Detroit’s Beautiful Ruins
October 1, 2012
I see the pictures of Michigan Central Station (2) and the repurposed Michigan Theater (5) and I believe with these two photos alone the impression Witold Rybczynski the author of this blog is trying to make is indeed successful. His narration is almost unnecessary; by stating only the name of the building paired with the title he chose creates a wonder powerful enough that even I wanted to research more on the buildings in his photographs most notably number 5, the Michigan Theater. I’m not sentimental by any stretch of the imagination however seeing as the time period of this building is in my mind the most interesting in all of American architecture I feel a pang of regret that I was never able to see the theater in its original state. Assuredly after seeing these photos Detroit is now on my list of cities to visit and this building will be paramount to my investigation of these “ruins” for my own record (I’ve been before however the circumstances were a bit sour and the stay was less than lengthy). Rybczynski is an architecture critic for Slate Magazine, his employment no doubt affords him the time to seek out topics of this sort; specialized but universally interesting I would say. The viewer doesn’t need to be educated on the history of the buildings in the photographs to understand the gravity of their current state. Rybczynski’s blog is most certainly a moment to moment transition style and even though no text is required for people to realize that the buildings presented are on a downward slide I would say that for true comprehension and for reasons of credibility the relationship of the pictures and text is interdependent. Picture specific could work but important information would be missing and truly interested parties would be found lacking in their ability to follow up on their curiosity.