Along Interstate 80, stretches of winter Wyoming are wide and barren like I wouldn’t have believed.
In a few stretches, mountains or wind farms crop up in the distance.
But it’s perhaps this image of an orange house, like something from a mid-twentieth-century landscape painting, that best captures the experience.
Bay Area sunsets shift to the north in summer, where they’re best seen from the houses of the Berkeley Hills. There’s something delightfully Californian about a German sports car parked in front of a mid-century modern home on a ridiculously-graded road.
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.
In the Bay Area, the refineries of Richmond and the homes of Albany may not share space in the mind. One set houses petrochemicals, the other houses people, but seeing their simple, repeating geometric structures on adjacent hillsides makes for a profound comparison between the two.
Mohonk’s gazebos are a signature of the hotel, and this particular structure is my favorite of them all. It’s not the biggest, or the most elaborate, but it benefits from being built on a concrete island projecting into the lake. At least to my eight-year-old self, that made it by far the coolest.
Mohonk Mountain House’s parlor is far grander than the name might imply. After dinner, it’s the site of live entertainment. That could be a comedian, or a string quartet, or a band, or an animal trainer. The consistent variety could almost be called old-fashioned—matching the tone of the room.