Category Archives: educational

Georgia Historic Preservation Handbook

I was given the what-for a while ago for not telling my mother about it, I can’t believe I haven’t yet shared it here!

The handbook is part of the reason I was hired at the Georgia Trust, I did the design of course, and made some editorial contributions as well. The handbook is intended for Georgia citizens primarily, an educational tool for understanding what historic preservation is all about, what it means in your community, what it can do in your community, your property, and why history, and preservation of our built environment is important. It also includes plenty of good practical information on working with local historic districts (and what they are), easements, laws and tax incentives. Cause we all want to know how we personally will benefit financially.

It was released this past September, but in its online downloadable (or not) format, it is highly updatable and the plan is to update on a regular (bi-annual?) basis. The link should always be the same. If you’ve got any additions please let Carmie McD at the Fox Theatre Institute know, she’s in charge.


transit corridor

how do you define a transit corridor? Some folks are coming up with math problems, that looks like graphs, when you get this much of this, this many grocery stores, this many offices, this much accessibility, it is considered a corridor. what?? I think they are over-thinking it. I look at a map and say, there, there’s my corridor. to be more scientific I’ve actually looked up the census block maps and used census block groups as my established boundaries. For me, it’s the neighborhoods along a set line of transit. go figure.


Roswell, for a change.

Thursday through Sunday I lived in North Atlanta for a change, staying with Aunt D in Sandy Springs and commuting each day to Roswell for the Preservation Conference and the Georgia Trust’s Spring Ramble. It was a pretty good weekend, but I came home beat each night and struggled to get a little schoolwork done and then wake up and do a little more while i had a cup of coffee before heading 10 miles north on Roswell Rd. Not a bad commute at all.

But what did I learn?

“Reduce Reuse Recycle!”
the original green
“Reuse, Reinvest, Retrofit” (um…)
U = 1/R
old single-panes are about 1R, new windows might be 3R, but your walls are 13R, so… why bother.
from an environmental standpoint, foam insulation might not be so great cause it takes forever to break down (but wouldn’t that be ok if you intend to keep it in you walls forever?)
you don’t REALLY need insulation in your walls anyway, ceiling and floors, and keep DRAFTS out around windows.
what about a thermostat that modulates interior temp with outdoor temp? yes!
smart thermostats.

most exciting thing I walked away with was a talk by this woman with Partners for Sacred Places, perhaps it’s time I start going to church again, but churches have been coming up a lot lately, and I am interested in them. I’m interested in their role in the community, the preservation of their historic structures, their sanctuaries, and the evolving needs of a modern church and whether they want pews or chairs (like St. Bart’s did, that’s on my list to inspect on my next trip to nyc). Figuring out personal faith is not something I’ll explore here, this is a very secular take on church.

That said, Ms. Elizabeth T was a cheerleader for church community. How inspiring it was to hear of the ways this organization works with church communities to revitalize their mission, their spirit and, maybe in all that, their buildings. Sacred spaces serve so many more people than their congregations and Partners for Sacred Places brings the church and the community together, to revitalize the church with their community’s needs in mind. On a more practical note, if an organization can claim that it serves X% of non-members it is considered a community organization/building and can claim more governmental aid and grants. My notes are sporadic and with no particular project in my reach, I was just generally inspired, floating high on her Ms. T’s enthusiasm.

The warm oatmeal cookies on Friday morning were my favorite.
also, working at the bar. the Trust gets assigned the best tasks.

too many counties

I just discovered part of the reason why Georgia has so many counties, we’ve just had too many governors that needed something named after them!

this is the Table of Contents page taken from the “Georgia Governors’ Gravesites Field Guide”


(written Dec 6, 2011, as i studied for an exam)

I just learned something else. (Thanks to Ching’s A Visual Dictionary of Architecture and not to paying attention in class or doing the study guide or anything)
Did you know that FUSES are “a device containing a strip of fusible metal that melts under the heat produced by excess current, thereby interrupting the circuit”? So basically, a fuse is a safety switch. These days we have breakers which do the same thing—act as a safety switch, flipping off when too much voltage runs through—they just are reusable unlike the fuses that had to be replaced.

