A few months ago, a replacement drop ceiling was going in at Metro Center. I was surprised to see the new framework installed 2 inches lower than the previous ceiling and hoped this was a unique situation. Instead the lowered ceiling has become the new normal and makes for funny situations with existing elements. The ceiling now pops out from vents, escalators, and the curved bottom corners of the platforms above. The elegant curved concrete runs right into the new vertical frame! At Farragut North, I inspected the half completed ceiling for obstacles and could not find any obvious reason for a lower ceiling. I predict saving money was the root reason for this change, but it comes at the cost of aesthetics. It's unfortunate the Metro stations keep drifting away from Harry Weese's original design.
The great weather this weekend motivated me to get out and finally see some architecturally relevant, but less known places around DC. One of the best sites I visited was the Franciscan Monastery tucked away in a residential neighborhood of Northeast DC. The church and cloister are situated on a hill and the cloister opens to the south revealing a small well designed park. This park had everything, including hidden grottos, all being replicas of historical biblical spaces. I found this better than the church itself. This is worth a visit for someone who finds themselves in the area.
Location: 1400 Quincy St NE, Washington, DC 20017
Nate Silver has done it again. Instead of politics, he has put together a prediction bracket for this years NCAA Basketball Tournament. It'll be interesting to follow, certainly by Monday when the first two rounds are complete.
Let's hope for some upsets.
I recently received an article from a friend who thought this was an art project worth checking out. A former church has become a building sized mural in Southwest DC. This seems like an interesting idea, and one worth checking out, but this speaks more to the bad planning by Washington than the cultural shift of religion. The Southwest portion of DC was used as a grand experiment of city planning in the 50s through 70s. The area is plagued with awful zoning. much of the old existing street grid was tore up for large thoroughfares and freeways. Today the experiment is over and while many great architectural building still remain, there lacks the mixed use needed to bring this area back. If proper zoning took place, this former church/art project could make for a great bar, restaurant, or concert venue.
This song spoke to me (I drive a minivan) and I thought I would share.
The Two Man Gentleman Band has a lot great songs worth checking out if you like the bluegrassy feel of these guys.
This topic reminds me of Peter Segal's defense of minivans from a few years ago, which speaks truth about the topic.
Working on my portfolio last night, I was in Google earth looking at a project site in Columbus, when I remembered the cool building I always thought was great and meant to stop by. After a little research, it turns out my instincts were correct. A Columbus Firm, W. Byron Ireland & Associates, designed this Brutalist masterpiece that won praise in 1970 from the National AIA.
There is a great write up about the building, including a well written argument for architecture that seems "ugly" to the public, by Jeff Regensburger and some great photos (including the one I used above) from the photo blog histOHry.
Location: 800 E. 17th Avenue, Columbus, OH
Welton Becket did an excellent job with the floorplan of McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. It symbolizes the program.
Please note the huge parking garage in the northwest and the southern gates were addition to the original design.
A little bit of mid century design disguising a parking garage in a sea of monotonous business towers.
Location: 18th and L, Washington, DC
When I was visiting Indianapolis a month ago I took notice of this awful corner in downtown. Who thought this was a good idea? Perhaps this corner was different when it was built, but it's really bad in the current context. I don't think this needs further analysis.
Ramone provides more context.
Perfect song for a Thursday.