Thursday, June 30, 2011

July 4th Grab Bag: SunTrust Decor, Reid Prize, Illiteracy, Urban Exploration, Flag Cake

Happy July 4. I hope it's hot and hot doggy for you, friends, and family.

Do you mind a few incomplete thoughts?

1. SunTrust Branch Bank Decor
I'm alarmed about the decor of SunTrust banks: With all the art, with all the artists, with all the design talent out there, SunTrust has nothing but marketing drek. One glance is all it gets, one glance is more than it deserves. It's no fun for customers but think of the folks who work in those rooms all day long.

2. The Eggshell Mosaic in Decatur First Bank
A mosaic mural made from painted eggshells - really - is in the Commerce Street branch. It delights every time. In fact it delights me more every time. Hear that SunTrust?

3. Neel Reid Prize winner 2003, Pernille Christensen
I'm planning to blog all the J. Neel Reid Prize winners. I've done 2 of 11. Next week I hope to meet with Pernille Christensen whose theme was “Retracing the Footsteps of John Ruskin” in Venice. Pernille is a teacher, researcher, and PhD student at Clemson.

4. Exploring Atlanta's Modern Ruins
Creative Loafing's Thomas Wheatley and Scott Henry wrote an outstanding article about Urban Exploration, about hardcore architecture tourists. This is probably happening in a town near you. "As with many 21st-century subcultures, disparate pockets of recreational trespassers didn't realize they constituted an actual scene until they connected on the Internet. "

5. Classic Illiteracy by Calder Loth
We see buildings that are a bit "off" some more than a bit off. We don't necessarily know why, but it's not you and I who are illiterate. Calder Loth writes in the Classist Blog: "We must realize that what fuels the naysayers are not necessarily the high-quality works...but...illiterate classical-style building(s) spread across American’s landscape."

6. Happy 4th, Happy Cakes, Happy Friends and Family
If you feel the ground shake before fireworks, it's probably our annual 4th of July party. Some scenes from last year:

Flag Cake.

Charlotte had the baby less than 24 hours after last years party.

Frequent toasts soothed the flip-cup competitors.

It was self-parking all the way.

The best parties have multiple generations.

If you see these guys at YOUR party, they are at the wrong party.

Best wishes.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Delightful Dancing in a wonderful Dump: Noelle Stiles at Mint

Noelle Stiles danced Saturday night at Mint Gallery presented by Dance Truck and Mint in the Old 4th Ward.

"MINT Gallery and Dance Truck team up to present Portland dancemaker Noelle Stiles! Noelle Stiles makes her debut in the SE at MINT Gallery, with a multi-media performance designed for Dance Truck." from the Mint Blog.

Mint is in the industrial heart of the Old 4th Ward, smack on the west side of the Beltline. It's just south of Atlanta's Virginia Cotton Docks. You wouldn't know it's there, between Jack's Pizza and Studioplex.

View Larger Map
There is no heavy industry there anymore. The area features arts, artisans, entertainment, hospitality. I presume that even Sampson Street will shed is low rent soon and the artists will move elsewhere if they haven't already.

For now the setting remains industrial, dumpy, a bit dangerous, non-commercial, not a destination for most. The crowds are young, seeking something edgy; they are infallibly polite (to this old man), committed to Atlanta's art scene, and ready to enjoy themselves in the process.

Noelle Stiles' stage was a small flat-bed. Her work, "Here Begins a Region of Eclipse," seemed to be about the world between sleeping and waking.

There was sound and silence.

She danced with swimming elephants and without.

I'm with the crowd on the concrete in the dark. I don't think we all know what to make of the dance. But we do share a magic moment; we connect without speaking.

It was over in 20 minutes.

It's better than watching TV on Saturday night.

Here is Malina Rodriguez, the force behind Dance Truck. She's explaining that after a Dance Truck performance, people dance! Malina is one of the folks who make non-commercial art happen in Atlanta. I'm delighted to know her just a bit, to run into her from time to time.

After music, dance, a bit of magic, I headed into the gallery.

Mint trades in energetic art.

Art pieces on art walls.

My eye kept returning the the pyramids in desert colors.

I can't resist graphic fish shapes.

Friday, June 24, 2011

9th Street Teardown - Inevitable Heartbreak

It's gone. It didn't have a chance. I'm not over it.

It's been abandoned and for sale for years. It's on 9th, one of Atlanta's great streets, at an elevation that will give it views of Piedmont Park.

See the roof in the background? That's The Children's School.

Do I need to explain: a side-facing house with a side garden. It reminds of Charleston don't you think? I love the end-on gables look.

P1071635-Midtown-Sideways-Yello-Diagonal-Picket 9th street teardown
Two porches.

The brick and metal fence belong to the house next door. The white pickets surround the teardown. The house was too small, too beat-up to survive in midtown, even in this "bust."

P1071637-Midtown-Sideways-Yellow-Diagonal Driveway 9th street teardown
A grassy driveway four blocks from Peachtree Street?

P1071639-Midtown-Sideways-Yellow -Front-Fence 9th street teardown
The is the 9th street facade.

I hope it's good. Two words: rooftop deck.


What's so great about 9th Street? It's got everything: one block from Piedmont Park, apartments and near-mansions, housing for students and millionaires.

Nobody would plan or build 9th Street today.

It can take both of these:



The brick building to the left is a modest double shotgun apartment with a dumpster in the front.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Three More Mid-Century Modern Days (and nights)

Part of the clan went to the beach again. I've blogged about the house before. It's worth a repeat from October 09.

But first: This is how we like to do it, how the architecture tourist beach bunny marine command gets the job done at Ormond by the Sea. The pelicans perform a fly-by.


