Friday, November 26, 2010

And now for a shameless plug... Black Friday edition

You can think of this as akin to an NPR fundraising drive, without the serving-the-greater-good component... unless by that you mean "making holiday shopping for a LOST aficionado (geek) really easy."

Anyway, I was recently notified that my LOST shop on Cafe Press was upgraded (!) to a premium shop.  What that means is that you can now purchase all of my designs (previously blogged here) on every item offered at Cafe Press.  If you were wondering, the upgrade occurred largely thanks to the astronomical success of the Drive Shaft World Tour t-shirts, which of course were Maura's idea:

Shop for this and other designs at Another Pearl.  The show may be over, but the love remains.  Happy Black Friday!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Photos of the Week: What Hath Dog Wrought

For two weeks after the Daylight Savings switch, our dog (Blue) decided to protest its legitimacy by waking us up three hours earlier than normal.  The only tactic that appeased her was taking her for 2-hour walks.  Eventually, this grew tiresome--even to Blue.  Before the honeymoon ended, though, I was (we were) able to experience Brooklyn in a completely new way: alone. 

One version of the morning routine sent us to the Promenade, Fulton Landing and Brooklyn Bridge Park.  Over the course of an hour, we never encountered another soul. The misanthrope in me now knows the perfect time to visit these places.  Very serene.  Half an hour later, I collapsed.  The next day, we returned to the Promenade:

Brooklyn Promenade: 11/17, approx. 5:30am
Brooklyn Promenade: 11/17, approx. 5:30am
Promenade pavers

A sidenote: this fantastic blog post pretty much sums up our two weeks after DST.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Bridge Is Over

Carroll Street Bridge.  Aerial photo via Google Maps.

In our old neighborhood, crossing the Gowanus Canal, stands the oldest retractile bridge in the United States.  Built in 1889 and restored a hundred years later, the Carroll Street Bridge stands out for its unique operating mechanism (a sliding bridge?!) and its trapezoidal shape.  I'm no historian, but if I had to guess, it seems clear why they designed such a bridge here in the 1880s: at the design presentation to the Community Board, the residents of the luxury waterfront condos objected to their views being obstructed by a drawbridge.  Actually, while it takes up a great deal of space in plan--it requires a docking platform at least the size of the bridge--it allows vertically unobstructed passage for the entire width of the clear space.

On another note, not once in the half an hour I spent on the bridge last weekend did I catch so much as a glimpse of a six-legged dog or a fish with three eyes.  Progress on the Gowanus cleanup front!

View across bridge to West
Detail of steel tension rod connection

Friday, November 12, 2010

CP-POW: Muriel Guépin Gallery

Installation at the Muriel Guépin Gallery, on Bergen Street just west of Smith, in Brooklyn.  Artist Unknown (to me).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Photo of the Week: New York Dock Co.

New York Dock Co.

Red Hook, Brooklyn: 160 Imlay Street.  A former New York Dock Company warehouse is undergoing an extensive renovation.  It seems as though a few years ago, it was slated to become a humongous condo development.  Now, it is rumored to maintain its life as a warehouse.  The twin building to its North, 62 Imlay, has supposedly been resurrected as a maximum-security storage space for Christie's auction house.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Topography: Evolution of Lower Manhattan

Site Model examining the evolution of Lower Manhattan: an artifact created during the site analysis stage of a project for Celia Liu's High Line studio at UWM (2003).  The layers of the model explore the superimposition of the rigid Manhattan street grid (represented by the white plastic eggcrate) over the topography of the island, pre-European settlement (white museum board).  Above the grid, I created another layer representing the subway system.  While still confined to the strictures of the grid, as most subway access points obviously correspond to heavily trafficked intersections, the subway lines reinstate more fluid and organic paths of movement over (or under, as it were) the rationalized grid.

Site Model: Overview
Site Model: Detail
Site Model: Details

Materials: Foam core and museum board base, plastic eggcrate louver, strap-ties, nuts, bolts, washers and reclaimed wires.

With a little more time, I might look into how other systems fit into the model (underground aquifers, sewage, etc.).  In the meantime, check out The Welikia Project (an extension of the Mannahatta Project) and a diagram of Manhattan's changing shoreline over the course of the past 400 years.

UPDATE: this map from 1880 is quite interesting.  It shows the street grid at the time with the original topography overlaid.

