Thursday, March 31, 2011

Clay Rokicki - J. Neel Reid Prize Winner, 2010

Clay Rokicki is the winner of the J. Neel Reid Prize for 2010. He's from Poland, Ohio, a suburb of Youngstown. He earned his Bachelor of Architecture from University of Notre Dame in 2006. After graduation Clay joined Historical Concepts where he is a Senior Intern. I assembled this post from Clay's prize lecture on March 3, 2011. (Read more about the prize winners.)

Clay used the prize for a "Brief Tour of Southern England" where he produced work like this:

Emmanuel College, Cambridge
"In keeping with the legacy of Reid, my objective was to study a choice selection of English towns, buildings, details, and gardens."
With a rental car and "big American backpack" Clay hit the road starting in the cathedral town of Winchester.

Clay toured clockwise from here, ending in London.
"I documented my trip through a sketchbook, analytical measured drawings, photographs, and journal-keeping."
Mompesson House

Clay's sketch of Mompesson House
"By experiencing and drawing these places, streetscapes, buildings, and their elements, I aimed to compile priceless knowledge that would be a tremendous design resource."

Clay's sketch of Winchester Square
"Through careful study and observation, I hoped to refine my sense of proportion, scale, and the harmonious arrangement of elements."
Measured drawing of Baluster at Stourhead House.

Measured drawing from Tintinhull House, Somerset. We'll return to the Tintinhull/Atlanta connection later.

Bath: Kingsmeade Square and Post Office.




Great Dixter

Great Dixter

St. Paul's

Sir John Soane House breakfast room.

Returning to Tintinhull house:
"Just as Neel Reid did, it is my intent to bring the lessons I learned back home; to bring my experience to bear on real projects here in Georgia."
Tintinhull (c. 1720) is the model for the Charles C. Case House in Atlanta. (1918, Hentz, Reid & Adler Job 371 thanks to William R. Mitchell, Jr.)

Tintinhull on the left, Case house on the right.

Clay found used elevations of both to demonstrate how Reid had adapted/perfected the design for Atlanta.

Tintinhull on the left, Case house on the right.

Clay Rokicki has been heavily involved with several major projects for Historical Concepts:

Fairburn Education Campus Clay was heavily involved all the way from schematic through construction. See the pdf.

Historical Concepts' entry into the HUB Charleston competition
, a proposal for a transit station for Charleston. The site is a parking lot on Meeting Street. The design won a 2011 Shutze Award and was the only traditional entry to receive an honorable mention.


If you'd like to try this for yourself here is Clay's to-do list prepared with a lot of help from his friends.

What Clay Saw
DAY 1: Winchester, Avington Park
DAY 2: Salisbury, Mompesson House
DAY 3: Stourhead Estate, Tintinhull House and Garden, Wells
DAY 4: Bath
DAY 5: Bath
DAY 6: Biddestone, Castle Combe, Tetbury, Cirencester, Blenheim Palace
DAY 7: Oxford (various colleges)
DAY 8: Cambridge (various colleges)
DAY 9: Sissinghurst Castle Garden, Great Dixter House and Garden
DAY 10: Royal Tunbridge Wells, Groombridge Place Gardens, Standen House, Goddards House
DAY 11: London- Syon House, Victoria & Albert Museum
DAY 12: London- St. Paul’s Cathedral, St. Stephen Walbrook, Sir John Soane’s House, Covent Garden
DAY 13: London- Harrods, Buckingham Palace, Whitehall Road, Trafalgar Square, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the National Gallery

I know this isn't the best picture and I didn't know it at the time but I was fortunate to capture William R. Mitchell, Jr. author of J. Neel Reid, Architect which funds the prize and Clay at the prize lecture, Bill in glasses, Clay in the tie, Domenick Treschitta (Historical Concepts) in between.


Thanks to Clay for bringing your down south and for sharing your work with us.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cara Cummins - J. Neel Reid Prize Winner, 2001

Cara B. Cummins won the first J. Neel Reid Prize in 2001. (Read more about the prize and the winners.) Cara lives and works in Atlanta, a principal in TaC Studios. Her work is all over Atlanta and elsewhere too. The prize enabled Cara to spend nearly 2 weeks in Italy, observing and sketching. Per the terms of the prize, Cara presented her experience in a lecture to the Georgia Trust. Cara's lecture is the source for this post.

