Posts tagged architecture

Easton Architecture and Gardens 7/1/17

Easton, MA has a wealth of architectural beauties. The H. H. Richardson district includes buildings designed by Richardson, who created Boston’s Romanesque Trinity Church.

Oakes Ames Memorial Hall

66 Main St.

We decided to explore the area to see The Rockery, a landscaped memorial cairn built in 1882 by Frederick Law Olmstead to honor Easton’s Civil War dead. The Rockery sits on the rotary overlooking 3 of the Richardson buildings.

Olmstead wrote that memorials of this type were “the oldest and most enduring in the world,” and with “the beautiful plants that have become rooted in them and which spring out of their crannies or have grown over them. . . are far more interesting and pleasant to see than the greater number of [monuments] constructed of massive masonry and elaborate sculpture.” He further explained that plants growing across the rocky buttress would symbolize peace taming war.

You can climb up the stairs or the ramp for an elevated view of the neighborhood:

From the Rockery, we headed to the Trustees of Reservations’ Governor Oliver Ames Estate:

36 acres of easy to meander meadows and ponds, plus the Governor’s mansion and carriage house:

And a garden and cottage with a fabric art piece:

and old, old trees:

and the fish pond:

Another pond, with a bridge to private property, gives a nice view of another Richardson building:

We walk around to Shovelshop Pond – the Ames family founded the Ames Shovel Works in 1803, nationally known as having provided the shovels which laid the Union Pacific Railroad and “opened the West.”

and a duck/goose brigade:

and a brightly colored fungus:

Advertisements

Leave a comment »

San Francisco final day – 6/5/17

From Sequoia National Park back to San Francisco, to see the sights we missed before the parks.

Like the Hidden Garden Steps– a volunteer and community-based public art project to create mosaic steps, a public garden and a wall mural on 16th Avenue extending uphill from Kirkham to Lawton.

From art on the steps to art on the walls – the Mission District murals. Throughout the neighborhood, hundreds of walls and fences are covered with colorful works of art featuring themes ranging from cultural heritage to social political statements. It would take hours to walk and see them all! But here are some beauties:

Balmy Alley has some of the earliest murals from mid-1980s. A local museum has paint supplies and walking tour maps to the murals.

A local playground is walled in by murals, with a colorful dragon for climbing.

We drove through the Castro district, during Pride Month:

and walked to the historic Ferry Building:

And finished with a great dinner at Sam’s Grill – the 5th oldest restaurant in the country, from 1867:

 

Leave a comment »

Painted Ladies, Golden Gate Park, Cliff House + 5/29/17

Stopped to enjoy the sights on the way to Golden Gate Park. Look, a cable car! (never rode one – the wait to board was insane, and the bus prices were much better!)

Rode past Japan Town, and waited for a bus by a tree-stump chair (doubleclick any photo for full size):

Victorian homes along the way were impressive, especially the one with giant tree festooned in wind chimes:

Reached Alamo Square, a hilltop park that looks out on the famed Painted Ladies Victorians, built 1892-1896 – well known from the opening credits to Full House.

Another bus, and we reached Golden Gate Park, 20% larger than NYC’s Central Park, at over 1,000 acres – and 3 miles long! Hiked a short way through fuscias to the Conservatory of Flowers:

Inside were all kinds of tropical plants, plus a butterfly den:

Interesting sculptures in the dell outside the Conservatory. Segway tours of the Park are popular:

Golden Gate Park is home to so much:

We walked past the crowds at the Academy of Sciences, and into the DeYoung art museum, which is hosting an exhibit on the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love 1967.

The deYoung, and its special exhibit, were very expensive (and time consuming), so we checked out the lobby, and took the free elevator to the tower’s observation deck. Also experienced our first “All Genders simultaneously” public restroom – no urinals, all private stalls, all genders sharing the mirrors/sinks. And the universe did not implode.

Next stop – the Park’s Japanese Tea Garden – gorgeous!

More sculpture by the deYoung, on our way to the next bus:

Headed towards the Pacific side of San Francisco, walking up the hill along the ocean.

… towards the Cliff House, an historic (1858) restaurant with ocean views.

