The odd second-floor lobby of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle, Washington (it’s actually a challenge to find it) reminds me of nothing so much as the Grand Staircase of the Titanic—equally classy, but evidently not equally doomed.
UC Berkeley’s Energy Biosciences Building looks pretty awesome at sunset and has a great staircase. More of that surreal, futuristic staircase is on display in today’s photo. What I really like about this image, though, is the sense of texture that it gives. The polished, precast concrete floor, the wood ceiling, the thick glass windows, the brushed steel of the elevator: every material is used in a way that best emphasizes its physical properties. The mixture of matte and gloss, rough and smooth, makes it at once a sophisticated and welcoming space.
The University of British Columbia’s campus has the odd quality that many modern campuses do. The vast majority of the buildings are post-war additions, and carry the strong characteristics and visions of each of their respective architects. This particular building caught my eye for the way it integrates a Japanese-style bridge, pool, and island into the courtyard of what could otherwise be a glossy but unremarkable structure.
The combination makes me think of the entrance to some sort of futuristic dojo in a cyberpunk novel. No wonder William Gibson calls Vancouver home.
Today’s photograph comes from the lobby of the newly opened Energy Biosciences Building, where I was lucky enough to get a late-night tour. Here, scientists and students focus on the problem of developing next-generation energy solutions, including biofuels and solar power. Though it will soon be bustling with life, the building is presently occupied by empty offices and cubicle skeletons. The modern surfaces, all wood and glass and brushed steel and matte concrete, really convey the mission.