Time has transformed a random sunset shot out the window of my sabbatical apartment in Berkeley’s Normandy Village into a nostalgia-inducing pixel arrangement. Even the wood patterns in the window frames now stand out to me.
I’ve shown many parts of Berkeley’s Normandy Village, but perhaps not these square homes (that look like cubes with roofs jauntily capping them).
In the Normandy Village, even the back door to the fire escape and laundry room is weird and wonderfully overdesigned.
Brittany Village is, perhaps unsurprisingly, just around the corner from Berkeley’s Normandy Village where I last lived in California. It has plenty of quaint eurocharm, but I think the “original” copy of a European village in Berkeley remains the best.
Capturing pictures of the everyday and mundane details of living in a place as odd as Berkeley’s Normandy Village means that I can look back to the little details. This maroon fire escape served as the back door to our apartment, but also easy access to the shared laundry room—and thus a route I frequently traversed, trying to find a time when the machines were free.
Huge population growth in the American West led to a lot of new construction; I see the same thing in my remote area of Northern New York. Unlike up here, where storms and seasonal temperature cycles destroyed many of those structures after they were no longer useful, this partially inhabited area in Utah remains well-preserved.
Arriving at the one-year anniversary of the end of my sabbatical time in Berkeley, I’ve also reached the end of processing pictures that I took while I was there—though many more will be posted in the future. Our apartment was on the second flood of this build, where the screen of the same laptop on which I’m currently typing lights up the bottom-right corner of the window and the narrow slit of dark windows were over the kitchen sink where I’d cook dinner.
There are no crenelations, gates, or moats; this is not a place to hold off an invading force. Nonetheless, the châteauesque architecture of Berkeley’s Normandy Village seems like it could fairly be called a castle, filtered through generations of repeating architectural patterns. With each generation, the style moves farther from the functional reasons for its original existence.