site research- Martin Acres

Martin Acres is a subdivision in Boulder south of the university, full of small, single-family homes built in the 1950s. As a part of site-based research for the Baseline Group, I went on a photographic excursion in the neighborhood.


The first place Nic and I looked at to rent when we came to Boulder was one of these ranch-style homes in Martin Acres. The combination of shoddy workmanship, tiny size and high rents  (seriously, Boulder, I’m from San Francisco but $1500/ mo for two teeny-tiny paper-thin walled bedrooms?) left us pretty unimpressed, but I think if you’re a buyer and not a sleazy landlord trying to shaft college students this is one of the most affordable neighborhoods in town.


My boss at the Ocatgon Center for the Arts in Iowa lived in Boulder in the 1970s and said that she and her friends referred to the place as “Martian Acres,” because it was full of working-class folks (as opposed to the arty coastal Buddhist types that flocked to town in those days).


It’s interesting to see what’s happening in the neighborhood as more affluent people buy in and either remodel or do a complete tear-down/ rebuild of the modest existing houses. Some of these fit in better than others. In the Baseline group, we’re trying to tap into the regional aesthetic. My question is, what if the regional aesthetic is horrible? At the same time, I’m resistant to the ostentatious modernism that seems to be the default standard of “good design” (see above). More Martin Acres anomolies:


For anyone reading this who is not from Boulder, Subaru Outbacks are pretty much the official car. Yup.

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