Willamette Street looking north, March 1959 (image source: University of Oregon Libraries, photo by Marion Dean Ross)
Currently on display in the windows of the Octagon is “The City,” an exhibit of intriguing photographs contrasting “then and now” views of downtown Eugene. The exhibit is one of what is hoped by AIA-Southwestern Oregon and Architects Building Community to be an ongoing series devoted to topics of general interest to the public about architecture and urban design.
Historic City Photography
What often fades quickly from memory is what physically existed before and what has changed. Eugene is not an old city but it already has many layers. Its urban form has been surprisingly dynamic. Stories and memories live on, and the locations of familiar streets remain the same, but individual buildings and the streetscapes they form have changed in remarkable ways.
The images of “The City” allow us to observe the fourth dimension of city experience by focusing on a few of Eugene’s primary city streets at different points in history. AIA-SWO member firm Rowell Brokaw Architects assembled the exhibit by selecting historic photographs from the collections of the University of Oregon Libraries under a Creative Commons License. Rowell Brokaw’s motivation for the project is derived from the firm’s commitment to the betterment of cities and its fascination with their changes over time.
“The City” is on public display at the Octagon, located at 92 East Broadway in downtown Eugene, through May 31, 2013.