Rainier Avenue South was the basis for my exploration of repurposed residential spaces. Improvisation is a primary element of Rainier’s streetscape and the force shaping these structures. They have been shaped by the passage of time, economic necessity, and the industry of individuals or small ethnic communities. Small signs perch over porches or are tied to the building in a temporary fashion, advertising a variety of services and products, from alterations to tax services under the same roof. In spite of being on the thoroughfare, many of these buildings have a distinctly private feel, particularly those with some residential space incorporated within them. Even the spaces identified as restaurants send a message of intrusion to outsiders. These repurposed homes along Rainier Avenue stand in contrast to Georgetown’s Hangar Café and the other kitschy-cute repurposed structures around the city because they are shaped by sheer utility.
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