Friday, August 26, 2011

On-Site Sketching: The University: Pavilion I

Ten Pavilions are interpersed among the student rooms on the Lawn, punctuating the single-story colonnade with classrooms, housing for professors and houses for various university clubs. Jefferson solicited designs from Capitol architects William Thornton and Benjamin Latrobe for the Pavilions, each a different temple front intended to teach the Orders, and masterfully composed these architectural "specimens" into a living and learning environment reminiscent of the Greek agora.

What we wish is that these pavilions, as they will show themselves above the dormitories, shall be models of taste and good architecture, and of a variety of appearance, no two alike, so as to serve as specimens for the architectural lecturer. Will you set your imagination to work, and sketch some designs for us, no matter how loosely with the pen, without the trouble of referring to scale or rule, for we want nothing but the outline of the architecture, as the internal must be arranged according to local convenience? A few sketches, such as may not take you a minute, will greatly oblige us.      —Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Thornton, 1817

Having only a cursory knowledge of the Classical Orders, I thought if fitting to channel my desire for in-place sketching toward the lawn, with the aim to sketch each of the Pavilions and come to know these temples in their variations. A weekly tradition.

Friday, August 12, 2011

ATLANTA Streetscapes

We toured Atlanta by day, watched Gone With the Wind by night. We wanted to know the story of the burning of Atlanta, on the ground. Where would we find buildings that survived the burning, if any?  Turn of the Century, early Twentieth Century architecture illustrates the city's comeback in the Fox Theater block, with the Georgian Terrace Hotel directly across from the theater on Peachtree Street. What a dynamic space. I could only imagine it glittering before and after the shows in the twenties, womens' jewels and gowns glittering with the art deco chandeliers and marquis bulbs.

Virginia Highlands presented another cohesive block, seemingly built at once in a boom, but to resemble accretion over time by varying the rooflines and details from shop to shop in the early twentieth century languages of craftsman, art deco and traditional styles. 
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A manicured drive strip "garden", Virginia Highlands

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Revisiting SAVANNAH: SCAD Museum of Art

(top left) January 2011                                                                                 August 2011
One of many highlights of the trip was a hard hat tour of the SCAD Museum, under construction, by its architect, Christian Sottile.  I last visited the Museum [construction site] in January 2011 when the entrance tower was just framed. The welders were busy with their torches 60' above ground. Over the duration of my visit this week, I was fortunate to see the tower clad in semi-tranluscent structural channel glass. When I arrived, from the Talmadge Bridge, I was awed to see the tower punctuate the Savannah skyline, then its perfect - and serendipitous - alignment with Oglethorpe Avenue on entrance to the city - this time, in glass, about one-quarter installed.  By the time I left Savannah, the tower fully encased. 

January 2011                                                                                              August 2011
Though there are daily detail coordinations between the architects and the builders, it was amazing to see the Museum essentially just as designed while I was working in the office. To see the drawings we labored over - from the initial weekend charrette sketches to the beautiful hand-drawn plates which detailed how the 1850s brick ruin would be cradled by the smooth, modern concrete box, how the elliptical arch openings of the old train shed would be showcased in clear glass 'jewel boxes', how this civic building would bequest permanence and elegance to the public realm - come to life in restored original 'savannah grey' brick, concrete and glass was truly extraordinary. 
Working for client with a vision of excellence and a high regard for creative expression and problem-solving was key. Savannah College of Art & Design tells the story HERE.
Read MORE and watch the VIDEO on the Design of the Museum.

Revisiting SAVANNAH: Flaneurism

10 days in Savannah to Work, Visit dear friends and Enjoy being a flaneur in the best city in America to be a flaneur{Thanks to Patrick Shay for introducing the french term which encapsulates the love we have for cities like Savannah with a rich pedestrian, architectural and cultural milieu.}

The beach is also nice...not as nice as Jamaica, but Tybee Island certainly has its charms - and always, its weddings.  Just like Savannah!
I enjoyed the always-inspiring Monumental Ideas in Miniature Book-Making traveling exhibit at SCAD's Alexander Hall, under the bridge, with a friend and fellow book-maker, illustrator, interior designer, fashionisto, Kipper Millsap.