Friday, March 9, 2012

Kansas City Design Week -- part 4: nonlinearity

FIRST OF ALL (and here is the nonlinearity): I want you to go to the first post I wrote on KCDW for This Big City blog and read it. It is about branding! Graphic texture! Go read it.

Also, I wanted to note (in case I didn't before) that it's thanks the Kansas City Development Council and Hotel Phillips (who apparently donated a bunch of rooms for various speakers/attendees of KCDW) that I was able to go on this trip at all. I am appreciative.

Now, on to discussing my fourth and final day at KCDW! Ironically, though this was an incredibly packed day (two events and driving home), I didn't end up taking too many pictures. 

In the morning/lunchtime I attended the "Design Psychology" event at Johnson County Community College. Guess what! JCCC is in Overland Park, which is waaaaaay south and west of downtown Kansas City, and also in KANSAS. I wanted to stop at Union Station before going, because if you Google "Kansas City" the first ten pictures or so are all Union Station. (I exaggerate, but you get my point.) It's also a cool point of reference, given that the last time my mom remembers driving by it, it was derelict and unused, but now they've renovated it and cleaned it up so it is both the actual Amtrak station and has a number of little shops and restaurants. It was pretty empty when I was there, but maybe mid-day on a Tuesday isn't its most bustling time. I love railroad stations. Except for North Station in Boston. I do not love that station. 

Entrance to Union Station, built in 1914, when there were twelve railroads going through KC.
See, to me, this ceiling pattern just screams "We're on the verge of Art Deco but we're not quite ready to make the leap." But maybe that's just the paint job.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Kansas City Design Week -- part 3: The sandwich

For various reasons yesterday (working on blog article, waiting on interview scheduling, etc.) I did not go out much yesterday. However, I did go to Arthur Bryant's to get a pulled pork sandwich, such that I would not have failed in my barbecue consumption duties.

It was very tasty.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Kansas City Design Week -- part 2: The West Bottoms

In the interest of getting something posted, this is going to be a picture-heavy, text-light entry about the walking tour of the West Bottoms neighborhood that I went on yesterday, led by the very knowledgeable Cydney Millstein, an architectural historian and preservation consultant who works in Kansas City. The vast majority of the information in this post came from her talk.
Sketched this while sitting in my car and waiting for the talk to begin. Not my best sketch, especially given that the wall actually said "STANDARD SEED CO./GRASS FIELD AND GARDEN SEED" rather than what I drew it as. . . . There's a monument to the railroad on the left and a monument to slaves who escaped through this neighborhood to Kansas just out of the frame on the left of that.
The West Bottoms is akin to Omaha's North Downtown or Old Market -- an industrial neighborhood with close ties to the river and the railroad, originally a home of factories, warehouses, and stores (and in both cases, one of the major train stations), which since the height of their commercial importance have fallen into disuse. In Omaha's case, the Old Market has largely been revamped into a trendy area of restaurants, boutiques, and expensive housing, while the North Downtown remains in a state similar to the West Bottoms -- a few artists' studios, a few stores, and a lot of buildings that are either abandoned or appear disused. (Unlike Omaha, the biggest stockyards in Kansas City were also found in the West Bottoms, whereas I am pretty sure Omaha's stockyards were mostly in the southern part of the city.)

1895 birdseye view of West Bottoms
1895 view of the West Bottoms

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Kansas City Design Week -- part 1

A view from my hotel window.

Well, first I'd like to extend an apology to anyone who at previous times has enjoyed reading my musings or looking through the pictures on my blog. I have been writing a ton about a ton of things, but unfortunately, it has not been on this blog.

In recent days I have written ~20 pages of my book, two short stories, drunk roughly my body weight in cinnamon tea, read a number of amazing books, and -- (and here we come to the point of this post) -- volunteered to cover a few events of Kansas City Design Week for This Big City blog.