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Thursday, September 24, 2009

High Atop Crosley

For many in Cincinnati, no building better represents abandonment, urban decay, and the need for preservation than the Crosley Building in Camp Washington. In its shadows lie the remnants of empty warehouses and vacant factories, the famous (now demolished) Cincinnati Workhouse was a block away, and the massive 800,000 square foot former (now abandoned awaiting demo) Kahn's plant is just around the corner. The Mill Creek Valley, and more specifically Camp Washington, is one of Cincinnati's most endangered neighborhoods because of the loss of manufacturing and industry. Not all is doom and gloom, however. More buildings are occupied than abandoned, renovations are currently taking place (at places like the former International Paper building), and a prime example of adaptive reuse is immediately next door to the Crosley Building: Machine Flats.

That said, another visit to the Crosley Building was necessary. There is a serenity to any industrial area at night.. and perched in a crow's nest 150 feet above one may very well be the best way to experience it.

Crosley Rooftop

Fellow photographer Gordon Bombay working atop the abandoned tower, with the lights of downtown Cincinnati illuminating the sky from behind Clifton and Fairview Heights.

The Mill Creek Valley

Looking South from the tower at the Mill Creek Valley - the center of Cincinnati's industrial economy. Click for the hi-res version.

The Mill Creek Valley

Looking North up the Mill Creek Valley at the I-75/I-74 interchange and Northside, with Cincinnati State College at center. Click for the hi-res version.

Colerain Avenue in Camp Washington

The lively Colerain Avenue runs through the heart of Camp Washington, past Camp Washington Chili and Hopple Street.

The roof of the Crosley Building

Looking down at the multiple roof levels of the Crosley facility. The work of many urban decay photographers arch-nemesis (taggers) stain the walls of the building.

The ladder to the roof

Through this dark shot, one can vaguely make out the shape of a rusty 30 foot ladder that wraps around the massive empty water tank that occupies the abandoned tower. This was one of the most exciting climbs of Local Architecture's history. There was also a ghost that passed me while I took this shot. Further investigation into that is coming soon.

The ladder to the roof

And the view back down into darkness.

The Crosley building side view

Does heaven exist somewhere behind the Crosley Building?

The Crosley building's 10 story tower

And finally, the vantage point of the previous images: the 10 story tower of the Crosley Building.

While abandonment could ultimately be called a failure of architecture, there is a beauty and mystique that comes with that failure. We at Local Architecture and sites like it all across the internet hope for redevelopment and renewed prosperity, but seek to capture the feel of spaces that are no longer utilized by people. We will continue to do so.

The Crosley building

Monday, September 21, 2009

LocalArch on Capture Cincinnati

Be sure to visit the Capture Cincinnati website and vote on photos from photographers all over Cincinnati. Many of the photos from this site are there, and a few are sneak previews of future posts. There's only one week left to vote there!

Also, Local Architecture is now on Twitter, be sure to follow at http://twitter.com/LocalArch

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Auditorium Revisited

A few months ago, Local Architecture discussed a certain auditorium on a Cincinnati area university campus that is perpetually nearing demolition. Thanks in part to a statewide tuition freeze, a global economic recession, but mostly the preservation efforts of the Local Architecture blog and its loyal followers, this building still stands. Local Architecture correspondent Dr. Venkman came across this collection of new photos:

The main level of the auditorium; there is a balcony above with more seating and the control booth.

The main lobby, black and white photo.

The Library of Obed J. Wilson has been allowed to fall apart since the building closed.

Abandoned support spaces in the buildings auxiliary wing; you can almost see the ghosts of 40's style pinup girls preparing for the big show.

The main hallway on the top floor of the buildings auxiliary wing.

Looking down from the front row of balcony seating.

Abandoned junk now fills what were once places of learning.

With a massive, modern, and beautiful music and theater complex, the university sees little need for this auditorium. Sadly, it is only a moderately attractive theater. The facade is located prominently atop a hill along a heavily traveled street. This is one of the university's most visible locations, and the architects treated it as so through massing and art deco ornamentation. The interior of the building has been allowed to decay substantially in the decade of abandonment and disuse, despite the fact that the buildings utilities are all still running (heat, water, electricity, and alarms all running up costs while no one uses the building).

There is no doubt that whatever replacement may come in the future will be a great addition to the growing schools collection of signature architecture. However, in these troubling financial times the cost of demolition and replacement versus the cost of renovation should begin to have a greater impact on decisions regarding abandoned, decaying structures.

The view from the roof.

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