Concrete Revelations

 Hopkins describes some of the architectural details of Church Street South.

Hopkins describes some of the architectural details of Church Street South.

Monday, August 21, 2017 - Jonathan Hopkins stood on a grassy hill overlooking a nearly vacant housing complex and pointed out some of its buildings’ distinguishing architectural characteristics.

A mixture of smooth and rough concrete blocks at the end walls mimicked a Colonial brick feature called quoining. The two-over-two double-hung windows with lintels and protruding cornices recalled a popular type of Georgian window design. The individual staircases and private outdoor spaces provided a modicum of privacy for tenants when the 301-unit complex was more fully occupied.

This coherent and innovative architectural design is still visible, Hopkins argued, if you look closely at the buildings themselves that comprise Church Street South, the notorious subsidized housing complex near Union Station that has been almost completely vacated after decades of mismanagement, crime, and neglect have reduced the complex to a dangerous state of disrepair for its recently-evacuated, low-income tenants.

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