Monday, September 28, 2009

Side streets & back alley's

Hello everyone,

Last week we looked at the main streets in the College Hill neighborhood: Mendenhall Street and Tate Street. Now it is time to discuss the side streets, such as Carr, Rankin, Walker, and McGee, and back alley's. At the class of Thursday, September 24 we discover a few things that attracted our/my attention.

The side streets have very different features compared to the main streets in this neighborhood. First of all it became obvious to me that the scale of the houses of the backstreets is smaller. I think people who can afford a little less live here.

We discovered two types of houses. The first type contains the Queen houses. They are also on Mendenhall Street. These houses were built in the 1910's during the Victorian Period. Most of the times the material used for those houses is shingle. The second type of houses in the neighborhood is Bungalow houses. Most houses of this type have a flat roof and are made of brick. We couldn't discover any kind of circels in them. This type is characteristic for the houses that were built in the 1920's. The first picture is an example of a bungalow. It is called a Craftsman style house.
On Carr Street we discovered some kind of storage building or garage. That is a stack. It was really different from the other houses in the street. That made that it attracted our attention while walking down the street. Further down the street was a house that was shaped as a block. It must have been built recently and is an example of an infill. We all agreed that it is a very ugly building, so you'd better don't look at the picture for too long. There is also a very big apartment complex in this neighborhood, mainly for students. There are approximately 45 apartments. It is an example of an infill, because there were houses on this place before. The next picture shows a fence that indicates the end/edge/border of the neighborhood. I consider this as a front, to refer to Clay's vocabulary. In my opinion it is also good to tell you that the streets in the side streets used to be made of brick. You can still see that when you look at the driveways. By the way, in the side streets are a lot more driveways than on the main streets. All side streets are turned into brick now. Furthermore, it attracted our attention that on this side of campus there is zone-permit parking (maximum of two hours). The main streets have a few more parking spaces than these side streets.

Bungalow in Craftsman style

Storage building

The ugly infill house

The big apartment complex

The fence (front)

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Mendenhall Muddle

Hey everybody,

In the class on Thursday, September 17 we visited Greensboro College and Mendenhall Street. In this post infill in this part of Greensboro over the years. Infill means that something new replaces the building/land there was before on that place.

The area on and around Greensboro had different names in the past years: Piety Hill, West End and the current name for this area is College Hill. I will explain why those names are chosen. A long time ago the methodist church of Greensboro established Greensboro College as a religious (methodist) school. Since piety means religiousness, this name is declared. The second name is West End, because the government of the city didn't think that Piety Hill was a good name to hold. This is because they didn't want the city to be too religious in its charisma. There also had to be freedom of religion. College Hill is the last name for this area. Hill stands for 'just oudside downtown' and it is exactly the area between UNC Greensboro and Greensboro College, so it is not strange that it is called College Hill.

Then Mendenhall Street. The pink house is the oldest house in this street. It is build in an Italian style, what is known as italianate. It looks great and the details are precise, what is characteristic for this style and for older houses (in Greensboro) in general. The windows are shaped more vertically than in the most other houses.
Two houses further down is a house that is made of brick. This one is newer than the pink house (is built in 1910's). You can see this, because the details are rougher and the building looks more functional than classical.
Number 115 on Mendenhall Street is the newest house of the street. You can become aware of this by noticing that this house faces the side, so it doesn't face Mendenhall Street directly.
Further down the street there is a house that is made of brick and has a flat roof. It serves as an appartment now. That is an example of an infill, because the land is used to create more living space. The building is related to the building across the street. This one looks almost exactly the same and has the same function.
There is also a setback on Mendenhall Street. A path leads to the house that is obviously newer dan the surrounding houses.
Further down the road you can discover a big church. It was built on the place where a couple of houses used to be, so this is an example of a church infill. Across the road is a parking lot for the church that also took the place of a few houses.
Across the street from the parking lot there is a house that used to be a firehouse. That became clear to me when I saw the (kind of) front porch. There is a little round-shaped entrance, where firetruck used to stay and drove in and out. This is also an infill.
Furthermore, there is a nice story about why the stores on Mendenhall Street all are located towards the crossing with Spring Garden Street. I heard that there, several years ago, drove a trolly bus. In the trolly where, of course, potential consumers. That is the reason that store owners wanted to locate their store as close to Spring Garden Street as possible.

The pink house

The brick house built in 1910's

Newest house on Mendenhall Street

One of the two identical apartments

Church with parking lot

A University store near Mendenhall Street

The old firehouse

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Neighborhood survey College Hill

Hello everybody,

On Tuesday, September 15 we went to College Hill to do a survey of this neighborhood. We surveyed on Tate Street.

