I discovered the Bronx Community College a few years ago through the Open House New York website (They have an amazing list of buildings architecture enthusiasts must see btw). The campus as been on my list for a few years, as making the visit isn’t an easy trek. Most of my site visits are unplanned due to our busy schedule and are therefore squeezed into a pocket of available time- 2 hrs, lets make the most of it.
My husband and I pulled up to the security booth arriving to the campus by car. The guard asked the purpose of our visit since it was a weekend during the summer. I said we just wanted to walk around the Breuer buildings. He looked confused, thinking of what to say, and finally leaned towards our car and said “You’re correct request is to visit the Hall of Famous Great Americans”. Ok fine.. whatever he wants us to say, the only thing between me and the Breuer buildings is him. “Yes sir what you said”
Continuing and fueling my knowledge base, exploration and obsession with mid century modern design, I bought the book Handcrafted Modern: At Home with Mid Century Designers by Leslie Williamson. The book for whatever reason had been sitting my Amazon wishlist for a longest time, probably because my wishlist needs some serious trimming. Anyways, I don’t know why I didn’t purchase it earlier! Williamson beautifully captures the homes of many mid century designers and the homes they had built for themselves and their family. I was not family with most of the designers in the book, but this is how I came to discover Russel Wright’s home in Manitoga.
Edgar and I are starting this tradition where we go hiking on July 4th weekend. Last year we went to Watkins Glen near the Finger lakes in upstate New York. This year, we hiked at Manitoga. Not only did Wright buy a large amount of acres on which built his house, but he also designed 3-4 hiking trails with scenic markers.
I’ve visited a few architects and artists home at this point, and there’s always a sense of warmth-ness and welcome-home-ness that is inviting to anyone that steps in the home. Similar to many mid century homes, Russel Wrights home is also nestled in the landscape, but so nestled the soil is almost at the edge of the windows that it’s practically outdoor living. The property he chose is a quarry, which from the view of the house also looks like a dragon when the rocks surround the quarry. Lounging in the living room with no walls, just windows of the quarry, it feels like a mini lake house.
I had recently purchased some ceramic pieces from and artist and also had visited Philip Johnson’s Glass House. That had put me in a mood for some sculpture and stone texture exploration. I’m not sure how I found out about the museum or how I came across Isamu Noguchi’s sculptural works, but prior to visiting his museum, my only familiarity with Noguichi was his famous mid century paper lamps with cute little antennae legs. Located in Long Island City, this diverse collection of his life’s work is definitely one of the most pleasant surprises and possibly most underrated museum in New York.
We booked a tour just in time for the last day of the Fujiko Nakaya’s Veil fog installation at Philip Johnson’s Glass house! All I was expecting was to see the glass house and learn throughly on thought process of the glass house. Instead, Philip John has a hug property with multiple galleries on the lot, and the Glass House idea was simply inspired by Mies Van der Rohe’s Farnworth House. This is what I appreciate and love about Philip Johnson- with an obvious sense of humor his work is meant to be enjoyed and not to be taken too seriously. Who wants to be serious all the time anyways?
Day + A Half trip = A few sites off my to-visit bucket list.
Locations: Zion National, Bryce Canyon, Horshoe Bend, and Antelope Canyon
Just being in the presence of these desert sculpture interiors and landscape, you start wonder, then ponder if heaven can even feel as godly to these all-natural wonders.
An oasis of intersecting textures, rich stone colors, and monumental geometries, the tools used to carve these masterpieces: water, weather, and just a few thousand years of time. What if Bernini carve a narrow cave opening and the walls were to move like fabric? Yea that also sums up what the Antelope Canyon water-carved walls felt like.
FYI please visit during spring and fall when the temperature promotes happiness for all living things. Winter temperatures (speaking from experience) can be painful and hiking will be limited. Stay hydrated and sun-blocked over summer.
Recently I was home in LA for the holidays. Each time I go back, I make an attempt to clean up my room, whether it’s just dusting up or clearing out childhood sentiments that I’m no longer attached to. My room’s fairly big, which means more space to store junk.
The portion I cleaned out most of this visit was my walk in closet… I normally throw in unused/unwanted gifts and leave clothes I grew out of, fashion-consciously speaking. While rummaging through all the old backpacks and other random items, I found this lovely project I completely forgot about. It was a deck of cards I made for a graphic design project. I believe the assignment was to product graphic design product of printed medium.. I chose to make a deck of cards. Thanks mom and dad for owning a printing shop. Flipping through all the hand written then scanned numbers and letters, I was most excited to see that I had included friends and classmates into the Jacks, Queens, and Kings of the decks. I kind wish the whole deck was 54 different people, but then again the time frame was short. Nonetheless I’m really glad I have about 6 decks left and so I decided to give it to my friends as a thanks for being part of my project. Requests were made and then began a project sequel..
I went to the container store hoping to find a simple container (hopefully cheap in $$$) to put the cards in and mail it to my friends who wanted a deck. Of course the plastic containers were out of budget but I did find some small linen gift bags within budget, keeping in mind that I have left over ink-cloth transfer paper at home. I’m glad the bags can look somewhat like a decent package for the cards. Mini night project FTW.
We may all have a mundane daily routine when it comes to living in New York, but each step we take, each corner we turn, every street we cross, is a whole new environment.
We live in a collage, and this collage sucks you into all sorts of addicting-distracting, culturally-eclectic-interesting vortexes, and your mind just can’t find a way out. Perhaps it’s some sort of mental city syndrome where you can’t help to think what the story is behind every brick and marking and detail.
Trust me it’s a good thing, so embrace it. Next time you take a stroll in the one of greatest American cities, just tilt your head upward, and gaze at the buildings that surround you, and you’ll appreciate that your mundane routines take place in the Collage City.
References: Collage City by Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter