Alpine Motel
Abingdon, VA
Shenandoah Motel
Front Royal, VA
Robert E. Lee Motel
Hilander Park, VA

Click thumbnails to see fullsize images

While in Virginia, head for Front Royal where you’ll find a hidden nest of valley view cabins, its Motor Court sign lost within an overgrowth of trees. In town, though, an essential stop for followers of architectural evolution. In his book, How Buildings Learn, Stuart Brand described the odd ways in which our built environment reflects the changing narratives of our lives as buildings adapt and conform to altering trends and value systems. A perfect example of this phenomenon lies on the north side of Front Royal: The Shenandoah Motel. An odd convergence of primitive stone and streamline moderne design. On other side of rustic cottages, you’ll find the trademark boxy style of an architect who’d seen the film Things to Come one too many times. Essential motifs of 30s-era, the motel’s brick glass and steamship railings evoke an age of confidence in the midst of their Depression-age construction.

Wytheville, VA, Motel Postcard (click for larger view)

All text copyright Andrew Wood. Photos copyright Jenny Wood and Andy Wood.