Legos are already a hot item at our house. But if you combine all the awesomeness of legos with the beauty of say; Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece, Fallingwater; you get this...
Lego has an entire series, called Architecture, which allows the user to recreate fifteen famous building; offerings include buildings like Big Ben and the Sydney Opera House. Way to go Lego! True aficianados have taken this process one step further and put their creations to music. This video is helpful because is shows all of the information that comes in the kit.
Growing up my parents would often gift the family a puzzle for Christmas that we would all work on for the remainder of the break. I could see this architect series filling that gap for my own little family. Wouldn't this be a fun way to introduce your kids to some classic architecture pieces?
The last week of July my extended family had a reunion of sorts in the Grand Tetons. We had a great time kayaking, hiking, biking, swimming, buying cookies at the local restaurant, etc. Lucky for me I've been to this great park before, but I'd never made it to Yellowstone. To correct this oversight we took a day trip into Yellowstone National Park. One of our first stops was the Old Faithful Geyser.
It was really fun to sit and talk to my kids about what it would be like when the geyser went off and what it would have been like to discover an active geyser. The terrain in the geyser basin is something like what I have pictured the moon to be like, very rocky and porous. Below are our faces waiting in anticipation, we got there early so we had good seats. If you look carefully you can see the last bit of the Castle Geyser fizzling out in the far background.
My favorite part was how my kids didn't think it was ever going to blow, until it did! And then we all stood in awe as thousands of gallons of water shot straight into the air. It was memorable to say the least!
If you were to turn your back to Old Faithful you would see an interesting comparison in architecture. There are two remarkable buildings just behind us in this picture. The first is the 108 year old Old Faithful Inn, the second is the 2 year old Old Faithful Visitors Center. Both buildings are massive in scale, and rustic.
But I loved the contrast in windows. We really benefit from a lot of advances when considering the scale of the glass used in both buildings. The older building has understandably smaller windows, but the pitch of the Visitors Center wall of windows mimics the height and shape of the geyser. Old Faithful can reach 180 feet, so that wall of windows had to be tall!
I have to show you a picture of the chimney at the Inn, it is like nothing I have ever seen before.
And from the outside the chimney is that extremely tall structure to the left side of the roof. Amazing I tell you! Have y'all ever been to Yellowstone? What did you think?
*If you'd like sources for some of these images click on the picture itself and it will take you to the correct webpage. -Andrea
My neck of the woods had a holiday on Monday; Massachusetts and Maine are the only states that officially recognize Patriot's Day. My kids and husband even got up exceptionally early to go to a reenactment of the "shot heard round the world". Most everyone I know did something great that day. I went to the beach and drooled over all the beautiful beach homes! Boston itself celebrates Patriot's Day with the Marathon, and 2nd and Strand will celebrate with a little architecture recap!
Massachusetts colonial architecture in the early 18th Century was a statement about where the colonist had come from, they wanted to represent the King and his Georgian architecture. A beautiful example is the Isaac Royall House in Medford, MA:
This style of architecture is extremely symmetrical; from the dual chimneys, triangular pediments above the windows, pilasters flanking a paneled door, and small paned windows.
There are a few variations on this theme, but not as many as you'd think! My favorite place to take a walking tour of fantastic colonial homes would definitely be Marblehead, MA. They've got some gems up there!
After the Revolutionary War there was a slight evolution towards a Federal Style of architecture. This style took a lot of the symmetry of the Georgian and added some refinement. There were a lot more Grecian knods with the dentil trim and decorative columns. The front door was often topped with a Palladian window and fan lights.
As America struggled through it's early years it moved from the Federal Style to more fully embrace democracy and it's Greek history. This was evidenced in the choice of Greek Revival architecture.
This is the Saunders-Ward House in Salem, MA. Isn't it darling? It was originally home to a shoe maker, and then a sea captain, of course! This home represents the Greek Revival elements in it's use of bold and simple moldings, a wide and plain frieze, pediments, and narrow windows around the front door. This particular style of architecture really speaks to me. I love the strong, wide lines; I love the symmetry; and I love that color was widely used - I can't get enough color!
How did you spend Patriot's Day?
While I was in Paris last week, my sister (who lives in Paris), my mom, and I were able to take a 3 day side trip to Portugal. I definitely noticed a theme in the exterior of the buildings there, and thought I'd share a couple of my photo's with you so you can get a look as well.
Portugal is known for their tile. You see it everywhere. I really love it on the outside of these buildings, don't you? I feel like it adds so much dimension and character. If an exterior wall isn't covered in tile, it seems to typically be painted white, pink, yellow, or blue (i'm sure it can be any color, but those were the most popular I noticed).
We also booked our two nights through a site called Airbnb, which means we stayed in apartments that locals listed, not hotels. I loved this because I got a glimps into how Portugese people live, not to mention we got some killer deals. The first night we had a two bedroom apartment to ourselves, but had the unfortunate situation with the upstairs neighbors dog that didn't want to stop barking through the night, or the rooster that woke us up in the morning way too early. A rooster? Yeah, I don't remember the last time a rooster was the reason I woke up. But it was fun staying in a residential area and eating dinner right down the street with some locals. Our second night we actually stayed in a spare room of a cute couple's apartment, which we didn't realize at the time we booked it, but it ended up being awesome. They were amazing. Their English was great, they showed a lot of pride in their country, and were really insightful. This couple got out a spare map, and totally planned out our whole next day with what to see. I love getting a local's perspective!
Just in case you are curious, here are the city's we went to: Belem (and visited each thing that is on that link... make sure you get a Pasties at the cake shop and put powdered sugar and cinnamon on top!), Lisbon, Sintra (visited Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle), and ended in Porto.
Last weekend I said, "see ya soon!" to my kids and husband and headed off to meet a friend in Chicago. Lucky for me my friend is an art and architecture nerd like myself; and had a great time in this remarkable city. I'm going to list my favorite things we did, just in case you ever find yourself in Chicago and want to have a great time too.
1. Architecture Tour from the Chicago River - I've been waiting to do this tour for approximately 15 years, it was well worth the wait. My favorite part was probably seeing the Marina Towers and thinking about what it would be like to live in a high rise with your boat parked underneath your building. Or maybe it was hearing the story of the Chicago Fire while sitting on the very river that fire leapt over to burn the entire city to the ground. Possibly it was learning how they built skyscrapers on top of rail lines, but I also liked the fountain. It's hard to pick just one thing. The take home message for me was that Chicago really values it's ingenuity over antiquity.
The gold topped building in the middle back is the Carbide and Carbon Building. This building was built during Prohibition and was styled as a champagne bottle, clever eh?
2. Art Institute of Chicago- I loved standing in front of the painting, "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte". There is something about Ferris Bueller's Day Off and my childhood that will always be significant.
I teared up a bit in front of Chagall's America Windows. This is a must see.
3. Millenium Park - home of the bean and a cool art feature where a woman's face is the backdrop for a great fountain, also great sculpture garden and concert location
4. Chicago Public Library - I didn't get to go inside, but this gargoyle beckoned to me while I waited for a bus.
5. Hyde Park - Home of the University of Chicago, a couple Frank Lloyd Wright homes, an amazing neo-gothic chapel built by the Rockefellers, and a lovely walk along Lake Michigan.