December 7, 2012
lights go out, walls come tumbling down
Davis, CA: Lately I have been spending my lunchtimes documenting the demise of an old historic (and largely ignored) UC Davis building, the old Boiler Building. It has been earmarked for demolition for quite some time now, to make way for a planned Music Recital Hall (see this Davis Enterprise article). I was contacted in the summer to come and sketch its final days, and set about drawing it from various angles until it became clear the bulldozers were not coming any time soon. That gave me a little more time to enjoy it in its final days.
The building has not been used for a while, and is full of rusting old pipes and old mechanisms. I couldn't go in, but sketched what industrial gems I could from the outside.
Finally in November the machines of deconstruction arrived, great hulking mechanical monsters, ready to put the old building out of its misery.
It looked rather like a T-Rex had escaped from captivity. I imagined massive dinosaurs drinking from the creek in the Arboretum, facebook pages being set up to guarantee their protection, soon they would be just another Davis quirk with their own tunnel and another thing to talk about at dinner parties, "well we have Tyrannosaurs in Davis you know, my husband says he saw one once on the greenbelt but I think it was just a turkey..."
Bit by bit, the walls are tumbling down. As I sketched the scene below, yesterday lunchtime, a small group of parents and young children were there to watch the big metal machines in action. By now the Boiler Building is a haunted ruin.
I'm going to continue to capture its downfall right up to the construction of the new Recital Hall. I'm sure the new building will be bright and shiny and full of wonder, but I'll miss sketching this old crumbling wreck.