Monday, December 15, 2008

Velib - A Bicycle Transit Program

Vive Velib!!!

What a beautiful idea! I could see this in Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Houston, ..and on and on..

"On July 15, 2007, the city of Paris will debut a new self-service "bicycle transit system" called Velib’. Parisians and visitors alike will be able to pick up and drop off bicycles throughout the city at 750 locations—offering a total of 10,648 bikes. By the end of the year, there will be a Velib’ station approximately every 900 feet for a total of 1,451 locations and 20,600 bikes.

To access the bikes, riders can select a one-day card for 1 euro, a weekly card for 5 euros or an annual card for 29 euros. After the purchase of an access card, riding for the first half-hour is free and a supplement of 1 euro will be charged for an additional half-hour, 2 euros for another 30-minutes and 4 euros for every addition half-hour after that. Example: a 25 minute trip = 0 euros, a 50 minute trip = 1 euro, an hour and 15-minute ride = 3 euros.

Each Velib’ parking station will be equipped with muni-meters to purchase one and 7-day passes and to pay any additional charges once the bike is dropped off. The Velib’ meters will also provide information on other station locations."

Application forms for the annual card will be available starting June 13 at Paris District City Halls, 300 métro stations and 400 pastry shops throughout the city.

The city of Paris has over 371 km (230 miles) of cycling lanes."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt?

World Traveling Ex-Video Gamer would be the next Bad Dancer who travels fastest on the Internet...

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008)

This travelbug, Matt from where the hell is Matt? dances terribly silly all over the world but he does so in a strangely uplifting and positive way. Check it out!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pickens Plan

T. Boone Pickens is a screwd businessman. He made money off oil, and now wants to make money off wind power. His plan is a feasible one that makes sense and will reduce our dependency on foreign oil by 38%. Sierra Club even endorses him, so he's got to be on the right track. Finally a plan for NOW!

The Pickens Energy Plan

Friday, April 18, 2008

Earth Day 2008!

Wear Blue for Earth Day. Everyday is Earth Day, but it is good to recognize our beautiful home and be the best stewards that we can be!

Here's a few life altering activities:
Take the metro
Walk or bicycle
Use a canvas bag at farmer's markets
Bring your own cup to locally owned coffee houses

Reduce, reuse, recycle is the mantra of the day.

Join a local Earth Day event...
Green Apple Festivals in major cities.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Lautner - His Architectural Spirit Lives On

John Lautner is best known as the Architect for the Chemosphere and Elrod Houses, as seen in movies Body Double and Diamonds Are Forever in that order. His work is amazing and simply elegant. He will finally be recognized in an exhibit at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. See the LA Times article. His work speaks volumes. See for yourself...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Acres of Books - An LA Institution is Closing

Acres of Books, the largest Bookstore in Los Angeles is closing in one year. It has been open since 1960, when founder and established bookseller Bertrand Smith moved from Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Streamline Moderne building is being sold to Long Beach Redevelopment Agency who plans develop the property into a mixed-use development, according to the LA Times article.

Go visit Acres and Aisles of Books at their current location: 240 Long Beach Blvd. while you can!

Monday, April 7, 2008

R. I. P. Ralph Rapson

One of the last Modernist Architect's Ralph Rapson dies at 93. Considered by many in the architectural field as Minnesota's best Architects, he is best known for designing the original Guthrie Theater. The Theater was torn down and a new one was built, designed by Jean Nouvel.

He is widely remembered for his Case Study #4 home, where he depicted helicopters and people gardening in the front yard.

RR was a Pioneer in Prefab. Wieler Homes sells Rapson's Greenbelt prefab homes.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Jean Nouvel wins the 2008 Pritzker Prize!

