Category Archives: Architecture

There’s a Story Somewhere

Old Schoolhouse Window, Yakima Valley, WA

I love to drive around without any specific destination.  I am amazed what I have missed over the years as I have just driven from point A to point B thinking about how long it will take me to reach my destination.  This day a few weeks ago, I was just driving backroads where I had not been before … just driving along.  I saw this old school house somewhere north of Zillah (I think), I really did not where I was.  I stopped and just gazed for a while, contemplating what stories this old building amongst farm lands had to tell.  How long had it been since the last student walked through its doors?  Was it a grade school, high school, or an all inclusive country school?  After a while of just looking at it, I got out of my car and walked around with my camera.  

Many stories, many questions … time for a little research to satisfy my curiosity.

History in My Backyard

Selah – Naches Irrigation Flume

A few days ago we had a light snow.  I gazed our from my kitchen window and became fixated on the wonderful piece of history in my backyard.  The snow provided a nice contrast between the irrigation flume’s wood structure and the sagebrush speckled background.

This piece of history was built in 1892 to provide irrigation water to the Selah Valley.  Over the years, much of the canal has been upgraded and the wooden flumes torn down.  I am lucky to have one of the few remaining sections above my home.  I currently get my irrigation water directly from this flume.  Sadly, it won’t be for too many additional years.  Plans are to replace this section with an underground pipe.  So until funds are available, I will enjoy what remains of our little bit of history.

Abstract Art is Everywhere 2

Abstract 1:  Barnet Newman’s “Achilles” – National Gallery of Art

Abstract 2:  National Gallery of Art – East Wing, Exterior

Abstract 3: Volcanic Cliff

Simple lines of abstract art are intriguing.  They can be found everywhere.  Some are works created in art mediums (paintings, sculptures, etc.).  Others are created by architectural forms. Still others are found in nature.

Abstract 1 is an oil painting created by Barnet Newman titled “Achilles”.  I stood and looked at this piece for quite a long time.  Rather than try to figure out “what it is meant to be”, I tried to focus on what feeling it brought out in me.  The red made me feel a little anxious.  I did not resonate with this piece.

Abstract 2 is a photograph of the exterior of the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art.  I was walking along, looked up and saw these contrasting shapes of shadows and light.  It just grabbed me.

Abstract 3 is a photograph of the sheer basalt cliffs cut by the Palouse River during the Ice Age Floods.  Nature’s artwork stops me in my tracks.  Sometimes I just do not want to leave.  It instills me to think about how our would was formed and just enjoy the beauty of nature surrounding me.

Art is everywhere!

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I Can Never Get Enough

US Capitol, Washington DC

Every time I visit Washington DC and walk around the Capitol, chills run through my body.  Being there gives me a perspective of our history and what our Nation represents.  Looking at the Capitol reflecting on the water, caused me to reflect in turn about how our Nation has grown and changed over the years.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Capitol with my Aunt.  It was her first trip.  Visiting Washington DC was one thing that she wanted to do before she passed.  Walking with her, I could see the sparkle in her eyes and the pride she had on her face.  Her parting remark was that every child should visit Washington DC to gain a perspective of what our Nation is really about.

I have been lucky over the years to have had the opportunity to live in the Washington DC area and visit the Capitol many times. Prior to 911, access to the Senate and House chambers was not restricted.  I recall sitting up in the galleries listening to various sessions.  What a great experience that was.

I still try to visit Washington DC on a relatively frequent basis.  I can never get enough!

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How Lucky We Are!

Civil War Monument and Capitol, WDC

How lucky we are to live in such a great Nation! The current time is extremely challenging and full of discord.  But it is not even close to the times our Nation bas persevered in the past.  On a recent visit to Washington DC, I walked by this Civil War Memorial sculpture with the Capitol in the background.  It stimulated me to think about what our Nation was going through over 150 years ago.  So no matter how bad we may think things are now, lets have the strength and confidence that we all will survive together as a united Nation.

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Tying Things Together

A.E. Larson Building Entry Foyer, Yakima, WA

This image ties the images from the two prior posts together.  The contrast here are the differences in the design elements (triangular geometric vs. sweeping curves, color vs. monochrome, and smooth marble vs. sculptured metal).  The horizontal (diagonal) lines of the cornice moulding and the vertical lines of the wall designs also provide a geometric contrast.

Looking at Details

A.E. Larson Building Entry Foyer, Yakima, WA

This post continues my self-assignment to look for contrasts.  This image was taken from the same location as my previous post.  It is the corner of the wall/ceiling cornice moulding.  I saw the contrast of colors, shapes, lines and light/shadows. The foyer of this historic building is full of “eye candy”.

When Something Catches Your Eye

A.E. Larson Building Entry Foyer, Yakima, WA

I gave myself a photographic assignment to search out contrasts. The contrast could be in relation to many different aspects/perspectives: color, shapes, patterns, light/dark, old/new, etc., or simply an item that does not belong in a specific setting. I decided to walk the streets in downtown Yakima, WA for my search.  

My first stop was the A.E. Larson Building.  The Larson Building is itself a contrast to its surroundings.  With its eleven stories, it towers above adjacent structures.  Its Art Deco design stands out from the simpler buildings of downtown Yakima.  The interior first floor lobby is heavily decorated with stone and elaborate bronze in the Art Deco style; pretty fancy for a farming-based community.

The above image is from the main lobby entryway.  What caught my eye is the contrasting adjacent design.  One is horizontal, the other is vertical. One is light, the other dark.  The simple spirals tie the designs together.

 

What is Behind?

Door Handles – Raymond Library, Yakima Valley College

My friend exclaimed “LOOK!”.  I turned and saw these interesting door handles.  They looked more like little sculptures than handles.  As I squinted, the glass doors became darker and the light reflecting off the handles became less harsh.  It gave me a little feeling of mystery, “What is behind these doors?”.

What is the Clock Tower Doing in This Building?

Raymond Library – Yakima Valley College

What in the heck is the Clock Tower doing in the Library?  It doesn’t belong there! That thought flashed through my mind as I was strolling around the YVC campus this past weekend.

This is a good example of seeing the unusual in the usual.  The contrast made the image interesting to me.