By Jim McNicol
When I first begin to do research for a column, I really have little control over the direction I might take.
If it’s a cut-and-dried technical subject where I’ll be dealing primarily with solid, scientific facts, the task is relatively simple. Using my own textbooks, two local libraries and the Internet, I look for my subject matter in a minimum of three separate sources. If the information is identical in each selected source, I feel pretty confident that I can use the data in an article.
It isn’t always so easy, however, and that’s nobody’s fault but
By Jim McCloskey
It’s been a number of years since I’ve managed to visit Chicago, but I want to get back sometime soon. After all, I have yet to see the Crown Fountain in person (let alone the rest of Millennium Park), and I haven’t visited the Chicago Botanic Garden in more than 30 years!
The last time I was in the Windy City with any time to spare, it was 2002 and I was attending
The Getty Center is a true multi-media experience: imposing architecture, lots of people, incredible materials of construction, amazing views, diverse spaces, rich and varied sounds – and it’s mostly all a bonus, because none of this has much to do with the Los Angeles center’s core functions as museum and research institution.
Designed by architect Richard Meier, the 750-acre campus is dominated by outsized structures wrapped in travertine, glass and enameled aluminum. It’s all a bit cold (maybe time will soften the sharper edges and
By Jim McNicol
A little more than 100 years ago, in the first big growth spurt in the use of electricity, the harsh realities of the hazards involved with it quickly became apparent. Fires were common occurrences everywhere electricity was distributed, and serious (and often fatal) accidents made daily headlines wherever people came into contact with this wondrous phenomenon.
Virtually all of the electric works being built in those early days were set up to provide lighting for a population tired of living in the gloom of candles, gas lamps and coal-oil lanterns. That meant that
We’ve all heard and read how important it is to study the achievements of our predecessors in watershape design and engineering. Indeed, exploring these historic works is vital for the role it plays in emboldening our sense of artistic tradition and inspiring our creativity by offering rich galleries of design ideas.
When considering Villa d’Este in such light – its extraordinary architecture, otherworldly gardens and daring watershape designs – it’s easy to see why this grand estate is so important to us now. It’s widely considered to be the most significant residence surviving from the Renaissance and has every right to claim to be the most beautiful and influential as well.
Surely there’s no substitute for traveling there and lingering with eyes wide open, but even from afar, we can and should turn to this amazing estate as a source of artistic inspiration and, in many respects, as a technical blueprint.
A COMPREHENSIVE PROGRAM
These days, most of us are more familiar with Bellagio than we are with Villa d’Este, upon which the spectacular Las Vegas hotel was patterned. Even with
Home to some of the world’s greatest outdoor spaces, Kyoto, Japan, is a garden lover’s heaven. If you make the trip, however, there is one garden that stands above all others – an aesthetic treasure, a nature-inspired garden masterpiece that is quite possibly the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.
Owned by the Japanese imperial family, Katsura Rikyu (pronounced kah-tsu-rah ree-kyu) is an estate in Western Kyoto near the Katsura River. Rikyu means “detached palace,” but that translation is a little misleading to English speakers, because the estate does not
It’s a grand watershape built at a time and place when “grand” was in fashion in so many ways. Ever since 1940, when the Raleigh Hotel and its beautiful swimming pool opened to the public for the first time, the establishment has made a statement about the sun-drenched glory of a prime South Florida location as well as the glamour of an era gone by.
Designed and built by renowned architect L. Murray Dixon, the hotel and pool are located in South Beach, Miami’s famed Art Deco district. The pool’s curvaceous shape and modern styling reflected the hotel’s architecture and the aspirations of the times. As the ’40s wore on, it would become a swimming pool that was perfectly in sync with the world around it.
When Miami boomed in the years following World War II, the hotel did, too. Vacationers and snowbirds from the great cities of the Northeast arrived in droves, looking for a new kind of excitement and an entirely different sort of glamour of the kind that featured
By Jim McCloskey
As mentioned previously, I’ve traveled to Seattle with fair frequency through the past few years. Mostly I’m there to visit my mother on Bainbridge Island, but I’ve also given myself enough time to explore the area that I almost know my way around the city and its many public watershapes.
On one trip a couple years back, I took the usual ferry ride from the island back to Seattle on my way to the airport, arriving in plenty of time for a leisurely stroll from the boat terminal to the metro station a few blocks away.
My semi-roundabout path took me right by Pioneer Square, a place
Since the dawn of civilization, it has stood as the single most enduring of all artistic media: From representations of mythological characters and historic events to applications as purely architectural forms and fixtures, carved stone has been with us every step of the way.
As modern observers, we treasure this heritage in the pyramids of Egypt and Mesoamerica. We see it in the Parthenon in Athens, in the Roman Colosseum and in India’s Taj Mahal – every one of them among humankind’s finest uses of carved stone in the creation of monuments and public buildings. As watershapers in particular, we stand in awe before the Trevi Fountain in Rome, the glorious waterworks of the Villa d’Este and the fountains of Versailles, three of history’s most prominent examples of carved stone’s use in conjunction with water.
But you don’t need to
The people who once inhabited modern-day Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula were remarkably sophisticated. Their civilization was based on a deep-rooted knowledge of astronomy, mathematics, hydraulics and engineering. They quarried stone and moved it hundreds of miles on rollers, using this raw material and incorporating it into highly refined buildings, temples, roads and monumental works of art that rival those of the better-known cultures of ancient Europe, Africa and Asia.
In 2001, I traveled extensively in the Yucatan to experience the region’s culture and view masterworks from many centuries past. What I found was a sense of form, line and pattern in the ruins of
By David Tisherman
I spent ten days this last December traveling in Turkey – my second visit to the country in the past several years and a trip that reinforced vivid memories of just how mind-expanding a place it is.
The Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires all held sway over this patch of land at times during the past 2,500 years, and throughout that long history, these and other great civilizations of both East and West have made their marks on the place. Situated at the crossroads of land- and sea-trade routes between Europe and Asia, Turkey has vast, rich reserves to drawn upon when it comes to
Local historians claim that the image of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Water Works was the most reproduced of any industrial site in the United States through the first half of the 19th Century – and for good reason. At that time, the facility represented the absolute state of the art and served as a major point of pride for local residents as well as a source of fascination to visitors from near and far.
Throughout its long history, the facility was indeed at the leading edge of water-delivery technology and is now the ideal place to capture and tell the story of the development of environmentalism in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The story begins
By Jim McCloskey
I hesitated in starting the New Year with a Travelogue about a class of watershape that is located beyond easy reach of most readers and is, in addition, one I’ve never seen personally. But I ran across a reference to these structures a couple days ago, and I just can’t get them out of my mind.
Many times in the past, WaterShapes has mentioned the fact that, hundreds