In this neighborhood there are limited types of houses in terms of form. It looked like there was a significant difference according to the shape of houses between the part of Tate Street within the crosses with Walker and Carr en the part of Tate Street within the crosses with Carr and Rankin/Market.
It was interesting to see that all houses have a front porch, but just a few have a side porch. Furthermore, almost all houses have a front door with a light in them. There are not many wooden window screens used, mostly metal storm windows. Almost none of the windows have shutters. Approximately half of the houses have driveways. The ones that have no driveway are often situated on some kind of hill or on a close distance to their neighbors. Besides, most of the houses have one mailbox, but there is also a pretty big amount of them without mailbox or with more boxes. When it has more mailboxes, I think it indicates that it is a apartment where a few people live separate from each other. Every house has a front yard, but not all have foundation planting. Most of the yards have shade trees in it; especially on the first part of Tate Street there almost all yards have one or more. Most of the times the materials that are used are siding for the biggest part and wood trim for the edges (strengthening of the building). The use of wood trim on edges says something about the architecture of the house in terms of the presentation: horizontal or vertical.

I think I can conclude from this survey that most people who live in this neighborhood are college students and maybe a few faculty members of UNCG. I base this statement not only on the fact that it is close to campus, but also because there are many appartments in this street. I don't think there live a lot of families, because I didn't notice playgrounds in the front yards at all.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Assessing value

Hello everyone,

In the HHS 105 class of Thursday, September 10 we visited certain sites on campus. In this post I will discuss the values imbedded in three of these sites in my opinion. Those three spaces are the Quad, Peabody Park and the MHRA Building.


The UNCG Quad is the space between eight different buildings (dorms). It has four edges. The Quad is shaped as a rectangle, so actually the name is wrong. It is not a quad. There are a lot of trees in the quad, most of them near the edges.
When you look at the quad you see that the space is captured by the eight surrounding dorms. It is a very special place on campus. Above all it is a recreation place for people who live in one of the dorms, but also for 'outsiders'. Most of the activities include sunbathing (is this spelled correctly?) and playing frisbee.

In my opinion the Quad's value is that it created/creates a sort of little community. It is a space where people are together and are enjoying the good things of life. I consider the Quad as a neighbourhood on campus. It is a space that is separated from the rest of campus.

Source picture:

Peabody Park

Peabody Park is a park on the edge of campus. It exists since the 1890's, so it has a great historical value for the University. It consists of 16 acres of land.

There is embedded one of the greatest stories of UNCG in this Peabody Park. There used to be hold cows in this park since its existence. The milk that was produces by these cows was used by the University to fill up the milk supply. The students were drinking this milk in the Dining Halls. So that was the main value of this park.
Nowadays the values of the park are recreation and sports. The biggest part of Peabody Park is used now as a golf course. It it host to the Men's and Women's Golf teams of UNCG. In the 1950's and the 1960's the golf course was internationally famous. UNCG hosted big international championships here. There are also numerous other sport facilities on the edge of Peabody Park (in the direction of the dorms), such as the tennis courts, the soccer stadium and the new baseball stadium.
There is a paved road around Peabody Park. It wasn't paved yet in the previous century. People walk here to enjoy the wood, the silence and the green environment. Of course this is also one of the values of Peabody Park.

Picture: While standing on the golf course looking out over the other sports facilities and a couple of buildings.

MHRA Building

The MHRA (Moore Humanities & Research Administration) Building is located on Spring Garden Street. It was built in the last three years. It will be no suprise that it looks like one of the most modern buildings on campus.
The MHRA Building is, as the name says, both a space where students have there class and a office/administration space. That is strange. It is probably the only building on campus where this is the case. How does these two departments go along with each other? Are they assisting each other or is it annoying for both of them to work together in this building? In other words, which values does the building have for people who work and learn in it (employees of the University and students)? These are questions I really want them to be answered. When I have a class again in this building, I will be alert to discover signs of cooperation or not.
Another obvious thing in this building that attracted my attention were the patterns on the first floor when I entered the building. You can see them in the picture below. These patterns are paths that show you where to go. They go from the main entrance on Spring Garden Street to different objects on the first floor. One leads to the offices on the right and the door to leave the building (or to come in), another one to the elevator in the middle and the third leads to the stairs on the left.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Campusmap with Clay's vocabulary


Hello everyone,

In the class of Tuesday, September 8 we have been visiting probably the three most important buildings on campus: the Elliot University Center, the Jackson Library and the Caf. In this post I will speculate about the centers in these buildings and what elements help define those central spaces.

Elliot Univerity Center
The first time I went to the EUC I saw that almost everything (bookstore, dining places, information desk, FirstCard center, hallway to the library) is located on the second floor. The main hallway on this floor is crowded and is really a circulation space. On the first floor there are only meeting rooms. So I think that the centers are located on the second floor.
When you enter the EUC from the back side the stairs welcome you to go to the second floor. There are stairs left and right and they are shaped as some sort of circle. When you enter the second floor and you look down the hallway you see that this hallway, as the stairs, is completely symmetrical. There obviously is a balance between left and right. This symmetrical shape also spreads out a message: this building was built well-reasoned.
Beside the stairs there is another circular space in the EUC. It is just behind the entrance in the front of the building. You can see patterns on the floor and all the way up you see patterns in the lights. It looks quite similar to the Music Building. The entrance space in front and the staircase are the centers for me, because these are the two round-shaped elements in the building, both on one side. We have seen in earlier classes that circles are most of the times very important spaces on campus, especially inside buildings.
At the back side of the EUC (outside) there is a space with tables and chairs. It used to be an eating plays, so you can consider that as a center in those times. There also has been added an elevator to the building (see picture) a few years ago for people with a wheelchair.

