Magical History Tour

They resemble picture postcards from the recent past: the one of the big, pink, stucco apartment house on Central Avenue; the one of that weird, circular bank that looks like a spaceship; the one of Gammage Auditorium, glowing warmly with violet light. But Michael Lundgren’s images from "Mid-Century Marvels: The Historic Buildings Photography Project" capture more humor and affection than any old postcard ever could. In the Gammage shot, that venerable structure appears to be smiling at us; the straightforward, lonely photo of the stuccoed, Space Age City Center Motel tells a story of style’s abandonment without a single boarded-up window in sight.

Lundgren’s regard for these historical buildings from the ´50s and ´60s, which he was commissioned by the City of Phoenix to capture, is apparent. His angles on more mundane buildings we’ve been driving past for years show them for what they are: significant examples of an architectural movement that’s long since passed. The portrait of the Seventh Avenue Bashas' building reveals the structure’s low, clean lines; the double-peaked roof of that old bowling alley on Bethany Home Road is celebrated in a photo that’s both mirthful and filled with woe, because design like this is, unfortunately, a thing of the past.

Viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Aug. 1-30
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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela