Archive for the ‘Daily’ Category

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Architecture Monday

January 6, 2020

One of the buildings I was really excited to see on the trip was the Fantoft Stave Church, south of Bergen in Norway.  A re-creation of a church from the 1150s (the original had been moved then damaged by arson (!)), it is representative of an old style of simple local churches constructed using large ore-pine posts.  Far from grand cathedrals, they were more intimately created by the local communities, humble yet still imbued with a sense of craft and care.  What also really caught my attention was their delightful complexity of form, with multiple roofs, an exterior arcade, and the swath of structural members within.

The building did not disappoint.  It’s not a large church, with maybe seating for 24 people, but it exudes presence.  The dark monotone exterior strikes a strong silhouette, contrasting nicely with the surrounding greenery as well as the sky, especially with the prominent and wicked abstract dragon heads that jut from the ridges.

Inside, the unfinished and bright wood surfaces are a surprise.  The solidity of the main support posts heighten the verticality of the space, and many nice details abound, including curved trusses, carved cross-braces, and more.

And I had to include this picture I found online, for it looks especially stunning in the fall!

Really great work, I loved it’s intimate yet grand feel, and it’s a great example of local work using humble materials all designed to a high degree to create something beautiful, personal, and meaningful.

(It’s also the site of my funniest accident of the trip… I was stepping back to take a picture, figuring I would lean up against the fence behind me.  Except I failed to notice that the fence was not on the plinth upon which the church sits, but about a foot back, meaning there was a gap and drop off there.  And so down into that gap did my foot go, and down between the fence and the plinth did I fall.  Amusingly, the gap was narrow enough that my body had to squeeze between the fence and the plinth on its gravity-induced travel, which means I fell, completely horizontal, at a relatively slow speed for what felt like a long time (as my brain tried to make sense of what was going on) before being deposited quite gently onto the ground.  I laughed so hard, and nothing was injured except my pride.)

If you’re ever in Bergen, I heartily recommend checking it out.  The Fantoft Stave Church by architects unknown.

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The Rise of Musing Jedi

January 5, 2020

And so my friends we have come now to the end.  Episode IX, the final chapter in the “main” Star Wars saga!  Thus far in the trilogy, The Force Awakens largely disappointed, and The Last Jedi was strong in concept and rich in both direction and character arcs if, unfortunately, weak in storytelling.  For this third installment, JJ is back to direct.  Will the third time the charm?  Will The Rise of Skywalker rise to the occasion and satisfyingly wrap up this 42 year journey?

Spoilers ahead…. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Philosophy Tuesday

December 31, 2019

You are whole and complete

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You always have been

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And you always will be

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You may not experience it

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And you may sometimes take actions that don’t reflect it

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But it doesn’t change the truth of who and what you are

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There are just barriers to your experiencing it

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Welcome to the New Year

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Whole and Complete

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Headed North

December 24, 2019

Wishing everyone a great end of the year and happy all the festivities!  Be back in about a week.  To tide you all over, here’s a photo of some lovely lynx ‘tocks!

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Architecture Monday

December 23, 2019

Wrapping up the city hall tours we end in Aarhus, for a building that is both quite different and yet fully within the same spirit of the others.

Without a doubt the outside is quite different with an austere presentation to the world.  Rectangular, punched windows, and covered in a rigid grid of grey marble.  And punctuated by the clocktower that looks to all the world like a thick chimney wrapped in scaffolding (which, interestingly, was not part of the original design but added when the townsfolk discovered there were no plans for a clocktower, which didn’t fit their idea(l) of a city hall).  Opened in 1941, it fits its time with the rise of early modernism.  Yet it is not without flourishes, including the heavy use of copper (such as for the lightly pitched roof) and a complex interplay of forms at the entrance.

Inside things really take off.  The great hall is indeed great, a four-story high space ringed with delicate and curving balconies (each housing more gathering rooms), a roof of shell-like vaults each ringed with windows, and all culminating at a giant window wall that looks out over the town.  Wrapped in rich and warm wood and with a herringbone wood floor and plenty of hanging lanterns, it’s an exhilarating space to be in.  I admit, I was not expecting this at all, both in that I didn’t really know it was there and didn’t expect such a wonderful feeling space.  It’s great.  (Stand in it by clicking here.)

What really makes the building is a plethora of lovely details, from the grand mural in the entryway (which is on the back side of the council chambers that hover over the entrance, presenting democracy towards the town), to the amazing wood floor and curving staircase, to the artistically crafted doors, and to the long and linear administrative wing, with its atrium down the middle allowing light from the equally linear skylight above to flow in.  (Very reminiscent, BTW, of the Marin County Civic Centre, which makes me wonder if Frank Lloyd Wright was influenced by it.)

No pipe organ here, but the piece de resistance here was the elevator core.  That sounds… bizarre, but just check out the design of each car, with their niches for the entrance window, signs, and the custom and deco call button panel, not to mention the careful crafting of the wood scrim that envelops it all.

Another great civic centre.  It was the last we visited, but certainly not the least.

The Aarhus Rådhus by Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller.

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Wonder Wednesday

December 18, 2019

Wow, what an amazing wonder of light and snow.  Halos, pillars of light, glowing coronas… simply beautiful.

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Philosophy Tuesday

December 17, 2019

It is always good to remember that apologies

(True, authentic apologies)

Are not automatic means to an end.

*

We cannot simply put a quarter

Into the “apology/forgiveness machine

And expect that all is forgotten,

And we go back to doing whatever it is

We want to do.

*

Real apologies take courage,

They take vulnerability,

And they come from a place

Of ownership and responsibility.

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We are OFFERING an apology,

That may or may not be ACCEPTED.

And even if it IS

That doesn’t mean

That there won’t be any CONSEQUENCES.

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To truly apologize

We offer the apology,

And then take

(Yes, take!)

WHATEVER WE GET.

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We acknowledge the impact

That our actions have had,

Whether intentional or not,

And we make no demands.

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We ask for forgiveness.

And we take what we get.