St. Louis' Lafayette Square by Serhii Chrucky

Lafayette Park, located just southwest of downtown, is the oldest park in the city of St. Louis. It is square in shape, much like other town squares and urban parks from the early 19th century. The surrounding neighborhood is called Lafayette Square -- development began in the 1850s, but most of what is there today was built in the aftermath of a devastating 1896 tornado.

The neighborhoods south of downtown from Lafayette Square to Soulard and Benton Park are excellent examples of the Victorian-era American city, and are easily some of the most picturesque places in the St. Louis metropolitan area.  On my last visit, I photographed most every building that faces Lafayette Park with the exception of two or three buildings on the southern end.

Milwaukee Avenue from Spaulding to Pulaski by Serhii Chrucky

There was one day of nice(ish) weather last week which gave me the opportunity to get started on an idea I've been planning for the last few months. Beginning now as winter winds down and going through to the fall, I'm going to make an attempt to do what I'm calling "City Surveys." I will select a single street, or a bounded area (like a square mile) that I think is interesting, and photograph that area in detail. Although I intend to expand this outside of Chicago as much as possible, it will skew pretty heavily since I do live here, after all. Also, don't expect long, annotated essays in the vein of a certain earlier project of mine. KISS -- Keep It Simple, Serhii. Hopefully it'll yield some good stuff.

For the first installment, I decided to take a look at Milwaukee Avenue, a major commercial arterial, at the crossover between the Logan Square and Avondale neighborhoods. Over the last fifteen or so years, there has been a wave of gentrification emanating from River West, pushing northwest along Milwaukee Avenue, subsuming Noble Square, Wicker Park, Bucktown, and most recently, Logan Square. New development and the commercial turnover that comes with it, seems to fizzle out just after Spaulding Avenue. I began there, attempting to document every building until Pulaski Road. I may have missed a few, and the light was unfavorable on the south/west side of the street, but this should provide a decent overview of what this stretch of road looked like before the inevitable deluge of gastropubs, boutiques, and various other overpriceries.  Viva Polonia!

Gary State Bank by Serhii Chrucky

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Last month, some of my colleagues and I took a trip to Gary, Indiana to take a look inside the second tallest building in the city, the Gary State Bank. Designed in 1927 by Ivar Naess, the building is mostly vacant save for a branch of Centier Bank, although I understand there are redevelopment plans in the works. On to the photos...

The office levels were a 1970s time warp.

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There was some photogenic vintage elevator equipment in the penthouse. Still in use!

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The bank vault was totally intact, a reminder of an era before electronic security systems and the dephysicalisation of currency. 

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And finally, stellar views from the roof of U.S. Steel's Gary Works as well as the surrounding city.

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New Website Design by Serhii Chrucky

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I changed the scope of this website today, concentrating on commercial architectural work. As you can see, I also added a blog component to the site, something I've never incorporated in the past. We'll see how it goes!