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The difference 5 hours makes to buildings is like night and day

June 2, 2017

This parkade on 10th Ave., seen at 4 p.m., is only halfway covered, as reflected by the rainwater.

The same parkade five hours later is more inviting to some, now that the lights are on and the cars are gone.

As movies have reminded us over the years, commercial parking garages have something of a Jekyll and Hyde-like nature. Unless they’re locked up overnight, these utilitarian structures (known as parkades here in Canada) make especially congenial locations for clandestine activities—everything from drug deals to secret meetings between big city reporters and their highly-placed government sources.

The worst that can be said of the ground-level commercial parkade which heads this post and sits on the south side of the 1400 block of 10th Avenue is that—like all such parkades in Vancouver—it is full of parked cars only during business hours and the rest of the time it often moonlights as a homeless shelter.

When the workers are away, the mind will play

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this cubicle with a view is not very interesting.

By 10 p.m. however, this same cubicle looks very dramatic indeed!

The above office cubicle, visible from the alley on the southwest side of West Broadway Avenue and Alder Street, isn’t worth looking into during daylight office hours—it’s so dully appointed. But after dark the workaday cubicle is transformed into a veritable film noir movie set.

Desk-level-only lighting creates a scene—cut to abstraction by the closed venetian blinds—of luminescent gloom and long moody shadows which is ominously accented by the one bright blood spot of a red-lit exit sign.

If I stood right up against the window sill and looked in, I imagine that I might see Walter Neff dictating his confession to Barton Keyes in Double Indemnity…or Rick Deckard interrogating Leon in Blade Runner.

Of course I can always imagine such things; the dramatic lighting effects that I see after dark just makes it easier. Click the images to enlarge them.

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