Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Meet and Greet

Left to right: Chris Wass, Ron Noble, Tony Youngker, Brian McAchran, Jay Broadbent and Cheryl Sedig has the really nice job.  I really was there but holding the Iphone.

Jack a 9 year old neighbor of mine just knocked yesterday to see if my girls wanted to go ride bikes.  This is another sign for amazing things that keep coming my way.   My street has been very quiet since some families moved out and houses have been vacant.  Seeing his inquiring big blue eyes filled me with hope of how I used to ride my bike with my friends at that age until the sun went down.  I got on my pink Muran mountain bike and Jack and I headed out to find my girls.  I rode standing on my pedals with my black Babolat tennis shoes and my t-shirt that says "Estrella Elementary Rocks" feeling full of myself.  My girls had already taken their bikes out of the garage and were somewhere between the rise and fall of the our mountain neighborhood.  Kids were outside riding bikes!  Somebody pinch me now!

Just an hour before Jack came to my door I was involved in a high energy, life-giving type of meet and greet at Cafe 25:35 in Downtown Buckeye.   

The Main Street Coalition which I have been a part of for the last 2 years were meeting with a group of big thinkers that have developed massively exciting plans for Historic Buckeye.  This is just evidence of what I had been talking about weeks ago during the presentation of the Design Initiatives for Down Town Buckeye.  I had finished the talk by saying that we want to attract the best of the best so we can play out bigger ideas on a grand scale.  Well here is evidence of this desire filling in.

I am still taking it all in right now.  It is like someone read my mind, made it 100 times better and did all the work.  It is really an exciting time to be living on this mountain and being an architect.  To think that Buckeye Main Street will be involved with what I saw just a glimpse of yesterday is exciting!   I am in the right place at the right time.  I am ready.

Thank you to Tony Youngker owner of Cafe 25:35  for providing great food and drinks yesterday.  If you can, stop by this up-cycled 1950's brick building on Buckeye Main Street for a BLT.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Keep Cover Tight Disconnect Circuit Before Opening

Chime with a deep gong sound.  Made from a tank and bus signage.  Pure Buckeye ingenuity.

It is easy to feel good when I am here at Jackrabbit Nursery in Buckeye, Arizona.  There is a smallish black cat that doesn't have a name and a peacock that wanders around spying on customers.  This was a basic kind of day.  No meetings and no real agenda.  Basic like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and making chicken soup from scratch.

I hope these roosters didn't hear the part about chicken soup.    When they did take a break from eating, they would throw back their head and hack up a "cack ah cawww" without any care in the world.  They  didn't give a rip. 

Simple structures sitting under shade trees are the gems in Buckeye.  The owners of the Jackrabbit Nursery didn't care that my children were scampering around their farm without my supervision at all times.  We were free to explore.  There were horses to pet, a pot belly pig sitting in the shade and lots of cacti for sale. You can see pig on the left above.  

No nursery in Buckeye is complete without some old gas pumps sitting around.  Keep cover tight disconnect circuit before opening.  The colors on this photo could make for a nice color palette someday.

Action photo of me carrying my keys. The fun really started when I put my keys in my bag and just watched the roosters.  It is fun to take a photos of different vantage points. 

Look at the layers in this photo.  The rusted post and beam framing the sky.  The building in the background framing the Estrella Mountains.  The cacti were being watered and my kids were petting horses with covers over their eyes.

A splash of turquoise on the sun bleached wood shed.  

This is the weird part.  When I got back to my studio I felt like I had been to the Jackrabbit at this exact time last year.  Today is my daughter Eva's birthday.  I found myself leafing through my chase bank notes from last year in October.  Sure enough, I had taken my girls to this same place last October 24th in 2011 on Eva's birthday and bought one plant.  It is like the admission to wander around the place and pet everything. The black cat was a kitten and the owner had just found her.  I am pretty sure that I made chicken soup that day too.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's Not About the Trees... But It Is

This is what Jeffrey's computer screen looked like yesterday afternoon while we were taking some trees down several notches.  

Jeffrey M. Serbin is very good at Sketchup.  When we were done editing a recent building project which is conveniently not shown here due to a top secret nature, I asked him what he was to do with trees.  For most designers, the more NON a tree is in a rendering the higher pedigree of architect you are.  This is just an observation.