Architects in the News:

French architect Jean Nouvel wins the Pritzker Prize.
Known as the Contextualizer, he blends his designs into urban fabric and is a master of light and form. This is the highest international award given to an Architect.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Belated Obituary to the Late Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Sir Arthur C. Clarke is best known for his book 2001:A Space Odyssey and lived on the far-away exotic island of Sri Lanka. I remember as a little girl seeing a picture of the island where Sir Clarke made his home and had a certain longing to visit this lush place which seemed so fresh in its botanical greenness. If it was a place Arthur C. Clarke called home, then it was probably a fantastical and other-worldly place that I would want to see and experience for myself. To this day I still hold onto this dream of seeing Sri Lanka, simply because it was the home of the beloved SF writer. It was also the home of renowned architect, Geoffrey Bawa, but that is for another post.

In an interview, Clarke stated: "We science-fiction writers never attempt to predict. In fact, it's the exact opposite. As my friend Ray Bradbury said, 'We do this not to predict the future but to prevent it.'".

Arthur C. Clarke influenced Carl Sagan and other scientists with his book, Interplanetary Flight. Clarke was a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. He died at age 90.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I'm starting a Cleanse tomorrow!

My boyfriend and I are doing a Cleanse for ten days. We are starting tomorrow. He has wanted to do a cleanse since Jan. 1st - a post Holiday scarification of our bodies so it could rebuild itself with healthy cells, but I wasn't so sure.

He mentioned the program in The pH Miracle by Dr. Young.

He told me how great and energized I'd feel afterwards.

He's told me how he's done it before and knows the invigorating results first hand.

Then, last Sunday I found out a dear family friend who I've known my whole life, was diagnosed with Bladder cancer. The next day, I found out another friend died suddenly of a heart attack at age 45. My father was told by his doctor that he has Atrial Fibrillations and needs to have his heart defibrillated. My dad has difficulty walking up the stairs of his home.

Now, after seeing the effects of poor diet on the health of the people around me, I am REALLY motivated. It is time to do spring cleaning for my body and soul. And what is even better, is that I have a wonderful loving partner by my side who will support me and be with me during this period of renewal and rebirth. The pattern of coffee, cream and toast in the morning will be the hardest to break. The mid day snack or cravings for cheese will be difficult, but I'll succeed! I will do it and it'll be great.

I am excited!

Now, let's start the Cleanse.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Singular Soaring Tower

This is why I love Design and Architecture. It is for beautiful and exquisite buildings such as Norman Foster's new design for downtown Moscow. It is called Crystal Island.

When it is built in 5 years, the structure will be the biggest in the world. The base is like a lotus flower that spirals up 1500 feet to a delicate spire on top. It is monstrous without being intrusive. Like Mt. Fuji, it will be a dominant figure on the Japanese skyline. Like Mt. Hood, it will be a destination for Portland city dwellers. It will certainly be a most impressive wonder of Design, Architecture and Engineering.

Foster + Partners

Friday, February 8, 2008

Jean Nouvel Designs for Century City

Amazing French architect Jean Nouvel is designing a 45-story residential tower in Century City.
It harkens of the John Hancock building in Chicago. I've been impressed and inspired by Nouvel's work since 1991 when I visited his Musée de l'Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.

View of tower from street

Condo Interior

For more information:

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fiction Pyongyang - demolition S how - Ryugyong North Korea

What is this building? Did the Architects try to create a Spaceship or the Matterhorn in downtown Pyongyang?

Some critics claim this is the Ugliest and Worst Building in the World. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Revisiting the Old - Quonset Huts for the 21st century?

Quonset huts feel organic. Their shape is natural. They reveal structural honesty. They are volumetric and bold yet humble. With all the prefabricated housing that is making a comeback, why don't we see more Quonsets? They are an elegant response to a necessary building typology - shelter and design on a tight budget.

