After working on the Telescope Houses of Buffalo, New York for the last three years, I happily showed the series in Buffalo for the first time last weekend at Dennis Maher’s The Fargo House gallery. When I wasn’t at the gallery, I continued shooting the project and supplemented earlier photographs of the city with new images of neighborhood stores and Silo City. Photographs of the installation and several new images are below.
For more information about the Telescope Houses of Buffalo, New York, check out my recent interview in The Public conducted by University at Buffalo architecture professor Gregory Delaney and a ArchDaily/Satellite magazine feature on the series.
New photographs of Buffalo telescope houses.
The Fargo House on opening night.
An installation view.
Neighborhood buildings featuring convenience stores.
The major disappointment of the trip was the demolition of a former synagogue that had been converted into a church. The above sequence is from 2012, 2014 and my recent visit.
Silo City was compelling as ever — this time with original plans, thanks to Isabella Crowley.
Last week I made a short visit to Houston, Texas during the American Collegiate Schools of Planning conference. When I wasn’t downtown, I spent the majority of my free time in the Third Ward, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods and home to Project Row Houses. The city’s lack of zoning and the neighborhood’s proximity to the central business district are producing new challenges for the community, which is threatened by residential developments that are physically and socially out of character with the neighborhood.
But a visit to Houston wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the region’s many industrial and oil service areas, so I spent an afternoon along the Houston Ship Channel in cities like Pasadena and later stopped by Chevron’s downtown facility.
The following images are highlights from that visit, although I will slowly post others to my Houston set.
The Third Ward
Beyond the Third Ward
Last week I returned to Buffalo, New York for the Society of Architectural Historians‘ annual meeting. As usual, I took advantage of the combination of arriving early and a little free time to explore the city. While my last trip was primarily dedicated to photographing the great buildings of the city’s expansion era, I had greater latitude this time around. I’ve pulled out some favorite images below, but feel free to visit flickr for additional photographs from both trips.
I was most intrigued by the city’s preponderance of “telescope houses,” or buildings that were enlarged through rear additions that incrementally reduce in scale. The result is houses that seemingly could be collapsed into themselves.
The buildings are located throughout the city but are clustered on the East Side. There, the combination of small houses, narrow lots, growing families and limited resources seems to have led to the distinctive expansion patterns. Years of concentrated divestment and neglect now provide windows into back and side yards to view the full depth of the houses.
The wide-open views also reveal the tenuous condition of many of the buildings — and the neighborhoods as a whole.
While I spent a couple of days documenting the telescope houses, I still made time for the city’s remarkable grain elevators. A few photographs of those better-documented Buffalo structures are below.
My interest in the transformation of the built environment started with watching the razing of central Indiana farmsteads for suburban expansion in the early 1990s. These buildings, like the one below, became the subjects of my first landscape photographs.
Hamilton County, Indiana, 1994
While I typically work in urban areas now, I make an effort to spend time in the rural and transitional areas between Indianapolis and Chicago whenever I have occasion to leave the city.
Many of the same issues affect these areas as they did when I was learning about them in the early 1990s, but the region is more complex than it was then. Even with the recent recession, the rural edges are still pressured by suburban expansion, but a variety of other economic and geographic pressures demonstrate the changing rural landscape.
The area is dotted with vestiges of commerce, from familiar billboards and grain elevators to new forms of industry, including wind turbines and industrial agriculture property. Together, they introduce new pressures on longstanding concerns about exurban development while providing some hope against outmigration in truly rural communities.
With those brief thoughts as background, here are a few of my favorite photographs of the places between my former and current homes.