Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tracing the Tracks: Opening the Gates

The train originally helped to bring industry for the first time to the Greensboro area. This helped the area develop quickly, since the train was the fastest way at the time to move large amounts of materials and people directly into the city. The train continued to fuel the industries in the area as time went on, as it was easy to bring in raw materials and send out the finished products to many areas quickly. Presently there is less need for the train for industrial purposes so a few of the branching out tracks are no longer in use and the main train station was moved to be closer to town so that people could get to the trains more easily. Now the trains are a very easy way to move from one place to another within North Carolina, and from there anywhere in the country if a person so desires.

The interstates that run through Guilford County, such as I40 and I85 are also easy ways to enter the area and are also Gates to the city. Aside from ground transportation, Piedmont Triad International Airport provides air transportation to many different places and is very close by.
Location listing; Atlanta, Charlotte, La Guardia, Philadelphia, Chicago, Newark, Wash. Dulles (IAD), Cincinnati, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Wash. National (DCA), Orlando Sanford, St. Pete/Clearwater, Memphis, and Miami.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Downtown Institutions

Center City Park was not originally planned for Greensboro, but instead was built two years ago and is a private park that is leased by the city to have public access. This area is easy to get to for city residents and allows for a bit of a break from the downtown hustle and bustle. It is a nice place to go for people who live in apartment complexes and do not have a yard of their own.

The Cultural Center provides an "avenue" connecting two parts of the city and is very easily accessible to both sides, and is also easy to walk through to get a quick view of the artistic areas inside. Aside from the smaller spaces along the sides of the center aisle which provide different creative outlets, there is also a lot of artwork hanging from the ceiling to be seen.

The dome in the central library is at the center and is where the main activity. The shelves of books all branch off from around the center area beneath the dome, which also allows a lot of light into the working space in the library.

When the Presbyterian Church was converted into the historical museum, a civic auditorium and library were both displaced. These were both important to the city, but by taking over the space to showcase the history of Greensboro, these spaces had to find a more suitable place to relocate, which hopefully allowed for renovation and a more specifically designed space than when they were part of the church. It also allowed for a new space that can show visitors so much of the important history of the city and encourage tourism.

The old library, now Elon law School, has a mcuh different layout than the new one. While there is again a dome, it is not central to the building, and the space seems much more restrictive instead of open. There is not as much light or room to flow. The staircase that still remains is small, while the stairs in the new library are quite large and make the building seem much easier to navigate. The museum also seems as if it would be hard to hold a library in, and that navifation would be difficult and confusing since the building is long and thin instead of one large, open space. The current location for the library seems to be the most suitable space.

Most of the buildings visited meet the street in the front. There is only a small sidewalk between them and the pavement, and they are parallel instead of caddy-corner. The public spaces are located on the interiors of the buildings, while the fronts are meant to draw people inside. They are mainly cultural interiors that help strengthen the definitions of Greensboro's values and the kind of people who live here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back to the Center

Elm St and Market St

Epitome District - The large buildings containing stores below and housing above form their own unique district on one end of Elm St. People in these areas have very quick access to the center of town, and all probably have fairly similar living situations in the tall buildings with many individual apartment units.

- Elm St and Market St seem to provide the fronts for the town. While not on the outskirts, everything major seems to happen along these two main roads and when the city first began they were the main ways to get to everything important, and everything else expanded from there.

Strips - While there is the main strip along Elm St. there are also mini strips in some of the alleys between buildings with their own sets of small shops.

Beats - Some of the shops and restaurants are completely unique to Greensboro, such as Natty Greene's. This restaurant has a history with the rest of the city, and is good enough that I received recommendations to eat there when I first arrived at college.

Stacks - There are many large parking decks downtown. They are very practical as the city needs to hold a lot of people on a daily basis, and stacking the cars is more space-efficient than using a large amount of surface area for a flat parking lot. It also makes all of the vehicles less visible and keeps them out of the way.

Sinks - The small alleyways in between some buildings form sinks. Some are empty, although one in particular actually served as a drainage area to clear water from the building rooftops.

Turf - The large government complex chose to take up a lot of extra space in comparison to the buildings in the center of town. There is a large courtyard out front with lawns and trees. It looks a bit nicer, but takes up a lot of space in order to separate itself from other places with extra turf.

"Food for Thought"

Wednesday, October 14. Food for Thought
This week's talk was about studying abroad in Peru. There was also a brief venture on the speaker's trip to Chile, but her study abroad experience was in Peru. She discussed the accommodations she had, the university where she studied, and some of the experiences she had in a foreign country. Some of the places she visited were very interesting, including Incan ruins and local towns. The people she got to meet influenced her in many ways, and she got to interact with students not only from Peru, but also from many other countries. Their common language was Spanish, and being thrown into an environment with very little English helped improve her foreign language greatly.

There was also some discussion of how affordable and entirely attainable a study abroad experience is for any student who wishes to go. I myself would be interested in going to South America, especially since my foreign language from high school is Spanish. I may be looking more at Argentina though, and maybe make a trip to see some Argentinean polo ponies.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Blandwood is a building that was originally a two-story farmhouse, which has been added upon twice as it usage was changed. When adding onto an already existing structure, it is hard to make the new addition mesh well with what is already standing. Since this structure has two additions to the original house, the three separate parts are all extremely different. The architects all did construction fundamentally different, and sometimes not in the most practical way for the area in which the house was built. For example, the ceilings in bedrooms the newest section of the house are very low, which is not the best idea for the warm North Carolina climate.

The Morehead family probably found it important to keep updating the structure in order to make sure their wealth was easily noticeable. The Italiante style of load-bearing brick and stucco is not typical of the surrounding area. There is a large tower on the front of the building, which is very noticeable to anyone passing by. The stucco on the inside of the building has very ornate patterns in it. The chandeliers in the front rooms are large and very fancy. There is a set of matching furniture with many different pieces, which was very expensive at the time. All of the trim has feux finishing to make it look even more expensive at first glance. There is also a large sideboard in the dining room to show off how well off the family was.

People in the surrounding town probably took a lot of interest in the unique-looking building on the edge of town. Although it looked new and had recent additions, the building was originally constructed in 1795 and predates Greensboro itself. This would have lessened interest slightly, but I assume as the new sections were added onto the house, many people would have been intrigued about what it looked like on the inside. This would have brought a lot of attention to the Governor's family and how much money they had.