et me introduce myself. My name is Martin Treu and I am an architect, author, graphic designer and urbanist. For the past two decades I have been tracking the historic evolution of the American commercial corridor. I wish I could tell you where this is all leading but I am at least having a wonderful time working in cities and towns across the country.
Urbanism is my passion. I have travelled around the world studying places that serve the living, working, and recreational needs of residents and visitors alike. I am always looking for the perfect town. And I HAVE found some that are almost perfect. I have also found many highly flawed places that are fascinating in their own oddball, dysfunctional ways. So never a dull moment when I am on the road. American towns are my specialty since I grew up here and know them inside and out. What makes them tick and what makes them fall apart and become chaotic dangerous aberrations. I have been chased away at gunpoint while trying to photograph an ice cream stand (must have been the front for some illicit activity!). I have more often been treated like an old friend by countless owners of Main Street soda fountains, dime stores and other important small-town enterprises. At the end of the day, though I study and photograph the built environment, it is the people that make this job so rewarding. In my eyes, it is the human factor that determines the success or failure of a town and its commercial corridors — and how well a place serves its customers and nurtures a sense of community. I am currently celebrating the release of my book, Signs, Streets, and Storefronts, in which I explore the relationship between signage and architecture in the context of the American commercial corridor. I welcome you to my virtual Main Street — and please explore and enjoy your own Main Street wherever you are!