Next to the Cliff House are the ruins of the Sutro Baths (1894-1964), a massive public bath house, and freshwater swimming facility. It included 6 saltwater swimming tanks of varying sizes, shapes, and water temperatures, tiers of bleachers seating thousands of spectators under glass and steel. This is all that’s left:

There are delightful hiking trails from this Lands End visitor center, down to the ruins or along the cliff:

Then you round a bend in the trail, and get this:

Next bus – past another interesting church:

Back downtown to Union Square :

… and the historic St. Francis Hotel, which was badly damaged in the fire following the 1906 earthquake. The staff provided meals to the people displaced by the 1906 catastrophes right in Union Square, bottom photo on right:

Classy lobby, bar, and a famous grandfather clock, admired by Shirley Temple in the photo. The plaque describes the hotel’s history of washing guests’ coins so they wouldn’t soil their elegant gloves. And they still provide that service. Really.

Finally, found Maiden Lane, which houses the only San Francisco building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It had been an art gallery, shop, many things, but is currently unoccupied. It has a curved stairway/ramp, similar to his design for NYC’s Guggenheim Museum:

I think that’s enough ground covered for one day.

Leave a comment »

San Fran’s Beat Neighborhood and Coit Tower 5/28/17

Where it all began – visited North Beach to see City Lights Bookstore, founded by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 1956, who published Alan Ginsburg’s Howl which led to the landmark obscenity trial (poetry = not obscene). Scenes from City Lights:

Scenes from the neighborhood:

Then off to Coit Tower, with its impressive WPA-era murals and even more impressive views. The hills, the stairs, even some streets are just named staircases!

View from the hill – Golden Gate Bridge:

Coit Tower and its murals:

And the views:

From here, you can see how squiggly Lombard Street is:

Walked down from Coit Tower through hanging gardens:

And we found ourselves in Levi Strauss Square – went in to see their little history display in the headquarters, including Albert Einstein’s leather Levi’s jacket:

Then we walked along the waterfront to Pier 39 – a crazy crowded outdoor kitchy mall, plus sea lions!!

I think the sea lions come to watch the crowds of tourists:

Dinner was clam chowder in a sour dough bread bowl. Loved the chowder, not a huge fan of sourdough. It’s sour!

Leave a comment »

San Francisco Downtown – 5/28/17

Walked down to the government center area to City Hall – passed a lot of street art on the way:

Lots of beautiful churches:

And witty businesses (happy to serve ogres and krakkens):

The city is celebrating light-based art installations throughout the city. This is one, where the wind moves the squares- they light up at night, but it’s just wind patterns by day: doubleclick any photo to enlarge

City Hall is spectacular, with a dome modeled on St. Peter’s at the Vatican. City Hall’s history is powerful – from the ire-hosing of protesters objecting to the House UnAmerican Affairs Committee holding their commie-hunting hearings there to the murder of Harvey Milk:

The cultural district is right next to the government buildings – opera, symphony:

Another light installation – Caruso’s Dream – shows illuminated pianos up above the sidewalk, where Enrico Caruso had performed and was awoken by the rumbling of the 1906 earthquake:

More murals and public art- The ornate building houses the city’s Human Services Agency, while the giant swirling Venus is blocked by private apartment towers under construction:

Next we come to museum-central. The Contemporary Jewish Museum, construction for the Mexican Museum, and the striking SF Museum of Modern Art:

These museums are adjacent to Yerba Buena Gardens the centerpiece of which is a stunning fountain in memory of Martin Luther King Jr. Waterfalls cascade over a walkway with panels of Dr. King’s quotes – some well-known, some surprising. A powerful monument, very moving and inspiring:

The gardens are lovely, too.

Another fountain:

A few blocks away is the Museum of the African Diaspora, with giant collage of photos which blend together to create a portrait of a little girl:

We stumbled onto the California Historical Society, which was featuring an exhibit on the movements that led up to San Fran’s Summer of Love, which is being celebrated for its 50th anniversary.

Janis Joplin, folk singer

Folk singers Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, 1962

Grateful Dead

Alan Ginsburg!

