Friday, July 04, 2008

We'll get back to princes when I run out of NOLA pix

Clang ,clang, clang went the trolley
Ding, ding, ding went the bell
Zing, zing, zing went my heartstrings as we started for Huntington Dell.

May New Orleans truly rise from the rubble. America should not lose all this.

I have, as I have noted before, tremendous respect and admiration for the people of New Orleans who claim this is as home and refuse to give up.
I know all the arguments for never settling below sea level, or in tornado zones, or flood plains, or along earthquake faults, etc.

I lived from 1991 to 2002 a mere 100 or so yards from the Hayward Fault in Northern California (and we spent a sizable chunk of money retro-fitting the house).

Frankly, I marvel at people living where winters are harsh or where soil is not fertile. But humans live where they live through the combined factors of chance, history, heritage, and fate, and somehow they make do. What seems beloved to one appears impossible or loathsome to another. Where I live now is not particularly prone to earthquakes or floods, certainly not hurricanes, though tornados are possible and small ones have hit the area. But it is high desert and I know, from six decades of living in California, that water is not an infinite resource.

I live here (Albuquerque - I'm home at the moment) because I love the place (New Mexico).

Here is yet another facade of the Whitney Bank.
This seems more suited for Central Europe or Central Asia, don't you think?
I love the carved stone.
Now that is some serious presence as one enters the building.

Even an ATM can be elegant in New Orleans. And this one is.

The world is impoverished when everything is reduced to functionality.
--the BB


FranIAm said...

These photos just get better and better.

Your words about why people settle where they do are so moving and so true. And you are correct - everything is impoverished if functionality is the only goal.

That may be why I am having a problem getting a job; for those with a background in senior management functionality is often the only goal. Your bonus depends on it.

God have mercy on this land, God have mercy on this land and its people.

Enjoy ABQ, a place that I also love love love.

Paul said...

Fran, prayers for your soon suitable and lucrative employment!

It is also part of why I am so much out of work. I am not trying hard enough because what I can do that pays is so soul-starving, and what I really offer the world is so little-valued.

The consequences of pure functionality are so deadly. People are treated like machines, and become like them as well. Buildings that simply house office functions are reduced to boxes, public space becomes ugly and no longer elevates the heart.

I have nothing against good post-modern architecture either. Much of it is quite beautiful, interesting, creative, and I enjoy seeing post-modern buildings that are well-integrated with older structures. The Anderson Business School at Cal is one example, echoing the Berkeley hills shingle-sided house style on a large scale, nestled among the redwoods and on the same campus with the William Galen Howard neo-classical buildings of elegant proportion and design.

I dissected a building here in ABQ yesterday. Brand new and with good potential but the details were wrong and the result was sadly jarring.

One of the great mistakes these days is the very functional aluminum-framed window stuck in a wall with no offset or trim. Butt ugly to the nth degree. There should be an inset to the window, a sill, something to make the window have depth. Or there should be trim to cover and decorate that hideous inch or two of aluminum all around the glass, trim that stands out from the wall. In short, windows should always have framing! Look at the glorious examples throughout history or in the buildings of NOLA. The only exception is when you have vast expanses of glass and stone in the modern buildings where the eye sees only glass and stone as rhythmic sheer surfaces, but never, never, never the bald aluminum frame.

Here ended the rant.

Jane R said...

Amen to the rant!

I bet there are some princes behind some of those fa├žades. ;-)

Paul said...

That's our Jane - ever hopeful!

FranIAm said...

Well princes, or maybe queens....
I'm not sayin' but I'm just sayin'.

And not that there is anything wrong with it either!

Paul - once more we agree on a wide variety of things. I am reminded of the Industrial Revolution and the Robber Barons and yet here we are again and again.

And for a lively view of all kinds of architecture of various styles and much soul, a visit to Chicago is in order.

There is even a Judy Garland version of the song to go with it!

Paul said...

Indeed, Fran, New Orleans is home to many queens.

I cannot, personally, pretend to serious knowledge of or fondness for that all-American genre, the musical, and I am left quite cold by Judy and Barbra, et al. At some point in my distant past, however, I did see Meet Me in St Louis on television. And I seem to remember my mother singing "clang, clang, clang went the trolley." So as I posted the photo of the NOLA streetcar it leapt to mind and I went to YouTube. As I actually watched it (and even posted it) I thought to myself it was really a rather hideous number. Ah well.

I would love to visit Chicago and take in the architecture and museums!