Monday, August 29, 2011

Pernille Christensen - J. Neel Reid Prize Winner, 2003

Pernille Christensen won the 3rd Neel Reid Prize in 2003. (Read more about the prize and the winners.)

Pernille's prize project was "Retracing the Footsteps of John Ruskin." That is a tall order. Ruskin remains the artistic polymath: artist, poet, critic, teacher, philanthropist, champion of Turner, Pre-Raphaelites, and gothic. He remains contemporary and influential.

"(Pernille) documented the current state and preservation of classic carvings and decorations that have since deteriorated from the time of Ruskin’s first sketches in his 1853 book, The Stones of Venice."

At the time Pernille (pronounced: per nell' in "southern") was an intern architect with Niles Bolton Associates. She already had a B. Architecture from Mississippi State, and 2 masters, MARCH and MCRP. from Clemson. She's is now pursuing an academic career as a 2012 PhD candidate, graduate instructor, and research associate at Clemson's Richard H. Pennell Center for Real Estate Development.

When I met Pernille this July at Barnes & Noble in Alpharetta, I knew nothing of this. If you follow design, architecture, the arts, or preservation, Ruskin is hard to miss. But what did he do, really? Quite a lot. Thanks to Pernille, I'm studying.


In fact John Ruskin's The Stones of Venice is an architecture treatise, illustrated historical preservation document, history, and travelogue.

John Ruskin from Chapter 1:


"(Venice is)...a ghost upon the sands of the sea, so weak—so quiet,—so bereft of all but her loveliness, that we might well doubt, as we watched her faint reflection in the mirage of the lagoon, which was the City, and which the Shadow."

"I would endeavor to trace the lines of this image before it be for ever lost, and to record, as far as I may, the warning which seems to me to be uttered by every one of the fast-gaining waves, that beat, like passing bells, against the STONES OF VENICE."

Pernille found her way to the places Ruskin illustrated 160 years ago. She photographed them to document how much further they'd deteriorated.


Pernille told me that The Stones of Venice still worked as a travelogue.

She explained that Ruskin sought to document things exactly as they were at the time. Which is what she sought to do with her photographs.

The breadth of information in this excerpt on dripstones hint at why Ruskin remains influential.

"Today, his ideas and concerns are widely recognized as having anticipated interest in environmentalism, sustainability and craft." - Wikipedia

Congratulations to Pernille Christensen for her prize, for her career and for introducing us to John Ruskin.

Bringing this back to the 21st century, Pernille explains the prize winning "Seed Project," a collaboration, working to develop a method to convert the shipping containers into homes.

The illustration are from Where you can find scans of all 3 volumes of The Stones of Venice.

The Book Supports the Prize
"J. Neel Reid, Architect by William R. Mitchell. Jr., published by The Georgia Trust, gives new life to Reid's rich legacy, keeping his influence fresh in this new century. The J. Neel Prize, provided by a Georgia Trust fund produced from the sale of the book, helps ensure continuation of Reid's influence among a new generation of architects." Buy the book to support the prize and to delight your family.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mac earns another medal, my bloggong partner for 10 years.

This week Mac was awarded a Pride of Australia Medal. You can read all about here.

This is McKenzie J. Gregory, Melbourne Australia. He's 89, a WW2 veteran, retired from the Royal Australian Navy, aide-de-camp to several Australian prime ministers. Now a naval historian Mac honors the sacrifices of Australia's naval forces mostly though his blog.

We met by chance on the web. We've been blogging together for 10 years on Ahoy - Mac's Web Log. Mac writes; I put it on the web. We've published more than a million words. It's been my privilege and honor.

We've never met though we've talked on the phone a couple times. None-the-less I regard him as family.

So I'm delighted that Mac is now on Youtube accepting and commenting on the award.

Congratulation Mac!

Monday, August 22, 2011

2011-08-11 Lucha Rodriquez at Swan Coach House Gallery

Is there a more charming gallery than Swan Coach House Gallery? A more charming artist than Lucha Rodrequez?

Does Lucha paint, collage or sculpt?

Her work attracted the attention of The Forward Arts Foundation. Lucha won their 2010-11 Emerging Artist Award. She received a $10,000 grant and a solo show at the Swan Coach House Gallery.

Lucky us: Her show opened on August 11 and runs though September 24.

You can meet Lucha at her artist's talk on Saturday, September 10 at 11am. It's so easy to visit the gallery. It's open Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.

You'll want to meet her. She always dresses for her events.

Lucha may have invented a certain pink.

Lucha Rodriquez has worked her way through Atlanta galleries: Kibbee Gallery, Kai Lin Art, Beep Beep Gallery and more. She's shown in France and in Hong Kong. Swan Coach house represents her first solo show. Lucky us.

