Posts Tagged ‘acoustics’

We stopped in at Claypot, the new neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant on San Pablo last night.  The food was good and I really liked the light fixtures by Omega Lighting. They were made out of old wine barrel hoops.  What I like most is the cool shadow and light patterns that they cast on the white ceiling.


The place does need some acoustical dampening. The designer owner told me that they would be installing some sound absorbent panels in the middle of the ceiling. I hope they don’t take away from the beautiful shadows!

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Yesterday I had a unique tour of seven architectural treasures of NYC with music by Arvo Pärt. The architectural selections were made by a team from Snøhetta. Follow this link for more information on the artistic intentions and the weather balloons.

The first stop was the Magazine at Fort Jay on Governors Island with ethereal music based on a poem by Robert Burns. It was hot and humid outside, but cool in the stone tunnels. The  music played simultaneously from speakers in stone cave-tunnels of different sizes and shapes and the acoustics were what you’d expect in an underground stone tunnel, but varied depending on where you were in the space.

We were not allowed to take photos inside the Woolworth building, but it was wonderful to sit on the grand staircase in the lobby of this 1908 Skyscraper and take in the beautiful space with wonderful gothic details and listen to “the full orchestral and choral settings of In Principio” with “dramatic brass sections relieved by a pulsating rhythm and stoic pace of the choir, representing the balancing act that is common in Lower Manhattan” (from the guide pamphlet)

The final site was the unfinished 46th floor of 7 World Trade Center. The raw unfinished space and 360 degree views were accompanied by two pianos playing Hymn to a Great City.

The recently opened World Trade Center Memorial (With entry pavilion by Snøhetta)  and the multiple simultaneous construction sites adjacent were visible to the South.

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I just returned from a field trip to Seattle, Washington.  We visited one of my favorite buildings of all time,   The Seattle Main Public Library by Rem Koolhas,  to see how it is holding up.  It is now 7 years old and still looks great. Very raw and utilitarian…but nicely detailed to be comfortable and functional too.  This building makes me realize that it is sometimes worth the effort  to stick to your guns and convince the client to do something really different.  There is nothing conventional about this building.

We also visited Ellie Sherman at the Whidbey Institute.

She lives in a tiny cabin – about 7’x8′.

It is very cozy inside. I wish I had a photo.  There is something really nice about bedrooms just barely big enough for a bed, some clothes, and some books.

The Sanctuary is another nice building at the Whidbey Institute:

Also, on Whidbey Island, we collected a feast of clams and mussels.

We had a good local guide who shared his secret mussel patch with us.

When we returned, I took a nap in my friend Jason’s tiny retreat on wheels, only slightly bigger than Ellie’s cabin, but it contains a bed, and table for two, and a kitchenette. (you can see it here in the background behind Jason and Rosalina)

And then we cooked clams in Tofty’s  yellow kitchen

John sips wine while Jody and Vina tend to the clam sauce

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Designed by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center is a very quiet and peaceful retreat from the clamor of Manhattan.

Instead of more mundane and technical solutions, they chose to achieve the desired quiet by commissioning a textile artist to weave giant tapestries and growing plants on other parts of the walls. A subtle water feature completes the effect perfectly.

The plant covered wall and one of many round skylights

The water fountain and the living wall

Handwoven Tapestry and a Computer Screen

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