2/16/2009

Peek-a-boo! I Can't See You...

Posted by MJ

(Images - Ulrich City Center Main St Facades, Lockport Ny Feb '09)

Let's take an easterly stroll down Main St past Ulrich City Center (UCC) and notice our environment:
  • ReJuvenere Medical Spa - Expensive looking drapes fully covering windows with small seasonal display in front of them.
  • YWCA - Frosted window/door coverings that give the appearance of an empty building
  • Metropolitan (former) - Front drapes were closed even while in business.
  • Taboo - Light drapes pulled back to give wide open view to the inside
  • Wilhelm & Ashe Home - Open view into store and displays
  • Blue Door Salon - Open view inside to a cutting station that I have never seen used.
  • Empire State College - Frosted covered window - can see thru door to hallway
  • As for being able to walk in the "front" door: only Wilhelm and Ashe Home gives that privilege.

As we strive for a Main St once again full of life we need to be aware of the surroundings and which of them promote or kill it. UCC is a positive anomaly in WNY. A quasi-urban development with window filled transparent facades and parking hidden within mid-block. While being constructed I knew the "safe-easy" choice of interior layouts and access biased toward the interior parking would be chosen. I was not disappointed.

Street activity needs varying uses with transparent store fronts that engage the street users and beckons them in here and there. Most of this facade is as useful as putting down a back of a Walmart, although much more visually pleasing.

Requiring a certain percentage of windows on a facade is only useful when you also require them to be open. Once open they give a feeling of life, safety, and welcoming. Once the windows are open we can start appealing to be able to enter the building from the street. ;)

A thank you to Taboo and Wilhelm and Ashe Home. Your store fronts actually add to the life on Main St. It's always a pleasure to walk or drive by and see life within the walls.

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