Monday, January 23, 2006

Alley way

alley way

Victorian buildings are punctuated by these wonderful arched passage ways. Although the architects and builders were keen to construct impressive facades and unbroken rows of brick or stone, they also paid careful attention to the ways in which they would link together, the ways in which various people would move through these urban spaces.

The passages are neither one thing nor another. Like indoor spaces they are covered; like outdoor spaces they are open. They are not exactly private, but then again they are never really public. Nor are they owned. They are shared. Passage ways are functional - ways of moving through buildings. In this way they are durational and liminal. They are neither here nor there.

The Victorian passage way was designed for use - for coal delivery and refuse collection - for getting round the back when access was required. Nowadays many of these passages have locked gates. In suburban areas they are used for storage. Bicycles and ladders clutter the walls, and for many people, the back door has lost its former significance. Callers always come to the front, anyway.

No comments: