Venezia, 1988

A very typical, tourist type photo of Venice, the Piazetta, but the rain-streaked stones are just too tempting not to photograph.

Venice is often described as a city ‘doubled’ – all the buildings and bridges reflected in the canals.   However, in January through April, the cold, misty weather glazes the paving and the cloud-scudded sky reflects a tepid white.  Not really a city doubled, but the images and reflections of buildings are echoed across water and stone.  The distinctions between the water of the lagoon, the mist in the air, the slightly slimy, wet stone, are all blurred.  Undoubtedly this is reflected in the painting of Titian, in the Venetian tradition of ‘painterly’ work rather than the more distinct plasticity and sculptural accuity seen in the work of the Florentines.

Photograph by Mark Gerwing, 1988

DesignBuild Challenge 2

Another image from the DesignBuild Challenge that took place Saturday, April 5th.

I have been thinking alot about critical regionalism as defined by Kenneth Frampton in the essay of the same name written in 1984. At the end of the essay, he posits seven summary points, with number two exerpted here:

(“In this regard Critical Regionalism manifests itself as a consciously bounded architecture, one which rather than emphasizing the building as a free-standing object places the stress on the territory to be established by the structure erected on the site. This ‘place-form’ means that the architect must recognize the physical boundary of his work as a kind of temporal limit – the point at which the present act of building stops.”

DesignBuild Challenge

Last Saturday, Stacey Root and I, along with a number of other teams made up of local architects, participated in the DesignBuild challenge at Rembrandt Yard.  A three-hour architecture competition, each pair of architect teams were given an existing Boulder building to propose a new vision.  Stacey and I were assigned Lolitas market at 800 West Pearl Street.  The existing, low gabled building was slated for demolition and then halted.  The City is now requesting that the front facades and half of the roof be maintained.  Our challenge was to add the requested residential units and artist’s spaces while preserving some portion of the market.  Our solution was to transform Lolitas into an open-air market sheltered below the existing building’s heavy timber trusses and a new glass roof.  The new residential and retail spaces are housed in a new, predominantly masonry building that curves through the site, reminiscent of the location a former railroad siding.

The three hour competition was very intense with the work executed largely in SketchUp and real-time projected on large screens overhead.  Stacey and I were quite surprised and somewhat intimidated when after an hour or so into the task we turned around to see a hovering crowd watching our design deliberations.

Thanks goes out to Boulder Space and the Boulder Design Festival for sponsoring the competition and organizing the event.  And thanks as well to the other participating architects (Joe Vigil, David Barrett, Harvey Hine, Scott Rodwin and Larry Weeks of Commarts) and especially Stacey.