Now, that grounded wire. I get what it DOES and why, I just don’t get HOW it does it.

fun at the Library

well, GSU Library is closed today but GSU students can get into Emory’s library so here i am. It is a LOVELY place! so many big tables to spread out on and so empty on the Saturday before thanksgiving. It took me a while to find the one working computer to use the library catalog but now i am on a roll, moving down the tower from the 7th floor to the 6th to the 4th to find the books i need and this is how it’s done:

valley view

You would think i’d’ve had a chance to write about Valley View by now but no such space of time has presented itself, so for now i will just post this, cause i know you want to know what they hell i am doing in school, and especially on those saturdays i’ve spent up in Cartersville and come back glowing with excitement from. It’s partly the crisp cool autumn air of north Georgia, but also the discovery of this house inspection, in this case, going around the exterior with H, peering in cracks while taking [very important] measurements of exterior elements. You can tell it makes me happy right?

inspecting valley view, by Ed

No Mas es no mas.

class blog repost
The building sits on the corner of Huff Rd and Foster St on the west side of Atlanta near the waterworks (on the same side street as Forsyth Fabrics and the Goat Farm). This area, and Huff Rd in particular, appears to have been an area of neglect for some time. Although most of the west side is now coming back in leaps and bounds, the progress goes on alongside still-abandoned properties: a new Anthropologie, a snazzy restaurant, a graffiti encrusted, chain-link-fenced-off warehouse… In this area we see Jakle’s growth and decay “going on simultaneously” very well illustrated.

Back to No Mas, the signage is mostly intact, telling us that this place had something to do with film production, supplying studio set accessories like lighting and furniture for production companies. Supplies in general are a reasonable enterprise for this side of town that has been, and still is, the supply support for local business (how to describe businesses that mostly serve the business community? paper supply companies for copy shops, endless fabric warehouses, rugs, curtains for interior designers, statuary for landscapers…).

But that’s not what you’d this it was, from the street it looks like a Mexican restaurant and with all the bright colors it may take a second glance to notice that it’s even abandoned. A pool sits in the front lawn, cracked and broken, a gateway awaits you at the top of long stair leading the building, you’d think you were someplace ancient except that on closer inspection the elegant tiles look cheap, a product of the last few years and not, perhaps, meant to last after all. Still, though the pool is broken and the cracks in the sidewalks are filled with weeds tall enough to inhibit your passage, and the landscaped plants have given over to jungle growth, there is a sense that this place was abandoned well before it’s time, arrested in the middle of a vibrant life.

What happened? Did a small business try to bite off more than it could chew, outdo itself when they moved into a new building? Or did the money just disappear, due to bad investments, a swindling owner, developer or the mafia? The billboard that sits tackily just feet above the makes me think the owner/developer has their fingers in many pies and when this enterprise failed they just found a way to utilize it for ad space. At any rate, es ist No Mas.

how to hop a fence

Well, I turned in my BeltLine research paper last wednesday and it wasn’t pretty. I’ve gotten between 3-6 hours of sleep each night since, not much different than before, which is the main reason I didn’t ask for an extension, I wouldn’t’ve had time to give it attention again until after next wednesday, and then I’ve got a bazillion other things to attend to: freelance jobs, sleep, and weddings to go to.

There was one bright spot in my paper (a few maybe):

“…after the suburbs”

a direct repost from the class blog

The title of this exhibit, “…After the Suburbs” really asks us to contemplate what will come, well, after. While many works are statements on suburbia itself—Travis Shaffer’s windowless facades and Shiela Pree Bright’s photo with blossoming bradford pears on a suburban street—it seems the core of the show’s question is answered by James Griffioen’s Feral Houses and Pandra Williams’ moss chair. Both Pandra and Karen Tauches (curator) explained this re-naturalization as a way nature is taking back over in some corners of our urban environment. In fact, Pandra contends that the world we’ve built is very high maintenance, and if we don’t watch it, if we don’t keep our chairs in climate controlled living rooms, nature will start to grow on them, actually bringing life to these inanimate man-made objects. I suppose it is just nature’s way.

moss chair ferns urban decay

It just takes a little lawn-mowing negligence to see the risk your property has succumbing to the wildness of invasive plants, which brings us to the urban decay pictured in parts of Detroit by James Griffioen. I love that he calls the houses “feral,” for they are, they’re wild things now and belong in the wild. Poison ivy waits to tickle your knees and snakes haunt the dark corners near the house. Inside, if there still is even an “inside,” squirrels and rats are storing nuts and raccoons are making nests.

So what does this say about where the suburban age is going and what it might look like in the future? In some instances we have people who are actually encouraging the re-naturalization of their suburban property—Karen mentioned a fellow in California, but right here in Atlanta, Duane Marcus and his wife have upset suburbia by farming on their property: Funny Farm. While I don’t think the suburbs and their bradford pears are going anywhere soon, i do think the movement to bring more nature into the urban environment is making significant inroads. Whether it’s folks tilling in their front lawns, organizations like Trees Atlanta making sure we have things growing along our sidewalks, or projects like NYC’s Highline (pictured) which creates a highly orchestrated meeting of nature, urban decay, and the city. Still, isn’t even this recreation just another attempt to control?