xmas at casa blanca

Our pals (and architects) over at Element 5 Architecture made a Christmas post with some shots of our home including the adorable little Mies below! Here are some additional shots of the house during the holidays...









dancing with architecture: schindler's modern creators shopping center in LA

an early conceptual design for the shopping center

In 1936, A. Garland approached R.M. Schindler to design a small shopping center in West Hollywood called Modern Creators (although the LA Times reports that the design was for William Lingenbrink; however, I think they confused the Linkenbrink Shops with Modern Creators). The center is a linked set of four buildings with an expansive clam-shell anchor on the corner aimed toward Sunset Boulevard.

Fortunately, the corner is now occupied by Dialog Cafe, a delightful Italian restaurant worth a visit in its own right (I call it the Schindler Coffee Shop, now a required stop for each LA trip). One of our party had my copy of LA Architecture in front of her on the table as we enjoyed breakfast, sparking a discussion with the owner's son about the space and Schindler. He regaled us with stories of working on the building (a dozen permits to paint it!), lamented with us about the modifications by previous owners, and proudly assured us on his family's dedication the structure's caretaking (even though they rent the space). The offices next door house, appropriately enough, several architects.

Although modified, the Schindler spirit is intact with expert use of windows, a creative embrace of the corner, and artful and efficient use of space. The photos below show the outdoor modifications: a thickening of the window frames and the addition of the covered front patio. Nevertheless, much of the design is still intact.

 via Scheine (1998 p146)

There are further modifications inside that, unfortunately, interfere with visual access to the ample front clerestories:


 via Scheine (1998 p147)


The rest of the center appears relatively unchanged, including the old lamp shop at the other end:

 via Scheine (1998 p148)





 the back of the center






 Judith Scheine shows this gorgeous stand-alone structure as being part of the shopping center, but I didn't see any evidence of it (and wonder if it is mis-assigned to Modern Creators...).

via Scheine (1998 p149)

via Scheine (1998 p149)


a graffiti walk in NOLA


Over 3.5 days we walked 33 miles, so we blissfully saw a lot of street art, much of it randomly. After gawking at architecture in the Lower 9th, we randomly chose a place to grab a bite to eat. On the way, our Uber driver happened to take us down the graffiti-laden St Claude Avenue and told us the story of the legal fight between the mayor and property owners over the right to place murals on their property (really? this is a fight?). As it turned out, a Banksey was a block away from the restaurant, so he dropped us off there. 

Soon after Katrina, Banksey plastered the town with about a dozen pieces. An equally mysterious soul called The Grey Ghost (could it be THE MAYOR?!?!?) quickly painted over most of them. A judge has put a stay on the city covering up murals on private property, so the timing for our visit was highly fortunate. The local luminary is B-Mike whose work holds messages of hope for locals (he's been caught up in the street art legal battles). A wealthy local has allowed B-Mike to take over a warehouse, called Studio Be, with his fantastic work. See it while you can!