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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dolmens and seaside villages

Ireland is also a land with a rich geologic and Celtic history. Yesterday we visited the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and the Poulnabrone dolmen.

Today we spent much of the dayfollowing the coast of Connemara with its seaside villages such as Roundstone.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


We're in Ireland for an eight day vacation.
Visiting ruined castles,
and, of course, pubs.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Le Corbusier

On Sunday we visited one of Le Corbusier's iconic works, the Villa Savoye. Built between 1929 and 1931 as a weekend home for the Savoye family, it illustrates the "Five Points of New Architecture."

By using stilts (pilotis), Le Corbusier created a "box in the air" construction with its base disappearing into the surrounding grass.

Roof Gardens

The flat roof becomes a useable terrace where flowers can be planted. The horizontal line of the building means it stands out clearly against the sky.


Reinforced concrete frees the interior of load-bearing and separating walls. The posts support the floors, allowing for an open-plan design. Light partitions are sufficient to separate the different areas.
 Free-floating facade

The facades were free of the load-bearing structure, and placed freely on the stilts. Their positions are determined by the views from the inside.
 Horizontal window

The non-load-bearing facades can have long windows, creating light and airy interiors, two qualities which were highly prized in the Modern movement.

  Paradise for photographers!


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Architecture walk in Paris

On Friday afternoon we signed up for a guided visit of early 20th century architecture in Paris. We saw examples of the asymmetry, curved lines, and organic motifs of Art Nouveau (1890-1914):

 We then turned to Art Deco (1920-1940), which is characterized by straight lines, symmetry, bold colors, and geometric shapes.

 We also visited the Maison La Roche by Le Corbusier

 I spent the day thinking about my daughter-in-law, Rachel, who is an architect. I wish she were here to visit with us.

Tomorrow - more from Le Corbusier

Monday, April 8, 2013

Canal Saint Martin

The Saint Martin Canal was originally built in the early 1800s on the orders of Napoleon to bring drinking water to Paris. Later, the canal was used to transport materials and grains to the center of Paris. Nowadays, it's a low-key tourist destination, offering Parisians and visitors a place to stroll and bicycle in a neighborhood that is in the process of revitalization.

On Saturday, I met a new friend, Lucy, in the Canal Saint Martin neighborhood for lunch. We met at Chez Prune, a trendy address near the canal. Smokers huddled on the terrace in front of the bistro. It felt more like December than April in Paris.
We had lunch indoors, and then left for shopping and exploring in the neighborhood. First stop: Antoine et Lili, a nearby boutique whose unique colors and designs evoke California in the 1960s.
After leaving the bright colors of the boutique, we walked along the canal with its many locks and pedestrian bridges. 
 Later, we picked up some bicyles (Velib') and rode along the canal to the bassin de la Villette.
Lucy, a writer from Knoxville, Tennessee, is visiting Paris for five weeks.  I wish she could see this area in the summer when it is transformed into a giant playground as part of Paris Plages.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Château de Chantilly

It's been a long cold winter and we haven't taken many photo excursions outside the city. The sun finally made an appearance yesterday, and despite unseasonably cold temperatures we decided to visit the Château of Chantilly about an hour north of Paris.

The château, almost completely destroyed during the French revolution, was rebuilt from the ground up in the late 1800s by its last owner, Henri of Orleans, the Duke of Aumale.  The Duke was a military man and art collector. He created the Condé Museum to house the château's magnificent collection of paintings, furnishings, books, manuscripts and art treasures.  The site also houses the Living Museum of the Horse (Musée du cheval)