ALTON — Alton’s architectural aesthetics were the focal point of the City With a View committee’s Through the Eyes of an Architect event on April 23.
The event’s two speakers, Megan and Dave Myers, used their expertise to break down what makes a city beautiful in the context of its architecture.
The Myers and their children live in Alton. Dave works at PGAV Destinations in St. Louis and Megan recently opened her own architectural studio, Side Road Studios. The Myers both earned their master’s degrees in architectural studies at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.
The presentation started off with a beautiful skyline view of Alton from across the river. Based on the photo, the Myers went into detail about what makes Alton beautiful. They discussed traits that make the city beautiful such as proportion, layers, shade and shadow, texture and scale. Alton has many of these traits, but the couple said there are a few areas Alton can improve on.
“I was surprised at how many people were not at the park,” Megan Myers said, referring to Riverfront Park. While the park is used during amphitheater events, most of the time the park is empty.
There were other complaints about some of the downtown buildings that do not contribute to Alton’s beauty.
“(The buildings) may not have kept the original beauty, but they have not gotten rid of the potential for the building to be revived,” Dave said. The upper windows of the buildings may be boarded up, but the boards can be removed and the beauty can be restored.
“The buildings were made by local craftsmen and made with local materials,” Megan said.
The theme of the presentation revolved around the idea that Alton is beautiful because it is a local city — its early builders, craftsmen and businesses were all local, and many modern-day developers maintain that tradition. This is why Alton is unique. The Myers cited the example of the Subway at 712 E. Broadway. Instead of tearing down the building on the property, they made use of it.
City With a View sponsored the event to help show Altonians what makes their city beautiful and as a response to a proposed riverfront hotel development. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/pages/The-City-with-a-View/668045153290050?fref=ts.