The Historical Society Stairs are name in honor of:

 

Leave a comment »

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Zimmerman House, Manchester NH 12-18-16

The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, NH gives tours of their Zimmerman house, one of just a handful of Frank Lloyd Wright designs in New England, and the only one open for public tours. It’s a gem, built using 4 materials – glass, cypress wood, brick, and cement.

The two-bedroom, 1 level home is built diagonally across the lot, with a steeply overhanging roof, high cement-framed windows on the front, all enhancing privacy. The back wall is nearly all glass, bringing the gardens and yard into the design, so that the small “Usonian” home feels expansive.

This is the model of the house, inside the Currier Museum, where you gather for the tour:

And this is the house itself:

img_9414

The carport is well-shielded from the snow:

img_9415

img_9416

The front glass door opens on a brick wall – privacy! Turn right and the brick hallway leads you to the open floor-plan living room, with Wright-designed built-in furniture:

img_9417

The back glass walls of the house – too bad we visited on a gray, snowy day, and couldn’t experience how the sun lights up the house.

img_9418

Here’s the Museum’s photo of the back of the house, from the garden on a sunny day:

6915095324_2e6df80c27_z

And the Museum’s photos of the interior:

table

dining area

Wright designed this 4-person wood music-stand and uphoulstered stools for the Zimmerman’s musical gatherings. The vertical slot wood piece in the corner hides their stereo speakers – and the open floor plan allows the music to fill the house.

music

music alcove

master

master bedroom

kitchen

galley kitchen

The design is a work of art, architecture, and arithmetic! Windows and floor (radiant heat underneath) are 4′ squares. Horizontal surfaces – seating, shelves, are in increments of 13.”

Down the street is another Wright-designed home, not open to the public. This one is a study in concrete, as seen from the tour van:

img_9421 img_9422

Now onto the Museum itself, and its exhibit on Mt Washington, with lots of paintings by artists of the Hudson River School:

img_9426

cog railway

img_9423 img_9424 img_9425 img_9427

The Museum also has galleries of glass, like this Tiffany collection:

img_9428

And this lovely Childe Hassam piece:

img_9429

The Cafe is in what used to be the courtyard of the original entrance, with amazing mosaics framing the doorway:

img_9430

The opposite wall features 2 pieces reminiscent of a colorful mosaic, by Sol Lewitt:img_9431

The ladies’ room floor ain’t bad, either:

img_9432

And we cross the Merrimack River on the drive home:

img_9433

Leave a comment »

Boulder Farmers Market, NCAR, Chautauqua – 10/22/16

Last day in Boulder. Visited the very busy Farmers Market with vendors, music, all kinds of produce, along Boulder Creek. Double-click any photo to enlarge:

This is a mandala pattern kids had made entirely with seeds and grains:

img_9371

Here’s the Gilbert White Flood Lever Marker – art as education – showing how high an 18′ flood-water rise is. It’s named in memory of the professor who led the efforts to study and prepare for flooding risks. Boulder is one of the most flood prone cities on the Eastern slope of the Rockies. The 1976 Big Thompson flash flood, caused by 12 inches of rainfall in 4 hours up at the top of the canyon, swept down with a 20 ft wall of water into Boulder, killing 143 people.

img_9374

On to our last hike in Boulder in 2016 – drove up to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) up in the Flatiron slopes overlooking the city. The striking building was designed by I.M. Pei (JFK Library, and Hancock Tower with the falling glass panes in Boston, and the glass pyramid at the Louvre).

img_9378

Love this eagle sculpture carved out of a tree out front:

img_9379 img_9380

The exhibits are fascinating – and easy to understand proof of the facts of global climate change, the shrinking polar ice caps, and rising/warming sea waters causing more and more frequent catastrophic weather events.

The grounds include a short nature walk, leading to more ambitious hiking trails. We kept it short:

View of the back of the building, from the trail:

img_9384

Along the trail, you get great views of the Flatirons and the valley:

img_9386 img_9387

After NCAR, we headed over to Chautauqua Park, a National Historic Landmark, which was part of the Chautaqua adult education movement. This one was started as a summer retreat for Texas school teachers.  Now it has a performing arts venue, speaker series, cottages, and historic preservation as well hiking trails and recreational areas.

img_9392

img_9390 img_9391

img_9389 img_9393

Leave a comment »