Stable-ity

This is one of a few remaining 19th-century stables in the city – a historical city that seems hell-bent on building suburban-y townhouse modules on every vacant lot – and there is every likelihood that something as unique as this will be dematerialized for that very reason.

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But here it is, and someone liked it enough to play with its original form and update it simultaneously, with a raised roof accommodating a clerestory row, and a whimsical, geometric use of roof shingles as a facade design feature. It is a hybrid of its multiple pasts: a shelter for animals, a contractor’s warehouse, a storage shed, a produce and fish market, a parking garage, a polling place and an artist’s studio. Besides age, it has attitude, which the new buildings often lack, and it especially has spunk. It is as hip as it is hidden, squeezed in between the newly constructed suburban-ish boxes that occupy what had been the farmland it existed for, and the now-old-school-but-once-new interloping houses that resent the presence of the current ones.

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This old-timer has seen it all in terms of land use and is now the most venerable of fixtures in the neighborhood. It has an independent soul and refuses to give up its proud history. In its own quiet way, it is jaunty and free-spirited. Given a chance, it will outlast everything that surrounds it.

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