Friday, January 1, 2016

The Seattle Central Public Library: Better Late than Never

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Front view of the Seattle Central Public Library, seen from the main entrance (bottom left corner). Photo ©Darren Bradley 

The Seattle Central Public Library opened to the public in May of 2004. Since then, it's been written about and photographed extensively. At this point, there's probably little or nothing that anyone could say to add to the conversation - or the photographs already taken. But I'm going to do it anyway. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Brutalist Acropolis in the Great White North: Simon Fraser University

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Stairs to the Academic Quadrangle. One of two mosaic tile murals by artist Gordon Smith is visible. Photo ©Darren Bradley
I was just in Vancouver, Canada for a quick two-day trip to visit family for Christmas. The short visit meant that I would have almost no time to see or photograph any architecture - despite Vancouver being full of great modernist treasures. Fortunately, I did find an opening on Christmas Day to sneak away for a couple of hours. Most people, when given the opportunity spend a couple of hours in one of the world's most beautiful cities, would probably head to someplace like Granville Island or Stanley Park, to take in the sites. I went to Burnaby... 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Goodsill Residence

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The central courtyard of the Goodsill Residence by Vladimir Ossipoff (1953). Photo ©Darren Bradley

While recently in Honolulu, I had the rare treat of visiting another home designed by renowned Honolulu architect Vladimir Ossipoff. I've had the chance to visit and stay in several of his homes around Hawaii over the years, and have also blogged earlier about my friend Bob Liljestrand's stunning house. Every time I'm back in the islands, I try to see at least one more. This time, I finally got to see the Goodsill House. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Concrete in Paradise: The East-West Center at the University of Hawaii

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John F. Kennedy Theatre, by I.M. Pei (1962). Photo ©Darren Bradley
Pritzker Prize-winning architect I.M. Pei is perhaps best known to Americans as the guy who designed the glass pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre museum in Paris. He also designed quite a few notable buildings around the world, including the Dallas City Hall, the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington, DC, the Kennedy Library, the Javits Center in New York, the Hancock Tower in Boston, and the Bank of China tower in Hong Kong, among others... But relatively few people know that he also designed a collection of buildings on the campus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Jean Charlot Residence

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Rear elevation of the Charlot House. Photo ©Darren Bradley

While in Honolulu for a few days last week (more on that later), I had the opportunity to spend some time at the Charlot Residence in Kahala. I had to admit that I was not familiar with the property. After now seeing the house, I have to wonder why not, as it deserves to be very well known. The Charlot house is a beautiful blend of historical and regional design, as adapted to a truly modernist aesthetic. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Hidden Architectural Treasure in San Diego's Mission Valley

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The Garden Room here is a free-standing glassed in pavilion used for conferences. Photo ©Darren Bradley

I am frequently told by people who see my photos of buildings around town that they'd never noticed the buildings until they saw my photographs - even though they'd driven or walked past it for years. I take that as a compliment, and it's partially the point of why I do this in the first place - to get people to stop and notice and maybe even appreciate building they'd otherwise ignore. But recently, it was my turn to have someone else point out a building I never knew was there - even though I'd driven past it thousands of times. 


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mr. Church

Carlton Hills Lutheran Church
The Carlton Hills Lutheran Church in Santee, California was Des Laurier's first major commission after forming his own office. The church won an AIA National Award of Merit in 1959 for its innovative design, and numerous other designs for churches soon followed. The church features a graceful, sweeping hyperbolic paraboloid roof that would become a common characteristic for his designs, as well as concrete walls with cutouts for stained glass, inspired by Le Corbusier's design for Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France.
Photo ©Darren Bradley. 
Architect Robert E. Des Lauriers was one of San Diego's leading architects in the post-war period from the late 1950s through the 70s. While Des Lauriers designed many houses, commercial offices, and other buildings throughout San Diego, he developed a reputation for his designs of places of worship for all denominations, and become known as "Mr. Church." 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Niemeyer's Brutalist Masterpiece in France

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Siège du Parti Communiste Français. Photo ©Darren Bradley

While in Paris, I occasionally stop by the French Communist Party (PCF) headquarters building to see famed architect Oscar Niemeyer's most celebrated work in Paris. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Frank Gehry Does Paris (Again)

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Entrance to the Fondation Louis Vuitton by Frank Gehry. Photo ©Darren Bradley

Gehry's new contribution to the Paris skyline has made quite an impact on the arts and architecture scene worldwide, as would be expected when one of the world's most celebrated architects designs a project of this scale in a city like Paris. And after visiting the project, it seems quite clear that making an impact was the primary goal of both the architect and the man who commissioned it - the Chairman of Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH), Bernard Arnault.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

International Exposition - Italian style...

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For the 1889 World's Fair, Paris got the Eiffel Tower. For the 1958 World's Fair, Brussels got the Atomium. For the 1962 World's Fair, Seattle got the Space Needle. And for the 2015 World's Fair, Milan got... This. The Tree of Life, as it's called, is intended as the symbol of the Milan International Exposition. Not sure it will have the same broad impact or longevity as the some of the other symbols, but it's certainly in keeping with Milan's more low key approach. Photo ©Darren Bradley
It's hard to believe that it's already been five years since Expo 2010 in Shanghai. I was lucky enough to be able to attend that event, and it completely blew me away. The sights, the sounds, the architecture, the people, the city... It was sensory overload, and I loved every second of it. So I was very excited when I learned that the next Expo would be in Milan in 2015 (International Expos are held every five years, with smaller events held in the interim, on occasion). I immediately began making plans to attend, which I did at the beginning of July this year. 

But what I found in Milan was something completely different than what I'd seen in Shanghai - both in scale and style.