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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Is Your Austin Vanishing?

Soon a bland corporate hotel chain revered the world over for its predictability will stand in place of this textural, colorfully cheeky block of individuality, replacing the contrasts of angles and styles and skies that exist now along Congress and 2nd. A corporate logo stamped on countless buildings will take the place of the gaudy vibrancy of Tesoros and the Joseph's mural and will cast its own lengthy shadows on the sparkling Frost Tower.

That's Austin, Vanishing.

What's next? Post your concerns for what's uniquely-Austin, yet poised for visual mediocrity--when you fear your favorite bit of Austin eye-candy is about to be overtaken by bland new development, comment here.

I've been photographing the visual derring-do that is Austin's homegrown architectural charm in my Vanishing Austin series since 2004. I've got 40 images to date, many juxtaposing the old against the new; and sadly, many more in the photography pipeline to go. Your thoughts about this series, and your suggestions for places you'd like to see honored in the series, are welcomed here.

2 comments:

JStuart said...

Hopefully City of Austin Downtown Master Planners will identify and understand that all of the various historical art and architectural icons ARE significant contributors to what defines 'quality of life' in Austin.

http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/greatstreets/

http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/downtown/designguidelines.htm

http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/zoning/downloads/np_contacts.pdf

Contact: Jim Robertson, 974-3564;
jim.robertson@ci.austin.tx.us

As with Historical Society protections it should be within the perview of local government to at least inventory and designate these amenities for review before destruction. Even trees in Autin get that much consideration.

Keep collecting the great Vanishing Austin photographs... they may be the only reference for retrofitting this town once the citizenry wakes up!

Jann Alexander at AustinDetails.com said...

great resources you've offered, a big thanks. this is just the kind of feedback I can use--to broaden the audience to what's at risk in allowing pell-mell development to overwhelm Austin's unique character. Austin, a city of firsts--woudn't it be great if it could also be the first city to allow its rich visual heritage to dominate the urban planning process?