Friday, October 29, 2010

UPDATE: Fluid Adagio finalists announced

Last Tuesday, I posted my entry that came up short for Salt Lake City's Fluid Adagio competition.  The finalists have been announced, and one image from each of the five entries selected as finalists can be seen here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Photo of the Week: Daruma

A Daruma doll, collected by Maura on her trip to Japan a few years ago.  One eye is drawn when a wish is made, with the other left unfinished until the wish is fulfilled.

Daruma doll

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

On Friday, I received word that I was not, in fact, selected as a finalist for the Salt Lake City Fluid Adagio competition.  Alas...

Regardless, below is the entry I submitted in collaboration with artist--and fellow Brooklynite--Jong Il Ma.  The winning project will occupy the future site of the SLC Ballet West dance company, to be built next spring with a budget of $46,000 for design, materials and labor.

View from Southwest

Rubato: Rhythmic flexibility within a phrase or measure; a relaxation of strict time.

This light, whimsical structure will embody and encourage a dynamic action and interaction with its inhabitants. Rubato might be employed by the ballet company—or other artists—for outdoor performances open to the public, either as a backdrop or as an integral participant in the performance.

A series of ribs created from segments of poplar lumber dance across the site, intertwined with an array of crisscrossing nylon ropes (a potential supporting structure for a canopy of snow in winter). Inspired by Salt Lake City’s mountainous surrounds and the grace of the ballet, the basic profile of the arch repeats itself throughout. The scale of the arches is modulated between three sizes. Each arch is a mirror image of the previous component and offset to varying degrees. Combined with the variation in height, this lends the overall composition a richness and complexity that belies its economical and repetitive elements. While visitors might experience a continuous winding procession through the arches, the structure pulls apart at alternating intervals to allow lateral passage. The composition and movement of the structure create large pockets of space ideal for performances, temporary merchant stands or simply relaxation and enjoyment.

Composed of readily available materials, the installation will tread lightly on the ground, directing its energy—and our attention—skyward. Taking cues from the rich landscape of the region, red gravel will be employed to blanket the site with a monochromatic stage from which the structure will spring. The ground plane of the site will be minimally disturbed with a series of concrete footings to support the poplar arches, mediated with steel plate and bolt connections. Light and ephemeral, when its temporary occupation of the site has run its course, the project may be dismantled just as swiftly as it arrives.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

CP-POW (Cell Phone Photo of the Week)

Part 1 in a new series!  Hold on to your hats...

Outside a glass studio on the Gowanus Canal... hanging it out to dry.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Photos of the Week: RHCT

Sunset: Sunday, September 5.

Red Hook Container Terminal: Filtered/Unfiltered.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pass the Corbusier (or Architectural Analysis 002: Villa Savoye vs. Villa La Roche)

Comparative Analysis of two houses designed by Le Corbusier--Villa Savoye (in Poissy) and Villa La Roche (in Paris).  Axonometric and plan drawings reproduced from literature from Le Centre des Monuments Nationaux and the Le Corbusier Foundation.  Sketches and photos are mine, as are the really high-tech red overlays.

Initial Documentation

Central Ordering Devices

Fluidity and Dynamism

Relationship to Exterior

Completed in the Spring of 2005 for the SARUP Florence-Paris program with Professor Kyle Talbott.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Walking with Haussmann's Ghost (or Urban Space Analysis 002: Parc Citroën vs. Parc de la Villette)

Comparative Analysis of two modern Parisian parks.  Site plans reproduced from park literature.  Sketches and photos are mine.

Paris (Satellite Photo via Google Maps)
Initial Documentation
Ordering Systems
Crossing Paths/Vertical Connectors
Integration of Urban Context

And as a little carrot... evidently you've gotta get up to get down.  One of the many reasons I love Parc Citroën:

Parc Citroën Cross Section

UPDATE: Apparently the editors at Project for Public Spaces (PPS) don't know a good thing when it smacks them in the face.  Thankfully the readers dropped the knowledge in the comments section.

Completed in the Spring of 2005 for the SARUP Florence-Paris program with Professor Kyle Talbott.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Church of What's Happening Now (or Architectural Analysis 001: Santo Spirito vs. Amiens)

The first in a series--this time, it's architectural: a rudimentary comparative analysis of the Church of Santo Spirito (in Florence) and Amiens Cathedral (in Amiens, France).  For those of you on the edge of your seat after this nailbiter, further exploration of Amiens will follow at a later date.

