Ruby Slippers

Posted by & filed under #ArchiTalks, ARCHITECTURE, Cycling, myStory.

The following is a part of the #ArchiTalks series wherein a topic is suggested and a group of architect bloggers each give their take on the subject.

The topic this month is “Favorite Place”

I am a bit of a home body. I do not get out much. And, unlike most architects, i do not travel. This is due more to circumstances than choice. But regardless, it is what it is. So the topic of my favorite place is a bit of tough one. Because, it is likely that i have not yet found it.

First Christian Church Mansfield OHioThat being said, i have been participating in #30DaysOfBiking, a month long commitment to ride my bicycle everyday during April. Regardless of weather. Regardless of distance. Regardless of time.  To help provide bicycles to children in need through Free Bikes for Kidz. If you follow my blog at all, you likely will have noticed daily posts over the last 28 days chronicling my adventures around Mansfield.

So what does this all have to do with my favorite place?

I have almost always been content to live in Mansfield since we moved here in 1997. The only time i actively tried to leave was during the period of 2008-2010 when i had no gainful employment and was not fully committed to working on my own. But i never really could say that i loved living here. That has been slowly changing over the last few years. Through community involvement, we have become deeply invested in the city. There really is a lot going on for a city our size. We have a symphony, a dance troupe, an opera company, skiing, Malabar Farm, Mohican State Park, an art center, a burgeoning local music scene, a downtown that is steadily being revitalized, a children’s museum, etc… Sure our school system needs improvement. And yes our infrastructure is in disrepair. But we have we have a rich history of industry and innovation.

Despite all this, i always lamented about the state of architecture in the city. Our architecture does not seem to reflect our history. Most buildings built over the last 40+ years are lackluster at best. And the old buildings are just old. But by taking some slow rides through the city over the last 29 days, i have come to a greater appreciation of the architectural heritage in Mansfield. I ventured into parts of town that i had never been to in the nearly 20 years of living here. I rode on streets that i never new existed. I saw some great buildings. I some some decent buildings. I saw some odd buildings. All of which taken together weave a rich tapestry of Mansfield’s architectural history. But most importantly, i saw potential.

I see a bright future of economic recovery. Not on the back of our former industrial self. But rooted in the a discovery of our identity. An identity that celebrates of our history, but does not pine for it. That respects the old while giving way to the new. That latches on to our roots of innovation and propels us into the future.

So while travel is nice and there are beautiful places to be discovered. There really is no place like home.

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More images from my daily bike rides can be seen on the #30DaysOfBiking posts.


To find out about other architect’s favorite places, follow the links below.


Marica McKeel – Studio MM
Do You Have a Favorite Place?

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect
favorite place

Evan Troxel – Archispeak Podcast / TRXL
My Favorite Place

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC
ArchiTalks meets #ThisOldHouse

Andrew Hawkins, AIA – Hawkins Architecture, Inc.
My Favorite Placein the Wild

Jes Stafford – Modus Operandi Design
Making Space and the Favorite Place

Michael Riscica – Young Architect
MIT Chapel – My Favorite Place

Cinque Terre

Eric Wittman – intern[life]
my [first] favorite place

Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture
Where Do You Like To Go When You Aren’t Working?

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect
Favorite Place(s)

Cormac Phalen – Cormac Phalen

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect
Favorite Place

Meghana Joshi – IRA Consultants, LLC
Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Jeremiah Russell, AIA – ROGUE Architecture
favorite place: #architalks 5th edition

Mark R. LePage – Entrepreneur Architect
My Favorite Place

Tara Imani – Tara Imani Designs, LLC
Favorite Place – Architalks 8

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