weather, paint, wood

As regular visitors to this blog might recognize, there have been rather a lot of photos of old and worn trucks that I have taken and posted.  These are all from the same couple of places here in Boulder where these semi-trailers are rented out as storage spaces.  It may be my favorite place in Boulder and certainly a source of inspiration.

Today, just patterns from the wearing of paint off plywood:

most of the truck photos are gathered in a set on my Flickr page if you are interested:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mgerwing/sets/72157612821390755/

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different cities, different art?

This is a quick watercolor sketch I did last week of the Chicago skyline from the north side of Belmont Harbor.

this view is always interesting early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is shining on either the left or right side of the buildings.  The distant view is possible because of the distance that the harbor entrance creates, making a layer of Lincoln Park trees run along below the layer of tall buildings.

Different cities inspire people in different creative mediums.  I think of New York as a writer’s town.  By far the most sketching I have ever done was a two-year stint working in Boston.

Maybe the picturesque plazas and squares in Boston establish those views for sketching in a way that the grid of streets in New York and Chicago doesn’t allow.

The watercolor above  is a bit unusual in that most of my looking around Chicago has been done with a camera.  The hard, straight rationality of Chicago’s grid of streets and the regularity of office windows may lend itself more to the shifting light and perspective best captured on film.

I’ve now lived in Boulder longer than I did in Chicago.  And so, Boulder’s medium of expression?  I guess I’m still working on that.

Crown Fountain, Millennium Park, Chicago

Millennium Park in Chicago has become a very interesting foil to the Art Institute.  The band shell/amphitheater by Frank Gehry is a bit disappointing (too 2-dimensional), but the Crown Fountain is one of the best pieces of public art in the city.  Designed by Jaume Plensa, the fountain is two 50 foot high glass block towers with video projections on their facing sides.  The projections are faces of people from the wide spectrum of citizens of Chicago.

In warm weather the fountains ‘spit’ a stream onto a slate plaza, usually filled with kids playing in the stream.

On a recent trip to Chicago, the Midwestern rain had the fountains turned off, but the reflection in the plaza doubled each image, making a kind of visual skyscraper to join the others in the city.

Crown Fountain 02

north tower

Crown Fountain 01

south tower

photos by Mark Gerwing

abandoned house, western Kansas

built of the really beautiful local limestone, this house is small but quite grand

stonehouse06bwsmall

the house and the tree hold steadfastly to each other on the wind-whipped landscape

stonehouse02bwsmall

stonehouse05

stonehouse01

the worn softness of the stone is a strange contrast to the brittle sharpness and geometry of the metal roof.

the southwest corner is failing as the mortar wets and dries, cracking out under the stones

A stalwart little house

photos by Mark Gerwing

30th and Glenarm Condos, Northeast Denver Housing Center, Denver, Colorado

I recently passed by a project that was completed a number of years ago that was designed by myself, with Arcadea as the architect-of-record.

northwest corner small

This project started as a national AIA Young Architects competition in conjunction with Northeast Denver Housing Center and the convening of the AIA convention in Denver.  My wife, Kate Iverson, and myself conceived of the winning submission of a series of small, market-rate condos and some ancillary retail space for this site in Five Points, in Denver.

ND sketch 8.25

The character of the neighborhood has changed rather dramatically from the time of the initial competition to the final execution of the building five years later, to the current situation.  Once a challenged, under-served neighborhood with the parallel problems of unemployment and crime, the place has now been significantly upgraded by the local light-rail service and some questionable gentrification.  Some of the newer projects, like this one, were carried out by local non-profits on empty lots and greatly improved the neighborhood.  Many simply displaced existing residents.

Our solution to the problem of the site was to try to tie together the disparate scales of buildings on the adjacent streets and make a tough, but street-friendly building.  I think it has been successful on the architectural level, but on the socio-economic one, I am not the one to judge or maybe even comment.  So many things are beyond the reach of the architecture to positively effect.  We should at least stick to the “first do no harm” motto.