Initial Documentation

Materials, Order and Delineation

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Spoken into the Void: Adolf Loos and the Search for Truth

Art, which made the floor under the ancient's foot and the vault of the church ceiling over the Christian's head, is now cramped onto boxes and bracelets.  The times are worse than one thinks.   
- Goethe

The evolution of culture is synonymous with the removal of ornamentation from objects of everyday use. 
 - Adolf Loos, "Ornament and Crime" (1908)
The outspoken critic of ornamentation, who nevertheless could not quite live up to his own ideal. Adolf Loos: the declared foe of the Viennese Secession and the German Werkbund. Pevsner’s “enigma.” While his texts, when taken as individual essays, are chock-full of inherent contradictions, Janet Stewart contends that the complexities and contradictions of Loos’ texts are a reflection of the modern age of which he saw himself a part. She sees “a ‘new’ Loos, simultaneously ‘modern’ and ‘traditional,’ whose sense of paradox identifies him as a sensitive barometer of the tensions characteristic of Viennese modernity” (9).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pi-Yahtzee! (or Urban Space Analysis 001: Santa Maria Novella vs. Santo Spirito)

Dear Loyal Readers (all 4 of you),

Today marks the first in what I hope to be a continuing series of explorations of successful urban spaces.  To get things going, I'll start by reaching back into the vault to grab a few analyses--gasp--I've already done.  Future posts might be a little more blog-friendly.  As it were, the initial analyses were documented somewhat on the fly during my '05 semester abroad.  Exhibit A: a comparative analysis of two piazzi in Florence--Piazza S. Maria Novella and Piazza S. Spirito.

For reference, a site plan of central Florence, with the two areas under consideration highlighted:

Florence (Satellite Photo via Google Maps)
S. Maria Novella: Initial Documentation
S. Spirito: Initial Documentation

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Love's Labors: LOST

Below are a few of the LOST-themed designs that prompted me to get into the T-Shirt business (evidently a latent passion of mine).  These and others can be found at Another Pearl, my shop on cafepress.

Solitary Hatch
Smoke and Ankh

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Fortress, The Warehouse and the Marketplace: 2005 Master's Thesis (Abridged Version)

The curious and purposeful individual is fueled in part by the idea that there are others out there like him.  He seeks knowledge and finds joy in learning, but he also knows that what he learns and what he values are intrinsically connected to what he does and what he produces.  He therefore views the library not as a place of escape, but as a forum and a resource integral to the course of his life.

This project is not a monastery, an intimidating civic palace, an egalitarian warehouse of books, or simply a digital resource center.  Why must the library act as a stand-alone civic institution?  It is my contention that the connection between thought and action, between the individual and the community, will most clearly be seen when manifestations of education and business are fused together within the same program, with the library serving as the mediating core.  Classroom space for a school for continuing education and office space for start-up businesses commingle, tied together by the library and ancillary public spaces (an exhibition hall, a lecture theater, a coffee shop).

Keeping in mind the parallel goals of social interaction and the possibility for isolated contemplation, I formulated two design strategies: embedding and porosity.  They enjoy a complementary dialogue, as the act of embedding elaborates not only upon the idea of solitary thought, but rooting the project in the city and in the site.  The embedded site and building are then rendered porous, as spaces are carved out and the enclosure is pulled apart.  These two strategies play off of each other to create a dynamic succession of experiences, alternating between the open forum and the contemplative realm.

Early Conceptual Sketches
View of South Entry Courtyard

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Coming soon, in feature-length glory... a year in the life of the Red Hook Container Terminal.  Begun as a daily documentation of the ever-changing commercial and climatic activity in and around the terminal, I'm hoping the project will come to fruition as a multimedia installation.  For now, here are a few of my favorite captures.  More to follow...


From my installation proposal:

"An observation of one year, one day and one hour in the life of the Red Hook Container Terminal will project onto a three-dimensional topographical representation of South Brooklyn, Buttermilk Channel, Governors Island and Lower Manhattan.  The time-lapsed photographic documentation of the ever-changing commercial and climatic activity provides a base for site-specific mapping.  The information embedded within the photographs will be dissected and extrapolated to create geographical and informational overlays.  Mapped information will include: changing sky conditions and weather patterns; the fluctuating density of the container yard; positions of cranes, barges and cruise ships; and cargo and shipping routes, timed to correspond to the passing of days."