Last weekend we visited Debbie and Dave in their mid-century modern home 1300 feet from the beach. We'd been several times before but this time we played Architecture Tourists.

I confess that I'm tired of the words "mid-century modern." The pictures in magazines and on the web are all about the extreme show houses of the time. And the furniture, well, you know what I mean.

But there are a ton of ordinary, good-living modern houses and we had 3 nights to enjoy one of them. And enjoy it we did. It's a remarkably pleasant house.

Here she is, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, single garage (with workshop and laundry), huge screened lanai and screened pool, about 1300 square feet. It sits on a street with similar ranchers, some with 2 car garages and 3 bedrooms. Built in 1964, perhaps from a pattern book.


Here is the entrance. Notice the overhangs and big windows. Does anyone know what to call those concrete trellis things on either side of the doors? (The perforated concrete wall is called a brise soleil, French for sun breaker - thanks to Spencer Howard) The street has a great variety of those things. Whatever they are called, there are 17 feet of floor to ceiling windows behind them opening to the big room. The back side of the big room also has 17 feet of floor to ceiling windows that can open completely to the lanai. And that is a nice room.


Deb and Dave replaced the solid front doors with these all glass doors. Obviously it was designed to have glass doors.

Can imagine this view with solid doors? It wasn't nearly as good. My eye avoided looking over there. Now, the trellis thingys frame the view through the doors. It's a Zen view (134. ZEN VIEW). Even at night with outdoor lights this view works to extend the big room. Tara would be proud of the vanishing threshold and that's not the only one in the house.


Here is my hand drawn floor plan. Note the floor to ceiling windows. Each is a vanishing threshold. They make the house feel huge. It's like the huge lanai is part of the master, the big room, and the kitchen.


For you Pattern Language Fans: 159. LIGHT ON TWO SIDES OF EVERY ROOM. Enough said except: Notice the bath between the bedrooms? It has just one window over the toilet. Yet, it is a most pleasant space. Following the pattern, it works because it is a wide window, with a deep reveal in a very shallow room. Nice, nice, nice.

Before I quit two words:

Terrazzo Floors. I think the entire house has Terrazzo floors now done in wood. But the terrazzo is still there in the bathrooms. Until this house, I didn't realize that I love Terrazzo floors. Nice, nice, nice.

Wait, there is a puzzle: My house has more and bigger windows but Deb & Dave's is brighter inside. How come? Well, Atlanta has big, tall trees. At our place they smother the house in the summertime. On Deb and Dave's barrier island there aren't any tall trees, at all. It makes a big difference. When the leaves are gone and the sun is lower, our house brightens right up.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

4-sights from the 9th

I have brain lock. I'm trying to do a post about the Modern Atlanta 2011 fashion show fund raiser. So far it's more than my little brain can handle.

So here are a few sights from the 9th floor of 2 Peachtree Pointe. Architecture tourists will recognize everything but perhaps not from this angle.

Millions saw the front and inside of "The Temple" in "Driving Miss Daisey" but few have seen the cupola from up here.

The Temple is way bigger than it appears from Peachtree.

The roof of Rhodes Hall is quite a sight from here. You can see one of the skylights.

Peachtree Christian Church is a landmark but did you know about all those magnolias? The steeplejack in the blue shirt went right over the side after I took this pictures. I didn't feel so hot after after watching that.

The lobby of WSB. Which was first, this or the Louvre? Have you been inside?

I didn't like this so much until I saw it from eye-level. Now, I have a crush. It wasn't always a Chick-fil-A sign.

That's four sights. If you've been kind enough to read this far, you get a bonus: my #1 favorite sight from the 9th floor.

Our first-born and my escort to the fashion show surveys her realm.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Michaganer's install "Edge Condition" for Modern Atlanta 11.

The 2011 winners of 10UP: Lisa Sauvé & Adam Smith, Synecdoche

(Si-NEK-duh-kee) “simultaneous understanding”

They won a cash award and a budget for the project.

Edge Condition at Octane Coffee Bar at Dusk on June 9.
"Organized by YAF Atlanta and now in its second successful year, the goal of 10UP is to design a temporary installation and to create a unique spatial experience while also complimenting the MA (Modern Atlanta) MA11 “Design is Human” event with a large scale design element accessible to hundreds of event patrons"

There is catch: Edge Condition is gone! It will reappear in January at Museum of Design Atlanta "MODA" but it probably won't look exactly like this.
"...must be assembled within 24 hrs prior to the MA11 “Design is Human” Kickoff and disassembled within 24 hrs of MA11 “Design is Human” Closing) with simple tools and an assembly crew."
I visited at Dusk on Thursday and walked around. I'm glad I did.

It's a pile of hardwood sticks diverted into a sculpture between the sawmill and the chipper.

Best pile of sticks I've seen for a while.

Lisa & Adam flew from Michigan to tear it down. I went on that warm Sunday morning, June 12, so I could meet them and take their picture. A small crew from the AIA and neighborhood gathered to help.

Left to right: J5, Adrienne Froemelt, Nathan Koskovich, Lisa Sauvé, Adam Smith, J5 the Dog.

Augers, plates and cables held the whole thing together.

Adam and Nathan took to the lifts.


I preferred staying with Adreinne and Lisa on the ground crew.

They used a Hero to capture a time-lapse. Have you seen a Hero before? I like it. I hope we'll see a video soon.

Congratulations to Lisa Sauvé & Adam Smith, Synecdoche. Come back to Atlanta any time. there is a nice article about in Dezeen.

Here are all my pictures from 10Up.

P.S. Remember last year's winner?
PERISCOPE by Matter Design
Brandon Clifford
Wes McGee
Dave Pigram
Matthew H. Johnson

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