Saturday, January 30, 2010

Twisted columns

Have you Atlantans seen these? Do you know where they are? I've driven by for decades without noticing. They don't reveal much when I'm driving by at 30 mph.

I'm learning to enjoy them, particularly how the shadows play during the day.

AKA: helical columns, Solomonic columns, Barley-sugar columns, or twisted columns. It's an old idea. Trajan's Column is decorated with a helical band though the column itself doesn't twist. Bernini's (and Borromini, et al) baldachin in St. Peter's with it's twisted columns is among the most stunning works in the west.

I'm happy to see the tradition continue in my neighborhood.


They make a half twist, or do they?


terry @

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Palmed and re-purposed in Va-Hi alley

Do you know about the palms in the alleys in Virginia Highland? You'll have to take my word for it because you'll never find this on your own. I will reveal the secret shortly.

I visit this alley once a week on business. I always enjoy this well kept house, fence, hidden courtyard, and outbuilding. The gravel parking lot in the city is a bonus.

Cruising Buckhead for great houses is like shooting fish in a barrel. Finding one in an alley a block from Ponce is a special delight for architecture tourists.

This one has what I call Charleston appeal: maintaining beauty, individuality, and privacy in crowded neighborhoods. I know there are many such neighborhoods, but Charleston made the first impression on me.

It's a rather big 1913 craftsman re-purposed as a bed and breakfast. Zoning in most neighborhoods would never allow this sort of thing.

Virginia Highland was planned as an old-school suburb, a plan now championed by new urbanists. Useful businesses are within walking distance. Zoning is denser near thoroughfares. That plan, the general flatness of the topography, street grid, and some luck, make Va-Hi one of the coolest places in town.

Instead of a 100 year-old white elephant single family house, we have a handsome, well kept place where visitors and locals can soak up the neighborhood atmosphere, do some funky shopping, and walk to dinner. They can even get married among the palms in the courtyard.

This modest, un-looked-for delight is what keeps architecture tourists happy.

The upstairs with the balcony is the Ivy Cottage of the Gaslight Inn on St. Charles.

terry @

P.S. My favorite attempt at creating the Charleston effect in Atlanta is Glenwood Park.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Trompe l'oeil on a rug - Atlanta's biggest urn

The biggest urn in Atlanta is the colossal Helena Hernmarck tapestry "Urn" in the lobby of One Ninety One Peachtree Tower, aka 191 Peachtree.

Attention designers, it's just a block from AmericasMart.

"...interior detailing that adds to its hallmark status, such as the six unique types of marble from around the world adorning the building’s lobby and elevator cabs, and the massive 'Urn' tapestry by Helena Hernmarck that welcomes visitors to the seven-story atrium." (description from here)

I wasn't allowed to take pictures inside.

The urn looks hyper real from a distance, too realistic to be real. It's like a rendering that reveals more than a photograph. As I move closer, my brain still can't grasp it: Is it a painting? Moving closer, my eye picks up the nubby pile carpet effect.

My sidewalk pictures catch reflections of the Davison's /Macy's Building across the street: The arches, scrolls, cornices and brickwork of 180 Peachtree. What do you know, it's by Philip Shutze of Hentz, Adler and Shutze, Architects.

I'm afraid that this block of Peachtree Street isn't a destination for Atlantans any more. This is an example of stunning lobby art that's public but rarely seen.

This is the building, the tall one by Johnson/Burgee Architects.

Make sure you see Ray King's colossal light sculpture "Atlantis." Just ride the escalator down

Find out more about Atlanta's downtown buildings old and new.

terry @

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Modern Corner Beauty

I admire houses on corner lots. They have to show well on at least 2 and sometimes 3 sides. But they get a bit of breathing room in the bargain. When it's hard to get a good picture of a corner house in the winter, that's amazing.

I drive a block out of my way twice a week to admire this one in the Winnona Park neighborhood of Decatur. It's a modern in a classic shape, minimal crisp fascia, bands and corner boards, no evidence of rafter tails. I'd guess it's not much more that 2,000 square feet. There are 2 colors on the walls but the light gives it many variations. I'd guess it's an architect's house.

It's a mini-estate, not in size but in self contained, framed separation. It looks good and makes its neighbors look good too. It's on about 1/4 acre amidst an eclectic yet harmonious batch of smallish "English Vernacular Revival, Craftsman bungalows and Georgian Revival bungalows." That's design talk for cute little pre-war houses.

The side street curves around so the back of the house is exposed too.

So how does it manage being exposed on 3 sides? Pretty darn well. The front is grown up with a winding gravel path. See it on the right side where it joins the sidewalk?

A walk through the woods highlights 3 design patterns: 112. ENTRANCE TRANSITION, 111. HALF-HIDDEN GARDEN and 172. GARDEN GROWING WILD.

More half hidden garden: Another set of stairs lead down from the other side of the porch. What is around there?

We also catch a new pattern, 160. BUILDING EDGE, with a modern approach. The entrance is carved out and overhung. To the right: a bump out with the trim band nipping at the top. Very simple, very interesting, and very inviting I think.