Jackson Library
When I saw the library at first it attracted my attention that the building is asymmetrical. It looks like some parts have been added on over the years. In my opinion the center of the Library is in between the two parts that characterize the building. The side that faces College Avenue (with the temple in front, I will talk about that later) was built in the 1920's, in the same time period as for example Brown Building and Stone Building. The other side of the building, that faces Walker Avenue, was built later, probably in the 1960's or 1970's. The small space that I consider as the center is lower than any other part of the building, it is right in the middle of the two parts, and it is used as a kind of connecter between the two parts.
Also the little temple in front of the Library can be a centre. It is shaped in a classical style of the ancient Greek and Romans. To them a temple is considered as a sign of worship and knowledge. I think this represents the Library quite well.

When you are walking on campus you can recognize the Caf because of its white frames on both sides. You can also see these on top of the parking centers around campus. In my opinion the center of the Caf is definitely the staircase which leads to the second floor. Through the day students are coming in from both sides (side that faces College Ave and side that faces the fountain). They all walk towards the doors that lead to the staircase. This staircase is the place in the Caf where most people are moving during the day. It is the center exactly in the middle of the building. When you walk down the stairs and walks through the building in the direction of the fountain, the building looks quite symmetrical. On the left side you see the Mail Center and on the other side Spartan Market (including Taco Bell).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Minicity

In this post I want to tell you about my experience of the 'minicity' (campus) we've been studying.

We have been studying the Brown Building on Tate Street. This building is a music building. You can read that off the walls, where the names of famous composers are engraved (see picture). The building is shaped in a classical style; it has six capitals. Brown Building was built in the 1920's.

The Stone Building (School of Human Environmental Sciences) was built in the same time period as Brown. These two buildings show many similarities. Stone also looks like a very classical building and is also a block (shaped as a square or rectangle). On the other hand, buildings like McIver, Eberhart en Brian were built in the time period 1960's till mid 70's. These buildings look more functional than the classical ones and are not shaped like a block.

The building on 320 McIver Street is called the College of Human and Environmental Sciences. Economics was teached in this building and it used to be called the Home Management House. This is why the building looks like a dorm. Students were teached here how to run a house.

Then we studied the Music Building. There are two major towers in the Music Building were the entrances are. This building is a beat, but also has several beats inside, especially in the hallway. You can call them subbeats. The hallway floor consists of squares. These squares are matched up by the windows, which are also shaped as a square. The Music Building has some classical elements in it, like some pillars, but for the rest it looks very modern.

As the last one I want to discuss another beat on campus: the Caf (Dining Halls). In front of the Caf there is an important classical element (see picture); it is like a recognition for the students so that they know where the Caf is. This is convenient since the Caf is attended by many people every day. You can see this element also in the Parking Decks.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Foust Building

Hello everyone,

This is my first post on my blog for the class HSS 105-03.

On Thursday August 27th we met in front of the Foust Building on the UNCG campus to take a closer look at this fascinating building. Now it is called the College of Arts & Sciences, but it used to be the Administration Building. It was the main building on campus and was decorated with numerous American flags.

The Foust Building is the oldest building on campus. How can you see that? What are the features of this building? It looks a lot different than other buildings on campus, but why is it so different?

The first thing that attracted my attention were the round shapes (circles) in the front of the building. The front looks very classical, I associate it with the Roman style of art and architecture. There are two main towers in front of the building and two little towers in between on the roof. As you can see on the photographs the roof is gray and the building is made of red/brown stone. When I compare this to other buildings around campus, the color of stone of Foust is darker. Also lighter colors of stone (mainly white) are used in the front, especially to accentuate the round shapes.

After a while it became clear to me that mainly round shapes are used in the front of the building and mainly triangles at the back. This is very contrasting.

Let's talk about the windows. The windows are noteworthy. All windows are organised in pairs of two. Around the windows the color green is used in combination with red (green is also used just under the roof). This is a strange combination, two total different colors. It really accentuates the windows. The windows are shaped as rectangles.

As you can see in the pictures, the shape of the building is not a rectangle or square, because the front and the back of the building stick out a little.

Two other things that are obvious are the star things and the ventilation. The star things turned out to be earthquake ties. They go through the building all the way to the other side. These ties make the building stronger so they can resist to a possible earthquake.

When I compare this building to other buildings, Foust is lacking chimneys. Most of the other buildings that are located on College Avenue have those. When looking to the similar context the front of Foust Building is facing Spring Garden Street and one side faces College Avenue. Hardly none of the other buildings on College Avenue are located like this. Furthermore, as said before, the color of stone of Foust is darker and the building can in no way be seen as a square or a rectangle, where most buildings in the near environment are.

It is hard to imagine that every building was shaped like Foust Building at the beginning of the 20th century. Campus must have looked pretty in those times!

A pair of windows

The front that sticks out

The back that sticks out

The front view, amazing!!