Some of the happiest memories of my childhood are of going to the local hardware store with my Dad. My Dad loved to tinker and fix things around the house; it gave him pleasure to work with his hands. Both of us viewed the hardware store as a treasure trove. My passion for architecture was surely encouraged by seeing all of the findings and supplies arrayed on the shelves in the small, dimly lit shop on bustling 18th Avenue in 1950's Brooklyn.
The hardware store was a long, narrow room; its only light seemed to emanate from a smoke wreathed bulb hanging from a wire above the counter where all the business transactions took place. The small space smelled of tobacco, oil and turpentine. Jars of shiny brass screws and dull, silvery metal washers that looked like coins were stacked on dusty shelves. Coils of rubber tubing and rolls of thick brown twine were piled precariously to the ceiling rafters. Pipe parts with intricate threads and that were embossed with company names intrigued me. Brooms, yardsticks, paint stirrers and long wooden dowels were in every corner. The patterns, textures and forms I saw in that store still inspire me to look at architecture for its construction details. Nails, joins, and other parts of a structure contribute to its appearance as well as its stature.
Recently I visited a plumbing supply house. This object caught my eye and took me back to my youngest recollections of the hardware store in Brooklyn, NY. The counter person asked me what I was taking pictures of. "Something beautiful," I replied.
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