Pop-up Architecture? Church Hill Gets Bubbly Advice

It was weird enough that the bubbles showed up — but stranger still is that no one has popped them.

“We totally could take these things down,” says Matt Wiley, who with his wife, Kathryn, owns the theater on North 25th Street. “But we’re like, You know what, let people just express their opinions. It’s cool.”

In other neighborhoods, building owners might take offense at such suggestions, Wiley says, but Church Hill residents are “go-with-the-flow” kind of people.

The theater’s bubble wish won’t be granted — the Wileys are making the building into a private residence for themselves and their two young sons, with the addition of a darkroom, wood shop and public space.

Wiley says his own bubble got turned upside down while he was working on the front of the building. After a while he thought to himself, “Now everybody’s thinking I’m a jerk,” so he turned it right-side-up again. He intends to hang it inside the building when renovations are complete.

“I think that everybody that sees them thinks it’s a lot of work,” Matt Wiley says. And, he adds, “somebody’s done their research to know what the past was.”

The nearby storefront with the fine wrought-iron railing on the second story was once a bookstore, says massage therapist Scott Luksich, hanging out at Church Hill’s Captain Buzzy’s Beanery coffee shop.

And the little boarded-up building on Clay Street, which is painted with an old, faint advertisement saying “Drink TruAde Pasteurized,” used to be a restaurant.

It will be again, Luksich says. On the plywood boarding the door, above the wistful speech bubble, the building’s owner painted “PATIENCE” in red. S

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