With the weather above clear, midday in the bay is a nearly shadowless moment of odd geometry. It almost looks like a rendering from a computer simulation where the artist was uninterested in spending the time to model the shadows.
Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source, a massive X-ray laser sourced from a building-sized particle accelerator, was undergoing upgrades while I visited. Construction in the area added an mundane veneer to the superscience happening inside.
The first “real” snowfalls of the winter have arrived in the North Country, and I can’t think of a better time to look back on the never-snow geometries of Berkeley. The architectural possibilities expand when structures will never have to bear the load of a late-winter storm and stairs will never have to be scraped free of ice and snow. I think the design is particularly well-expressed in the boxes-on-boxes-on-boxes design of this building. The best detail, to me, is the sunlight passing in one side and out the other of the corner window on the first floor.
I love finding the little details in epic landscapes that provide the sense of human scale and presence. (It’s a bit like a photographic “Where’s Waldo?”) In the lower center of this image, at the left edge of the Berkeley Marina, you can see light tiny lights of the restaurant where diners look out over the Bay and the sunset.
There’s this perfect moment during a summer sunset in the Bay Area, as darkness falls and the flawless gradient fades through oranges to purples, when the lights haven’t quite come on yet. Marin is dark, Angel Island is silhouetted, and the world is seems to revert to an uninhabited state.