The French Modernist, Pierre Chareau designed Robert Motherwell's home and art studio in the Hamptons from prefabricated Quonset hut kits. The house was insensitively demolished in 1985, thus obliterating the only architectural work of Chareau's in the U.S. He is not well-known in America, partly due to Philip Johnson, the director of MoMA who vetoed his exhibit in 1950. Chareau began as a furniture maker, and his architectural design reflects this detailed craft. To learn more about this under-appreciated French architect:

Weekend Utopia: Modern Living in the Hamptons (Hardcover)
by Alastair Gordon

Will the Quonset be resurrected? There are books on the subject but the trend hasn't caught on... perhaps it will.

To find out more about Quonsets:

Quonset Bldg Blog

Quonset Hut: Metal Living For The Modern Age
by Chris Chiel (Author), Julie Decker

Quonset Huts on the River Styx

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Frank Lloyd Wright's La Miniatura Tour in Pasadena

La Miniatura is FLlWr's first textile block house in Southern California and the most allusive. It is difficult to see from the road. It is tucked into a ravine and enveloped by lush trees. The house is a miniature castle, hence the name. It is a wonder of design, architecture and landscaping.

On Saturday, January 26th, I toured this house, along with several hundreds of Wright enthusiasts. It is a rare occasion to see this masterpiece. The house needs tender loving care for it is a high maintenance work of art and a "demanding mistress", lamented one of her owners. It is a building that is definitely worth preserving.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Barack the Vote!

yes, a shameless political plug for the presidential candidate of my choice.....

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ambassador Hotel and Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles

Historic Cocoanut Grove and the Hotel's Coffee Shop are slated for Demolition by LAUSD. We lost the Ambassador Hotel; now the Grove and the Coffee Shop are lost.

It was announced Tuesday, after a settlement was reached between the School District and LA Conservancy. The Conservancy and the Art Deco Society have been fighting to save the Ambassador Hotel and Cocoanut Grove from this egregious demolition.

It has been one year since the last portion of the Ambassador was demolished on Jan. 16, 2006. The Hotel's Coffee Shop was designed by renowned Architect Paul R. Williams. The 1921 hotel was a glamorous intersection of celebrity and politics in its heyday and the site of six Academy Awards presentations. Movie stars, royalty and every president from Herbert Hoover to Richard Nixon lodged there during visits to Los Angeles. It was also the scene of Robert Kennedy's assassination in 1968.

It is a sad day for Preservationists for yet another Landmark bites the dust.
Now the site is the new home for a 4,200 student K-12 school campus.

R I P.

Demolition is scheduled for Jan. 22.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Monumental Mural in Downtown LA

From the rooftop of 419 Spring, looking toward the west, I saw this impressive mural.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Johnie’s Broiler in Downey

This old carhop in Downey originally was called Harvey's Broiler.
It was illegally demolished in 1-07-2007.
Looks like it was hit with scud missile.

Worth rebuilding? Worth preserving?

Better Demolition photos

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What makes a building Worth Preserving?

The James Rose Center in Ridgewood NJ

Instead of asking, What makes a building or cultural landscape Historic? We should be asking What makes it Worth preserving? This is a much more important question to ask when faced with the future of the built environment. Owners, Builders, Planners and Architects should consider the key elements of a good project.... What makes it lasting? What does it give back to the community and the society as a whole? Is it beautiful? Is it well-built? I have compiled a list of key ingredients to a project worth preserving, whether it has already been built or not.
  • Adds character to our towns and cities.
  • Enriches our lives.
  • Stirs the soul
  • Make our communities more interesting.
  • Embodiment of the designer’s creative ideals and innovations.
  • Unique.
  • Represent a turning point, a moment in time when our view of the world was changed forever.
  • Represent the vision and passion of the architect or owner.
  • Inspirational
  • A beautiful work of art, exquisite detail and composition
  • Will be important to future
  • Timeless/ classic – Withstands test of time
  • Sense of place and community
  • Not disposable
  • Adaptable for future use
  • Inspires intense feeling
  • Safe and secure
  • Endurance on more than one level - cultural, economic, esthetic
What do you think is worth preserving?