Today’s pattern pics come straight from north Denver, where my son Gus is performing in a play at the Bug Theater.
The Bug is a cute old theater, built in 1912 as a nickelodeon movie house. According to the website:
The theatre now known as The Bug survived multiple incarnations and more than 25 years of dormancy before local artists Chandler Romeo and Reed Weimer renovated the building in 1994 and founded the Bug Performance & Media Art Center (BPMAC), a non-profit organization dedicated to serving Denver audiences by facilitating the development and presentation of diverse arts and cultural programming.
You can see how the various incarnations impacted the building in some strange ways. Here’s an old pic (again, from their website, thanks Bug) that shows what it looked like originally.
When you get up close to the building, you can see that the original tile extends out beyond the wall (apparently built in the 50s), and that the wall was built at an angle.
Look at this great tile. It’s exactly the same as the tile border as in the Grow store. We always speculated that the Grow store used to be a barbershop or apothecary, but apparently that same style of tile was used in theaters also. I’d never seen these tiny circular tiles before.
Here’s an up-close of the 50s wall. I love this style of wall…but why did they put it at an angle? Was the architect trying to “modernize” the building when they enclosed the lobby? And look at the interesting pattern in the piece of steel between the sections of the building.
This large metal floor panel could have been just flat, but instead it has two unusual patterns pressed into both sides.
At night, the right-hand panel glows with light, because some of those circles are filled with a thick glass. You can see where they’re broken out in the photo above. Underneath the doors is what looks like a spider-webby stairway that presumably goes under the theater, and a little clamp lamp that someone put under there, to make the panel glow.
Next door to the bug is an environmental consulting firm and a little gallery where my friends Sarah and Kelton met years ago. The consulting firm has nice decorative steel window bars, a little bullet hole, and a lovely manhole cover in the front sidewalk.
And, for the last north Denver pattern, a close-up of the building across the street, which was also apparently “modernized” in the 50s with the addition of a stone facade.
We have a book at home called “How Buildings Learn” by Stewart Brand (of Whole Earth Catalog fame, and now founder of an interesting organization called The Long Now Foundation which was founded “…to provide counterpoint to today’s “faster/cheaper” mind set and promote “slower/better” thinking, [in order to] creatively foster responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years…”).
Anyway, the How Buildings Learn book discusses these kinds of issues. Brand essentially argues that buildings are almost like Darwinian mechanisms, in that they have to change and “grow” to adapt to human needs and environmental and economic conditions.