architecture


The Next Little Thing? – NYTimes.com

This is an interesting article on a new trend in housing – houses that are less than 1000 square feet down to under 100 square feet. Gives the concept of “downsizing” a whole new viewpoint. I live in a small house (just over 1000 Sq Ft) but it’s definitely on the large side of small.

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Development puts squeeze on Orleans House – – The Washington Times, America’s Newspaper

This isn’t some great gourmet find but Tom Sarris’s Orleans House has a 43-year history at it’s current location. It has a massive salad bar and serves the best Prime Rib for the money in this area. I came here often with my parents when they visited me. It has some of the most garish interiors but the food has always been good – the Prime Rib great.

What kills me is that they will erect another ugly high-rise building on this spot. Right, we really need another one of those.

Sigh.

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San Francisco sprouts a “Chia” nightclub | Crave : The gadget blog

A San Francisco nightclub installed on Monday what it’s promoting as the city’s first vertical garden. Several plant-filled boxes turned on their sides and bolted outside near the entrance are the first step in the Zen Compound‘s plans to cover the facade of the building in greenery.
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For now, the Zen Compound serves organic spirits with corn-based cups and straws that get composted rather than trashed. Club marketing is moving away from using paper fliers, even if recycled, to online-only promotions with Flash animation.

This story comes via crave.cnet.com. I do think it’s a great idea even if it’s just a gimmick. The more green space in any city is a good thing.

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Seeing the Light at Last – washingtonpost.com

This weekend saw the opening of the courtyard at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture (aka the Old Patent Office Building and home of the National Portrait Gallery). So far the reviews have been good. The link above is for the Washington Post article. I won’t post one for the Washington Times – they hated it.

Staff were given a coupon for a free “non-alcoholic” beverage from the new cafe so I went over and got a hot chocolate and sprang for a chocolate brownie, too. It was good hot chocolate but could have been a touch richer in flavor. The brownie was thickly iced and very fudgey – and expensive at $3.85.

The courtyard is quite stunning and I’m certain it will be the place that parents will bring their kids to run and burn off energy. I just hope they don’t wipe their grimy fingers on the cases in the galleries – just another thing to clean in the morning.

If you are in DC, I recommend dropping by to see the courtyard but please stay to see the collection, too.

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Museum Math: Their Number Is Multiplying – washingtonpost.com

The Washington Post ran a special section on museums in today’s (Sunday) paper. The National Portrait Gallery got a lovely plug about the reopening of our courtyard with it’s new roof (see artist’s conception drawing above). I had completely forgotten that it’s supposed to open next month. (How did I miss that one? Oh right – I’m completely over worked these days.) I have been watching the progress from the windows of the galleries. The two below are from official pictures of a ficus tree being lowered into the courtyard through the last remaining opening.


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NPR : How Do Washington’s Monuments Measure Up?

Another NPR “Story of the Day” that caught my ear. I live just minutes from the Air Force Memorial pictured above. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not against the memorial in principle. I just don’t think it’s a very good one design-wise. It reminds me of elephant tusks.

The podcast also mentions the World War II Memorial on the Mall and the Goddess of Democracy nearby. I must say that the WWII memorial looks like it would be at home in Rome (or in Berlin had the Germans won the war). I would have preferred something that reflected an American (or at least a more modern) perspective.

The World War II Memorial

I also prefer Maya Lin’s design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial – it’s one of the most moving, truly awesome memorials on the Mall. It’s simplicity is startling and the viewer becomes part of the memorial through their reflection.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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