The back has a fenced-in courtyard with a bit of mystery.

The 1-story extension with the half-moon vent is not at a right angle and has a low angle roof.
Is it an out building or part of the house?

The garage (left) seems straightforward enough, the roof angle matches the house's. But what's with the building with the steep metal roof? We'll probably never know. But the tall roof hides the 2nd floor windows from the street.

Three roof pitches surround one little courtyard.

A lot design went into this unobtrusive, modern little corner beauty.

terry @

P.S. This is in the same neigboorhood as this corner house:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Scottdale Gables

Scottdale Mills? Scottdale, Georgia? Agnes Scott College? Same family. When I'm in the area, I take a little drive around. It's only a few blocks. I am a gable guy and swoon at views like this. (There is a secret picture for garden bloggers Tara and Pam, will they notice?)


Scottdale is one of the Atlanta area's milltowns, preserved differently than those in Cabbagetown, The Old 4th Ward, and Home Park.


It's not in a "hip" area. These 2 are on a green, unlike any other in Atlanta, as far as I know. No hip shops or restaurants; no cool residents in sight (but they must surely be very cool). No tourists, no parking problems, no scene.


These 2 houses were built as duplexes. They didn't need these nice details. Notice the two chimneys, one for each apartment.

The modest chimney has looked great every day of it's life.

You see these hipped roof porches on period houses everywhere.

Faith Walk is the house with the fancy gable window.

I don't think the other house has a name but it's a beauty too. This is the secret picture for garden bloggers: Gravel and grass, know what I mean?

There are single family millhouses too, one in pink, or is it salmon?

You visit the Dekalb Farmers Market right? So drive a bit further out on Ponce. Find the antique stores in cute little houses, turn left and find the green. There you are.

View Larger Map

terry @

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pictures: Emily Amy, Kiang, Sandler Hudson, Westside Art Walk, 1-16-10


It's was a little drizzly this Saturday. JoAnn went the the movies with her girl buds. The football games didn't start until 4. Only a suffering Georgia Tech fan could watch them play Carolina in Chapel Hill.

What to do; what to do? - Westside Art Walk. If you want to get straight to it, click here for the Flickr full screen slideshow.

The Sandler Hudson Gallery folks were grabbing big paintings out of the racks, pulling off plastic and bubble wrap, showing art to clients.

Most gallery art just sits there. At Sandler Hudson it was a moving curation.

Paintings stacked on top of each other.

Clients and art walkers moved about to take in the work. I felt like someone was telling me secrets.

This was great fun.

Kiang Gallery featured Hoang Van Bui. He's on the right.

We'd seen Thornton Dial's works using clothing last Thursday. Here are Hoang Van Bui's blue jean pockets:

and a few of his prints.

Bobbe Gillis Gallery featured these works in glass by Paul Bendzunas. I'd be happy to have this whole display. Vases and bowls on clear plinths seem to hover. Many were sold; all were beautiful.

The Emily Amy Gallery is a favorite space. It's designed with circulation and zen views in mind.

Rows of walls give you peaks into the other rooms and let your eye compare the far and near.

These by Zuzka Vaclavik made keep me looking. I want to see them close and far. ", bio-morphic, automatic gesture..."

Sara Cole's foliage would be a great fabric, screen, and wall paper.

Emily Amy's back alley is always a treat. As with Sandler Hudson that day, this was a peak under the curtain, the curator not in control.

Not all the art is inside. Could this be anything but an Architecture Studio? It's the office of Menefee+Winer on Brady Street.

From a height and a distance you can see the 2 yellow ears:

Here is the slideshow with more pictures. It's better big.


terry @

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Seriously Pink Door in Druid Hills

I was short cutting through Druid Hills this week and spotted this pink door.

You might prefer your pink door on a house of another color, maybe gray?


There are whole gaggles of Atlanta folks who've never been to Druid Hills. Unless you are headed to Emory University, or traipsing between Atlanta and Decatur, you'll miss it. It's not a manor house destination like Brookhaven and Buckhead, not Victorian eclectic like Inman Park.

It is a large but compact, and easily viewable collection of handsome homes by Walter T. Downing, Arthur Neal Robinson, Henry Hornbostel, Neil Reid and other. There are Shutze buildings at Emory and more that 40 homes and school buildings by Buck Crook.

I'd guess that every notable Atlanta architect has done renovations here. But Druid Hills Historic District rules prevent changes from showing on the street. There are just a few infills than might be teardowns.

Personally, I enjoy Druid Hills more in parts than as a total package. Click here to enlarge the pink door house: symmetry, roof, soffit detail, oval window, quoins (thanks to Dan for spelling correction), brick band, limestone door surround, leaded glass sidelights, 6 over 1 windows. This is an elegant, handsome home, that doesn't shout. Well I guess the pink door shouts a bit.

I can imagine this very house built today in Atlanta's most exclusive neighborhoods.


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