Thursday, March 15, 2012

You've got me up against the wall

Any sets of photos from my travels or my wanderings will inevitably end up punctuated by lots of snaps of ostensibly mundane but enchanting things - walls, doors, and windows, for instance. Isolated from the hum-drum of street life, taken out of the context of their greater buildings, these details can be really lovely, an architectural 'moment' of intimacy. So, here's a (very small) sample of some of the many walls,
doors, and windows that I've collected, curated, and commented upon in the now and the not so distant past. Whether grand, humble, physically exquisite or poetically so, I hope you'll be charmed by these beautiful bits of brick...

To start, broken freshness that's more delightful than the ideal it was trying to be. A perfect crack in a perfect white wall!
Number ninetey-nine-and-one-half. I think the whimsical, magical charm of this doorway in Boston's Beacon Hill district speaks for itself!

Paint peeling and plants a little despondent, yet this one caught my eye as a light of homeliness and rather inner-city-cool. This snap is also from Beacon Hill, an area of historic, perfect loveliness. The window's sense of modernity, for it almost says warehouse conversion to me, and its shabbiness seem just a little out of place, but in a gloriously nonchalant way. Besides, I just love a row of mismatched pot plants, and am cultivating one on my very own window ledge.
From the inside, the front door of a North Melbourne home. Melbourne's Victorian terraces are the joy of my daily walks about the inner-city suburbs: the rows and rows of little cottages built on the cheap, or their wide, tall, grander cousins - I love them all. One of their many charms are the little mass-produced decorative adornments attached to the small cottages, those small pretensions of expense and aesthetic taste. I love the warm light that floods through the reddened glass around this entrance, and that touch of luxury its pattern provides.

These two are about dilapidation, privacy, and promise. The first, a door to an unused butcher's shop in Croydon, Adelaide, the second a private garden gate off a laneway of Melbourne's Carlton North. There's history behind these openings, and in their peeling paint. There's hope in their unlocked catches and behind their flaking boards.
I am in the middle of a long and passionate love affair with Liberty. Naturally, accidentally stumbling upon the back door of the London store, the very spot where their shoppable lovelies go in towards their new temporary homes on the hallowed shelves, left me a little bit electrified. It's functional and grungy back there, but I love the warehouse windows and that splash of iconic purple!
Is this a wall or a window? The very clever and very wonderful reflection of the Royal Exhibition Building on the sharp and shiny facade of the Melbourne Museum in Carlton Gardens.
A strangely pretty little window in the Tower of London. It seemed incongruous in that landscape of ancient stone and that history of imprisonment.
Our final stop. Appropriately enough, hopping on a train! The decorative ironwork of nineteenth-century railway stations never fails to take my breath away. This sinuous, organic, arched window is in one of the major stations in London. Due to advancing building technologies in the industrial age, cavernous spaces could suddenly be created by light, airy structures. To enter into such a space for the first time, stepping out of Victorian heaviness and languor, must have felt simply extraordinary.

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