Architect, Landscape Architect, Urban Designer, Land Use Planner, Environmental Observer

Saturday, October 17, 2009

the Influence of Art on Architecture....

... and a celebration of



You know, music, art - these are not just little decorations to make life prettier. They're very deep necessities which people cannot live without.


Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon.


When we love a woman we don't start measuring her limbs.


Every child is an artist; the problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.


Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.


The purpose of Art is to create enthusiasm.


The important thing is to create.


The chief enemy of creativity is 'good taste.'


Picasso changed the way we look at the world. He changed art from a subject of representation to a subject of time and composition.

He influenced artists of all persuasions by releasing them from having narrow parameters for what they could do.


One of the architects most associated with artists is
Frank Gehry



I search out the work of artists, and use art as a means of inspiration.


I want to be open-ended.


There are no rules, no right or wrong.


I'm confused as to what's ugly and what's pretty.


Architect Frank Gehry always has credited artists with inspiring his iconoclastic buildings, famous for their exuberant use of mundane materials, odd angles, wild curves and beautiful light.

. . .

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Style of Architecture called "Monterey" -

Monterey, California is about 45 minutes from here. I have often seen a style of architectural design referred to as "Monterey".

There are not that many adobes around Monterey. What is the style about?

the Monterey adobe style

An architectural style that came into existence in Monterey, California, between about 1835 and 1840; typically, a two-story house with a full-façade balcony supported by plain wood posts and enclosed by wood railings. A modified version of this style was revived from about 1920 to 1960, combining Spanish Colonial architecture with some elements of early New England colonial architecture; in this 20th-century version, the balcony is typically cantilevered rather than supported by wood columns from ground level, as in the earlier Monterey style.

Nineteenth-century houses in this style usually were characterized by: thick whitewashed adobe walls; a low-pitched gable roof or hipped roof with its ridge parallel to the façade, usually covered with hand-split wood shingles, but sometimes with tiles; occasionally a decorative chimney cap or chimney hood; double-hung wood-frame windows with mullions; often, window shutters; occasionally, full-length windows opening onto the balcony; a relatively simple paneled entry door. Doors in 20th-century houses in this style are often imitative of those found in Colonial Revival architecture, including paneling, a fanlight over the door and sidelights flanking the door; occasionally, some elements of Greek Revival are included in the wood trim around doors and windows.


representative buildings ...




drawings and photos are from the

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Industrial Age Landscape, part 2 ...

these are the remnants of a wood milling operation near Felton, California -

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Goodbye to Kate's Favorite Building !!

This is at 6th Street and Mission Street in San Francisco -

For the last twenty years or so, this building has been vacant. An artist put these objects on the outside and coming through the windows of this building.

My daughter Kate has remarked on this building every time we go into San Francisco. Leaving Highway 280 and heading up 6th Street, the building is very prominent.

As John King pointed out in one of his columns, the building has been taken by eminent domain by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and will be torn down.

. . .

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Extra Ordinary Houses ...

During my graduate school at the University of Oregon I took a class called Landscape Perception. We were asked to create a "guide". I decided to sketch the most interesting small houses that I passed everyday on my walk from the housing complex to the campus.
the strong use of bilateral symmetry
is the obvious design tool in these small house facades

. . .

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ye Shall Know Them By Their Cones -

During a recent walk to work, I picked up four cones.
Can you name them?


B. ___________________

C. ___________________

D. ___________________

answers -
a. Cedrus deodora
b. Sequoia sempervirens
c. Pinus radiata
d. Psuedotsuga menzeisii
1. What are their common names?
2. Which are California natives?
3. Which come from limited natural ranges?
4. Which come from very small plant families?

. . .

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ye Shall Know Them By Their Buds ...

I first learned plants in Oregon.
There are a lot of deciduous trees up there and they are difficult to identify in the winter.
To do that, you have to know what the buds look like.

The only way I could do that as a complete novice was to draw them.
Here are a sampling of those drawings dealing with the Maples (Acer) -

. . .

Friday, October 2, 2009

Understanding Materials - Concrete Masonry Units

As a structural material, concrete masonry units
(often called concrete block) are pretty versatile.

There are a number of factors to consider when selecting block -

1. Block size - 8" high x 16" wide x 8" deep nominal size is standard, but half height is available.

2. Face texture - standard is a precision finish, but split face, combed and textured are available.

3. Block color - grey is standard, but about 12 different tones are available.

4. Aggregate color - can be black and white or multi-color.

5. Block bond pattern - standard is running bond, stacked bond is possible and 1/2 and 1/3 block stagger is possible.

6. Mortar color - light grey is standard, but about twenty colors are available.

7. Mortar joint type - concave is standard, but raked, weathered and reveals are also possible.


If you use the cheapest block in the most mundane pattern,
this is what it looks like...

but there are many other combinations of
block sizes, block colors, textures, bond patterns and mortar colors
that can give interesting and attractive block walls -

it is also possible to alternate texture and color on one wall -

these are generated from a downloadable program from Basalite Concrete Products
. . .


Recommended Books

  • - Precedents in Architecture
  • - City Comforts
  • - A Pattern Language
  • - The Architecture of Happiness
  • - Architectural Composition
  • - Design Language
  • - Elements of Garden Design
  • - Chambers for a Memory Palace