This is not our design above.  I am just saying the trees are too literal here.  It reminds me of when my mentor who would slink by for a desk critique.  He would look at my drawing in silence and then ask, "What do you think of that green?  That is really green.  You might want to warn the townspeople and protect the children if you use that golf course turf green on those trees!"  Then he would adjust his tiny circle cut lenses and cup his pointed chin with his freckled knuckles.  Silence.

My mentor has a point that I secretly agree with to this day.  Trees should fade away from the building.  I don't know the credit to give for the rendering above.  The trees above are a good height, muted green, and barely there thin trunks.  I would prefer to see the trees slightly transparent so we could see the columns translate all the way down to the ground.  This rendering really pulls you in with the dark shadows in the plaza.  The white entourage pops, while some linger in shadow.  The red car really makes it too.  Complementary colors at work: green and red = happy clients saying yes, I love this idea.  

The Sketchup tree on the left is the one Jeffrey edited yesterday.  We picked it from the Sketchup tree library for its fullness and balance.  Each leaf is a 3-D unit that needed toning down.  He will take that tree into the rendering and throw shadows on it.  I would like the trunk to be thinner and angled but I need to stop at some point.

My mentor could re-name grass green Prismacolor colored pencil to:

wait for it....


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vashon Island, Washington State: Point Robinson Lighthouse

Adding different ingredients to your work is what life is about.   Mozart added flute and harp only once in his harmonic career and look what happened.  Oh, it just happened to be his best hit.  
This lighthouse on the southern tip of Vashon Island in Washington State was on my mind today.  The drift wood could be compared to most of Mozart's music, rich in movement, surprising and robust.  You add a red roofed lighthouse and it changes the whole gray and green scene.   My family stayed in a vintage 1980's beach house on Vashon Island last summer.  When we tired of listening to tape cassettes of The Police and Bobby Brown we knew it was time to go for a long walk!
There were miles of dark charcoal compact sand and gray stones along the evergreen packed forest that acted as a drape to the beach.  At least we were told there was a lighthouse at Point Robinson.  As we got closer to our destination the gray bleached out drift wood lead us to a mirror gray shore line.   I knew the lighthouse had to be special after inspecting the gorgeous care taker's cottages.  The care takers probably didn't have cassettes of Chaka Kahn, I Feel For You either.

This restored lighthouse tells how the locals take pride in their landmark.  In the dark of night a sailor can find their way home.  The light house still serves its purpose.  It is such a sharp contrast between the rough gray drift wood.  The green trim echoes evergreens that cover the island.  The red is cheerful and welcoming.  The structure also gives human scale.  

Whether something's funky or flawless is less important than whether it feels right.  If you can't imagine it looking any other way, it's perfect.  - Pilar Viladas, The New York Times Style Magazine, page 16.  


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Historic Courthouse for Buckeye

Buckeye Courthouse and Jail, 1912, Royal Lescher, Architect, Buckeye, Arizona

The presentation last night before the Town of Buckeye Council went off with ease.  It was a progress report on all the design projects that Buckeye Mainstreet Coalition has been working on. My favorite initiative was the Courthouse and Jail.  When it was my turn to walk up to the microphone I felt ready.  It is like feeling full with a knowing and yeah sure, a little cocky.  My heart was beating out of my chest.   It really was! Thanks to the members of the Buckeye Main Street Coalition, Chris Larson, Major Jackie Meck, Verylene Meck and Council of the Town of Buckeye for moulding this whole thing into place.   

Chris Larson is the curator for the Buckeye Historical Society.  In preparation, I asked her to dig into the archives to see if she could find a decent looking photo of the Courthouse in its prime.  

I was scanning my emails last Friday and saw that Chris had found something.  I was excited.  I knew this would be a fresh one since the attachment had a forever long title of numbers and letters.   

When I saw it for the first time I froze.  What I saw was a strong, sure, symmetrical, compact, smart government building built during the Guilded Age.  I was crazy happy.  I threw glitter everywhere.  It is a powerful message.  
The photo somehow hid from public view for decades, avoiding history books and news articles.  

Historical markers give a Town a sense of longevity.   Discovering Historic Buckeye District for the first time I can remember stopping at this building thinking it was a looker and wanted to see it restored.

I take no credit for this video above.  Interesting that this video was cut last month.

Special thank you to Chris Larson, the manager of  Library and Museum for the Town of Buckeye.