Archive for October, 2009

Taking a Ride Downtown

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

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It had to happen sometime. I mean, when you have a history of indiscriminately shooting in the streets of Los Angeles, you’re bound to end up getting taken downtown at some point. The new LAPD Headquarters designed by AECOM, sits adjacent to City Hall, squeezed between Morphosis‘ iconic Caltrans District 7 building and the LA Times. The centralized massing of the building opened up generous plazas on three sides of the block providing public access through and around the site, a direct result of the LAPD’s desire to appear more transparent to and engaged with the community they serve and protect.

Our photographing of the project happened to coincide with Chief Bratton’s last official day in office and there was a definite hum around the building. While setting up our first exterior shot, several groups of uniformed officers started congregating in the main forecourt. In a short time the numbers swelled to the point where it was obvious that something unusual was about to happen.

We probably needn’t have worried ourselves with the earlier concern about having enough people moving through the plaza to provide some sense of activity. The immaculately turned out officers, representing every district in LA County, in town to bid farewell to the Chief, filled the space in fine fashion, in what could only be described as a somewhat Matrix like experience. Every time we looked around, there were more!

Honouring the Soles of the Recently Departed

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

When you spend most of your days on your feet, endlessly walking around a project, the quality of your footwear becomes a rather important consideration in the ongoing success of the operation. So when the time comes to replace your trusted companions, your literal solemates, there’s a certain feeling of sadness, of loss perhaps, the ending of hitherto happy relationship.

Such was the case on a recent trip abroad. Almost overnight the thrill was gone. It wasn’t that the New Balance 749’s weren’t up to the task any longer but they were certainly beyond tired and maybe Old Balance was closer to the truth. We had paced many adversaries together and sometimes against overwhelming odds, prevailed on every occasion. But as these past few days in the sapping tropical atmosphere dragged on, I could sense that the time had come….

Indeed it was with a sense of both trepidation and potential renewal that I was drawn into the glittering entrance of the Timberland store in Singapore. I tried to be strong, unswayed by the leather, the lace. I tried to ignore the cushioned support but fell short of matching the unflinching loyalty my 749’s had shown over the years.

My corrupted sole(s) betrayed me.

What with the camera kits and the tripod, let alone the humidity, I simply couldn’t carry them with me.

So I left them there. Abandoned and alone in that store, while I slinked out, my heart heavy but my feet tingling to the dubious sensations of a new embrace.

Horsing Around

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

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In the ongoing expansion of Bejings’s CBD, the KPF designed Huamao Center acts as an eastern gateway to the city proper. Situated on Bejing’s main east west artery, the three office towers are offset against the city grid, opening up views for all the corporate occupants. Behind the bravado of the main facades with their retail podium, the scale drops to include open landscaped plazas, two hotels and a series of residential apartment blocks.

Despite the global retail names and sleek finishes, reminders of the old Beijing still creep in here and there to remind you of the rapid changes that have taken place in the old capital.