Archive for June, 2011

California Dreamin’

Monday, June 27th, 2011

The winning entries at the 2011 AIA California Council Design Awards were announced on 27th June.

Congratulations to our clients Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Leddy Maytum Stacy and Kennerly Architecture on their well deserved success.

SOM’s Poly International twin tower project in Guangzhou, China

Leddy Maytum Stacy’s Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, California

Owen Kennerley’s Pine Street Condominiums in San Francisco

Wizards of OZ

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Just finishing in Silicon Valley, California, the Oz Residence designed by Swatt Miers Architects of Emeryville.

Gold Rush

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

At the PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris awards announced yesterday, I was pleased to have been recognized in the following categories

Overall Winner/ Gold Award  РProfessional Advertising Category

and also with a two further Gold Awards РFine Art/Architecture Category

and a Bronze Award – Professional Advertising Category

Grin and Bear

Friday, June 17th, 2011

After completing the shoot at Jackson Hole Airport, we made some time and headed up into Yellowstone National Park. Having experienced the park mostly through Yogi Bear cartoons and the odd National Geographic special when I was a kid, I was keen to see at least some of it first hand. We’d already used our weekly allocation of good karma with regard to the weather, so this day was definitely a case of dodging the occasional rain bands that passed through the valley.

Almost immediately upon entering the southern end of the park, the scenery changes away from the benign, spacious valleys around Jackson to something more primordial. In between the seemingly normal forests and waterways, earth opens up, venting a pungent, gaseous cocktail of minerals from deep within.

Wooden walkways around the geysers ferry a continuous stream of onlookers. The regular visions of people disappearing in and out of the steamy clouds underlined the tenuous and temporal nature of our existence on the surface of this planet.

When getting in close to these holes in the earth’s crust, seeing the rich color and textures of the natural formations, it wasn’t hard to abstract the shapes and consider them more as aerial views of expansive coastlines.


Monday, June 13th, 2011

As the only commercial airport located in a National Park, Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming has a mandated requirement to stay pretty low key. This created some interesting challenges for the design team at the Denver office of Gensler in their renovation and expansion of the existing terminal. Of course, with a backdrop of the dramatic Grand Tetons range, remaining rather insignificant in the whole scheme of things isn’t such a stretch.

After postponing the previous week’s arrival, we’d landed the previous day in pouring rain, with heavy clouds hanging low over the Snake River valley, obscuring the scale of the nearby peaks. Apparently it had been a very wet Spring so far, with very little sunshine to speak of. Rivers and streams were swollen from the recent storms, the winter snows had barely begun their inevitable melt. But, the local optimists opined, Wednesday could be good.

Overnight, the weather miraculously cleared and we headed out before dawn to catch the first light hitting the mountains. Rounding a bend at the north end of Jackson, you get your first glimpse up the expanse of the valley with the majestic Grand Tetons stretching towards the horizon. What a fabulous way to start the day!

I was looking for a view that really presented the airport as a simple linear gesture in the extraordinary landscape. We’d scoped out a potential position the day before but couldn’t be sure the light was going to do as I wanted. Without the reflected highlight on the leading edge of the airport roof, the structure would simply disappear. I needed the early morning reflection but not the direct light that would give too much detail to the valley floor.

Barely sunrise and we had our first shot in the bag.

Sky High

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

San Francisco architects WRNS have just completed a new administration and cosmetology classroom building at Skyline College in the hills above San Bruno. Poised at the eastern end of the campus, the pared back lines of the new building form a sleek gateway for the growing student population.