A moment in time, glowing through the fog: lights from the old (now dismantled) and new (still under construction, at the time) eastern spans of the San Francisco—Oakland Bay Bridge.
St. Lawrence University is renovating its historic Apple Arena, home of the Skating Saints, and the project is entering its final phases. Back in May, however, the foundations were just being poured and the skeleton of the structure was laid bare. Can you spot the steeple of Gunnison Memorial Chapel on the horizon?
Photographing landscapes and structures (and being the son of civil engineers), I’ve become a bit of an architecture fanboy. The trend towards building with shipping containers, whether a do-it-yourself effort or a pre-fab corporate approach, seems particularly exciting. This weekend, I encountered this in-construction house built from three forty-foot intermodal containers. The owners added sloped roof, a permanent foundation, and windows and doors outside, but they liked the shipping container aesthetic and plan to keep all of the original paint and labeling outside. I find that look charmingly authentic.
Inside, however, there’s little hint of the structure’s more exotic origins. Though, like the exterior, the interior is still under construction, there’s a straightforward home inside the three long shipping containers worth of space.
Moving your belongings in and out of a house is hard enough on a normal street, I can hardly imagine what it’s like to navigate the narrow Elfreth’s alley, America’s oldest residential street.
Portland’s Pearl District is colonized by construction like some sort of reverse-termites; shiny new buildings add to the skyline each day. As impressive as the reflections and the bridges and the gorgeous dawn sky is, I rather love the image of the man reading the paper in the bottom-right corner of the image. He’s literally on the edge of this dramatic image, but so thoroughly unfazed. Reading the paper and eating cereal has to happen sometime!
In preparation for my upcoming travels to the West Coast next month, I was looking back at the images of Portland, Oregon’s Pearl District. It seems representative of some of the common features of West Coast cities: newer architecture that incorporates a mixture of scales (human vs. superhuman), modern interpretations of some more traditional forms (like the bridge, which resembles a traditional Japanese zig-zag bridge), and a generally utopian, “city of the future!” vibe.
Perhaps no scene better emphasized the sometimes-contradictory nature of a growing city than this one: a yoga class in a sunny park on a summer afternoon, across the street from a shadowed construction site. Juxtapositions are rarely so literal.
Today’s photo, taken just as the rain started to pick up in the Marin Headlands, is one of my favorites. The alignment of this little bridge to the Golden Gate itself, the harbor, the construction equipment, with Angel Island and the rest of the North Bay off in the distance: it all provides a sense of scale and perspective. The way the warm sodium lamps contrast with the colors of the evening bring your eye to the bridge and its gorgeous structural steel. Rigid geometries contrast with the fuzzy plants of the hillside. This is a picture I want to crawl inside.
It’s amazing how quickly Campbell hall (previously featured in various stages of its deconstruction here and here) has been reduced to a pile or rubble. Just this past week they have completed the demolition but I was able to capture this shot, with the Campanile in the background, just before it stopped looking like a building and started looking like a pile of rubble.
(Or perhaps I should call it the Crushinator?) You may recognize today’s shot from Campbell Hall’s time as a mummy, but yesterday the reaper finally came for the building. I have to admit to my own exhilaration as I watched them slice and tear through the acres of rebar; of course, everyone in the crowd was watching through their cell phones as they snapped pictures. There’s something hypnotic in watching the end of something that seemed to permanent.