I was moved by her Coach House show.

Her cut paper lattices throw pink, gray, and chartreuse shadows. Colors spill, explode, and beam out yet remain in a warm embrace.


The Swan Coach House is a small classical building in a garden.

There are comfortable places inside and out.

The foyer features art and teases with Zen views. The small, perfectly proportioned, perfectly lit main room feels big and cozy.

It's an elegant space that makes art look good and people feel good. This would be a good room to measure.

Have a look.

I just blogged Lucha's Four Coats mural for Beep Beep Gallery at 573 Juniper St NE in Midtown. Lucha was kind enough to pose with me. Perhaps one day a grandchild will brag that grandpa knew Lucha Rodriquez.


The gallery is showing a few works by the Forward Arts foundation finalists.


You can't miss Meg Aubrey's sporty soccer mom. "Balancing Act" oil on canvas, 46"x30"

Friday, August 19, 2011

Gold Pink Blue Beaux-Arts at Druid Hills Baptist

Is there anything like this anywhere else in Atlanta? Thanks to Jim Wright, Mimi and Graham Walker for giving us a look inside this extraordinary place, Druid Hills Baptist Church.

If you've ever driven Ponce de Leon - and who hasn't - this stands at the Ponce's highest point on one of Atlanta's great corners. It's a breathtaking, blonde brick, beaux-art beauty.

I'm a major bore about this: It's more fun living here when we learn more about the people and great places in our own backyard. In that spirit I approached Jim Wright at the church and gathered a group of architecture tourists.

Atlanta contractor, preservationist, writer, Wright Marshall wrote this about the church:
"Edward Bennett Dougherty and Arthur Neal Robinson are two architects that have largely been forgotten in their native city...the two men designed one of Atlanta’s most impressive landmarks: the First Church of Christ, Scientist. Both men would design later churches that are similar to this Peachtree landmark...The Druid Hills Baptist Church (Dedicated July 1928) was designed by Dougherty and has many similarities. In 1923 Robinson designed the Second Church of Christ, Scientist in Cincinnati that also resembles the earlier Atlanta church."
P1010430-2010-03-08-top-Druid-Hills-Baptist-bottom 1st-Christ-Scientist
Both are unforgettable. Top: Druid Hills Baptist, bottom: First Church of Christ, Scientist.

So where is all this gold, pink and blue?

Up there.

Up there.

Up there.


The main level is rusticated, it's fancy around the horseshoe balcony.

See what I mean: plain below, fancy above.


A church discussion covers a lot of ground and a lot of Atlanta history.

This was just one room in this huge church. We slipped out to the portico.


It's at the highest point on Ponce so there is a good view.

How many times have I driven by without looking closely?


I've only scratched the surface of this huge church.

Thanks to our hosts, Jim, Mimi, Graham, and all of the Druid Hills Baptist community. Thanks to fellow tourists Warren Williams, Bobby Mays, Syd Janney, Don Janney, Eileen Drennen, Terry Stevick, Emily Wert, Bill Barber, and Wright Marshal - the more eyes we have the more we can see. I hope we can do it again soon.



Read Wright Marshall on Clem Ford in Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles.

They continued steadfastly : a history of Druid Hills Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia by Harry Shaw, Jeanne Osborne Shaw, Ga.) Druid Hills Baptist Church (Atlanta)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gone from behind the School - Teardown week (and preview)

With a great elementary school in the back yard, this could never be a boring place.

At least 2 generations of children have enjoyed a 30 second walk to school.


Sidewalks create a friendly link street between street and house.

The yard next door demonstrates how great a tiny yard can be.

I'll be back to show you what they build.

What a week I've had; here is a preview of the posts:

On Wednesday we toured the stunning yet warm and humane Druid Hills Baptist Church.

On Thursday artist Lucha Rodriquez, Forward Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award winner, opened at the Swan Coach House Gallery.

On Saturday I visited High Point, my home town, for my high school reunion.

On Monday Father Dye (top right) , Dean Michael Lykoudis from Notre Dame (bottom left), and architects Greg Palmer (top left) and Bill Harrison (bottom right) told us about moving 99-year-old St. Gerard’s Church 900 miles from Buffalo, New York, to Atlanta, Georgia.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Yellow Morningside Poptop. Teardown week.

It's not technically a teardown. They've removed the roof and are making it a 1 1/2 story.

It's in a terrific location. A few minutes of level walking takes you to Alon's baguettes, four or so hilly blocks to the elementary school. It's a few houses from this 1940's house.

kept, yellow with a red door, perfect for a couple or small family today.

Lots of trees.

You couldn't build this today anywhere inside the perimeter.

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