Week 1: Neighborhood Catalog

A unique component of the Bonner + Stayner proposal is the acquisition of distressed properties within the Triangle. In order to understand which homes to select for acquisition we made a photographic catalog of the existing structures within the neighborhood. Many of the properties are in poor to condemnable condition, but the texture and colors are iconic for the south Florida landscape. I parked my car at one end of the Triangle and systematically photographed the houses along a street per day a la Bernd and Hilla Becher. What I learned from this process is that Opa-locka is extremely flat, homes are typically multi-family, and there is a standard pitched roof. Over 75% of the homes in the area fit this architectural typology. As I finished this exhaustive method of photography, a middle aged man approached me, average height, light brown skin, heavy scowl. He was at maximum, 1 foot away from my face.  “Are you a cop?” he asks. I laughed and responded, “No man, I’m not a cop; I’m just taking some pictures for a project I’m working on”. Still unconvinced he asked, “What project?” I told him that “I’m taking pictures of all the homes in the Triangle to create a historical database of an impoverished neighborhood, otherwise ignored”. With his interest now piqued he responded “It’s about time someone cared. This neighborhood is [expletive].”

-- Germane Barnes

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