“The suburbs have three destinies, none of them exclusive: as materials salvage, as slums, and as ruins.”

[My childhood home and personal corner of Suburbia]

That bit of wisdom from James Kunstler. Yes, the James Kunslter who seems to take so much joy from coming up with innovative ways to describe just how much he hates something. His vitriolic response, which continued to describe the suburbs as “the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world,” was evoked by a question from The New York Times Freakonomics Blog: What is the Future of the Suburbs? Continue reading ““The suburbs have three destinies, none of them exclusive: as materials salvage, as slums, and as ruins.””

The Ruins of San Francisco’s Sutro Baths

Gloomy San Francisco Days are always good for exploring ruins. This week, on a particularly grey and windy day, a friend and I took a stroll through the Sutro Baths in San Francisco…or at least what’s left of them. If I were making a low-budge, post-apocalyptic student film, I would probably use the site as my primary location. It’s been 40 years since the baths burned down, but what remains still has a definite ground-zero vibe. Mysterious pieces of concrete and brick walls jut out of the hillside growth and unusual sand formations. Navigating the site can be tricky—as Maude will surely attest—with pieces of bent, rusted metal and concrete holes aiming to trip up careless explorers. When the Sutro Baths opened in 1896, it was the world’s largest indoor swimming hole — complete with 7 different pools, a private museum and 8,000 seat concert hall. Continue reading “The Ruins of San Francisco’s Sutro Baths”

To Italy and Back Again

Ruins in Italy

Back from a whirlwind trip through Rome and Florence, with a couple days in Venice for good measure. Italy is, of course, insanely beautiful and the trip was absolutely incredible. A little too crowded in some places, but then again, it is Italy in July, so that was really to be expected. Highlights for me: The Pantheon, all of Venice, and the massive amounts of monumental sculpture — both in public and in museums. More thoughts and photos coming this week, but for now a 7 photo summary: Continue reading “To Italy and Back Again”