the tunnels under downtown Houston, you might run across this. Itʼs a slice of the old Cotton Hotel, preserved underneath the skyscraper known as 811 Main.

Thereʼs a plaque nearby which explains:

This façade belonged to the historic Hotel Cotton, built in 1913 on the southwest corner of Rusk and Fannin. The majority of the façade is from the original building, yet severe damage to the façade later in the hotelʼs history necessitated part of the structure be recreated.

The 11-story Hotel Cotton was developed by Almon Cotton, a wealthy, investment-loan man from Colorado. When the Cotton first opened its doors on Saturday, March 1, 1913, people called the building sensational — it was the first hotel in downtown Houston with a bath in all 152 rooms! Although it was located in what some still considered the countryside (the city had to clear weeds on adjacent land), the Cotton charged very high rates at $1.50 per room and had steady business from the start. The neighboring Stowers Furniture Company building, which still stands today, supplied the first furniture for the Cotton. One Houston newspaper later branded the Cotton as the “Shamrock of 1913,” which exemplifies its luxurious and impressive modernity at the time.

Soon after its opening, the Cotton passed through a series of owners, where its name was eventually changed to the Montagu Hotel. After falling into extreme disrepair, the hotel was demolished on January 20, 2007.

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Not scary at all

Monday, August 23rd, 2021 Alive 18,381 days

The Star from underneath

In the basement of my building, itʼs possible to see the new foundation holding up the old foundation.

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That first step is a doozy

Friday, August 13th, 2021 Alive 18,371 days

Doors cut into the side of the Southwestern Bell building

The Southwestern Bell building across the street has a channel in it that was once populated by windows. Then the windows were converted into doors. And now theyʼre death traps.

Amazingly, I occasionally see people open these doors and stand next to the abyss smoking. The crush out their cigarettes on the historic brick facade.

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Bee-dee bee-dee bee-dee

Monday, March 22nd, 2021 Alive 18,227 days

The Sahara branch of the Clark County Public Library

Am I the only one who thinks the Sahara branch of the Clark County Public Library is weird looking? Itʼs like one of those international-style buildings thatʼs all intersecting geometric shapes. The ones that were all the rage a half-century ago.

More to the point: It looks like the exteriors of New Chicago from the 1979 TV show Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

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Saturday, February 20th, 2021 Alive 18,197 days

Why is there a door knob on the inside of my pantry door? Do my Froot Loops and Hamburger Helper get claustrophobic during the night and go out for a walk?

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