Bye Bye Brownstone

Mike Meehan in his Brownstone quarry


After looking through the blog website Architizer.com an article peaked my interest that relates to the lecture by Dean Fischer about materiality and the way that we are using materials, or should I say, wasting them. New York City has many people, and with many people, come many homes. There is a common theme in those housing facades with a certain material choice, Brownstone. Unfortunately now though, Architizer, along with the New York Times, is reporting that Mike Meehan, owner of Portland Brownstone Quarries has officially closed its doors and has run out of the material. Though it is not the last mine to quarry Brownstone, there are still a few mines in Utah, Britain, and China, the material is in short supply to say the least. No longer will New Yorkers be able to decorate their facades with a material that has become almost as common as the yellow taxicab. According to the article, New Yorkers are claiming that the other Brownstone mines don’t produce the Brownstone comparable to the Portland mine.

Typical Brownstone facade


After reading this I began to wonder, New Yorkers have now lost their favorite building material, that material can be replaced, Oil on the other hand will not be able to be replaced and what are we going to do when that stark thought is a reality. This end to brownstone is much different than oil though and it’s for one reason; Brownstone affects New Yorkers, Oil affects us all throughout the whole world. Its not only oil that is soon to become a thing of the past, water is starting to be rationed because many of our aquifers are being drained faster than they can be recharged. People are only allowed to water on certain days now but yet, homes in Arizona and Nevada are allowed to have vibrant green lawns that constantly require water. All these thoughts were spurred from the article that was listed in the above paragraph and though we have only ran out of Brownstone now, what is going to happen to the world when we run out of oil or freshwater? Unfortunately I don’t believe we will change or ways in time to never have to find out.

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