Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Building of the Month: Pink Apartment Block

 ©2012 Matthew Jones.

I set these two photos aside from yesterday's post because I think they're actually two nice pictures, if I do say so myself, and of the many long-procrastinated ideas for this blog, I thought a 'Building of the Month' feature would be kind of fun. So here it is.

Obviously a pink building is strange anywhere, its implications of a certain juvenile femininity, perhaps, or even a twee tropical style. Whatever exuberance may have been intended or is possible to interpret is muted by the dark skies, pot-holed dirt boulevard and over-pruned tree. I see the resulting image as forlorn, in an unintentional way that compounds its melancholy. Some of Glenna Gordon's photos hold this aspect, such as this one, among others.

Tiling of buildings as a finish is common in Monrovia, as in other parts of tropical Africa, and the range of tiles that gets imported to Liberia (as with many categories of imported goods to West Africa) tends to be low-quality stuff from Dubai and China. In this example, I imagine these may have been more intended for bathroom interiors than multi-story façades. The builders obviously continued the theme with the paint job on the exterior wall ("fence") and elevated generator house. Note lastly the tinted glass windows, shaded much like the rain-heavy clouds, and balcony rails.

This building around Warren Avenue and 18th Street in Sinkor, went up through 2011-12 and is an example of the rapid in-fill on non-prime sites, away from the major streets and beaches, that have now experienced dense, high-end construction. This block  is now occupied, although I've never been inside and I think that ex-patriates from Asia, who may or may not be the building's owners, live there.

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