The site I am analyzing is the Wonder Bread Factory located at 641 S Street NW, Washington, DC, 20001. The oldest section of the building was constructed in 1913 (iStrategyLabs), and the other two sections were added to the building in 1915 and 1922. This once magnificent Wonder Bread factory later transformed into an abandoned crack hub during the 1960’s to 1990’s and is now standing as an office building. The left side of the building had a huge “ISL” sign outside the door representing the IStrategy Labs that were residing in the building now. The right side of the building was occupied by a nonprofit organization known as “YFU,” the Youth For Understanding USA.
When I arrived at the location, I was taken back by the fact that the factory stood seemingly unchanged on the exterior since it was originally built. The outside was painted with a fake red brick in which you could tell it was actually cement with a red brick patterning painted over it to give the illusion of an old rusty brick building. The signs saying “Wonder Bread” in red and “Hostess Cake” in blue still existed on the front of the building. It was breath-taking to see that even though the interior of the building was no longer abandoned and had been renovated, the signs of this once monumental factory still stood in place. The most notable feature to me about the building besides the fake brick painting was the cross pattern designs that were present on the top corners of the building. They were painted tan and had a blue diamond surrounding them. It brought about a lot of thought as to why they were present. It seemed ironic and almost foreshadowing to a certain extent because in the later years the New Community Church was built right across from it.
The streets to the left and right of the factory also had very distinct characteristics about each of them. When facing the factory, the street to the left side of it was a very narrow alleyway that had a very suspicious atmosphere.
I could picture how crack addicts raged that area and prostitutes hid down in those narrow pathways waiting to be picked up. While on the right side of the factory, the street was very wide, open, and filled with cars.
The juxtaposition of these two streets made me wonder how one side could be so dark and gloomy and the other so light and open. It almost automatically provided me with a sense of safety on one side and danger on the other that was inevitable. The buildings surrounding the factory also perplexed me and made me wonder a lot of things about the area.
Today, there is a noticeable contrast between the building structures surrounding the factory. On the side of the street where the factory is, there are many different work offices and buildings, while on the side of the street opposite to the factory there are more housing structures. Directly next to the New Community Church, which was across from the factory, stood seemingly impoverished homes that were either abandoned or not very well kept. But directly next to these damaged homes was a newly built modern arts building. The juxtaposition between the structures on each side of the street and the difference in architecture of buildings that are directly next to each other was fascinating.
Along with the architecture of the area, the entire premise wreaked of fast food the entire time. I tried searching around to discover exactly where the smell was residing from, however I could not find any fast food restaurants around the location. For the entire time that I was at the factory, the smell did not pass. The street that runs directly in front of the factory was a decently narrow street that was very urbanized. Many cars were parked along both sides of the street and it was very bright, open, and public. It was seemingly impossible to imagine that so many crack exchanges and prostitutes roamed this open street without being arrested in an instance. Directly next to the factory stood a poster that explained the transformation of S Street and the assassination of Martin Luther King that marked the beginning of the downturn of this area.
The corner of 7th Street NW and S Street that was once popular intersection for crack exchange and prostitutes, now stood as a very urbanized and busy intersection with hundreds of cars passing per hour.
IStrategyLabs. “Douglas Development.” Douglas Development. Web. 03 Oct. 2016.