I'll let Cara "speak" for herself.
"Days after September 11, 2001, I arrived in Rome. Weary from an arduous journey, with the new world of heightened security. This security meant 8 hours within a single line to board an airplane, 3 security checks to enter the Vatican, constant replays of crashing buildings on Italian television. The path that I created through Rome was in pursuit of Caravaggio."

I visited Cara last week in her Old 4th Ward studio, hoping to see few pictures from her trip. She pulled out her leather clad sketchbook and a folio of renderings.

She started laying them out on the big table - stacked them up really there were so many. I was overwhelmed.

We shuffled them about so I could take pictures.

In Cara's world an itinerary can be a watercolor of the Colosseum.

"The Piazza del Popolo sets a dramatic entry for Rome. The three streets that converge upon the piazza create the Tridente. The romantic Baroque world is alive, with the geometrical perfection of the twin churches (Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria di Montesanto) from which fan the three most famous streets of Rome: Via di Ripetta, Via del Corso, and Via del Babuino."
"The sketches document the emotional experience of being in a place. So much of the success of architecture is about the experience of being 'there,' how it felt."

"Of all the places in Rome, this piazza is the most endearing to my sketchbook. It's image has always haunted me..."

I loved Cara's cafe people.


It was hard to miss Cara's wall-sized painting of Santa Maria dei Miracoli and Santa Maria di Montesanto.

P1020443-2010-06-05-Modern-Atlanta-10-Ashley-JOSE-TAVEL-and-CARA -CUMMINS-TaC-studios
I met Cara and her husband/partner Jose Tavel last June during Modern Atlanta 10. I took their picture in the Ashley Avenue house, their design that was featured in the MA 10 tour.

TaC Studio has just completed a new house in Piedmont Heights. We'll be able to see it on the Modern Atlanta 11 Tour.

As if that wasn't enough, Cara and Jose are blogging the design and construction of their new home/studio: "LEED 4 Ward."

To Cara, Thanks to showing us this great work. I'm pleased that you are working out of Atlanta.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

The "Piedmont" Pipes are in St. Paul UMC - Phoenix Flies Recap #8

Phoenix Flies Recap #8 St. Paul United Methodist Church (1906) in Grant Park, Atlanta during the Atlanta Preservation Center's Phoenix Flies tour for 2011.

We climbed the stairs to the balcony and bell tower.

Once up there Don is kind-of pointing to the grating behind the cross.

The organ pipes from the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition held in what is now Piedmont Park, are behind the grate. It was recycling back when recycling was really cool. For you non-Atlantans the Piedmont Exposition made a bigger mark on Atlanta than the 1996 Olympics. It was Atlanta's international coming out party at the turn of the century. It was the era of the City Beautiful Movement.

Don cranked up the organ and fellow Phoenix Flier, Dee, sang a few lines. The 115 year old pipes rang, purred, and roared.

May I show you a few more pictures of this beautiful church?

One big window is on the South facade.

It's a big window.

The other big window faces east. The top of this one is in the attic. The steps might be a tough climb for granny but there is a new elevator in the back.

Here is a zen view from the floor of the Narthex. There is a hierarchy of open space and varying ceiling heights (See Design Patterns 114 and 190) . The sheltering narthex and the ceiling under the balcony are a comfortable and cozy feeling compliment to the tall spaces. Your don't feel so exposed.

The floor of the Nathex is sturdy and dignified after 105 years of service.

The metal ceiling in the narrow narthex looks it's age, having withstood a leak or two.

The ceiling is blue, beamed, and beautiful.

In the center there is a medallion, I suppose it could have been an oculus had the budget allowed.


St. Paul has a full length bump out. There is the expected symmetrical, center-aisled sanctuary. But to the north there is extra large main floor and balcony space, comfortable, flexible and unexpected. It's a great opportunity for clerestory windows.

The balcony bumps out to the right.

Looking out from the bump

We went to the roof and the attic. This is the east window from the attic over the narthex. It's stunning to see this from a dark room.

Yes I really did see the attic, still solid after a century.

I hope I haven't worn you out. You need to see the sacristy, as charming a room as I've visited.

The sacristy is in the midst of a big cleaning refit, but the beauty shines through.

Fireplace, stained, glass, paneling, and color made this little room feel perfect.

Every building deserves a room this good.

I keep getting distracted. I was headed to the roof.

The roof decking from the inside.

My 45 second video from the roof.

Thanks to St. Paul United Methodist Church, to Don Wallace for the tour and to Pastor, Susan Allen Grady.

I've barely shown you the stained glass. Even the smallest window deserves a close look.

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