Atlanta: Public Art and Architecture

You all understand the challenge.  You travel to a new city / country / place and arrive back home with a zillion photos to work through.  It takes time, but it also offers the opportunity to remember the experience and relive the fun.

I was in Atlanta for just 48 hours, but oh my gosh, I had a blast!  My son Andrew, who has only lived in Atlanta for 2 years, knows the city like someone who has lived there much longer, and he was an excellent tour guide around this diverse, exciting city.  He took me to the Jackson Street Bridge, a local landmark known as THE place to get a shot of the cityscape.

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With this post, and the two that follow, I’ll introduce you to the Atlanta that I experienced.  The posts are longer than typical for me, but years from now I’ll look back and be able to remember everything.

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While quite the tourist attraction, and evidently a bit controversial, the Atlanta Skyview allowed me to see Downtown from on high.

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All images were taken through the glass of the gondola.

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What fun it was to ride high above much of the city!

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The Skyview towers over the 21 acre Centennial Olympic Park, created for the 1996 Olympic Games.  Today the park performs a dual mission: it serves as Georgia’s lasting legacy of the Centennial Olympic Games and it anchors efforts to revitalize residential and commercial development in Georgia’s capital city of Atlanta.

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We spent much of my visit in various parts of Midtown, which is the “second largest business district in the city, situated between the commercial and financial districts of Downtown to the south and Buckhead to the north. Midtown is known for it’s cultural attractions, architecture, and urban layout”.

We visited walkable, intown neighborhoods, each one unique with shops, restaurants, and public art.

Visit my post on Monochromia to learn more about Celebration by Gary Lee Price.

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Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, the current Dekalb County Courhouse was completed in 1918.  The four previous structures were destroyed by fire, war, and demolition.

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I’m sorry to say that I did not document the name or purpose of this next building, but I loved the architecture.

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Whether commisioned or not, public art is everywhere.  On the sidewalk, seen during my morning walk,

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and along the Beltline, the city’s bikeway / walkway system.

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“The Beltline is transforming the city with a combination of rail, trail, greenspace, housing, and art. It will ultimately connect 45 intown neighborhoods”.

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Public Art can be found in Piedmont Park,

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in neighborhoods,

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and sadly, along the streets.

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If you’ve visited my blog in the past, you’ve learned about Ghost Bikes.

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When taking shots from the Jackson Street Bridge, Andrew pointed out a sticker for Tiny Doors Atlanta, an Atlanta-based art project bringing “big wonder to tiny spaces.  With the installation of a door, what was once a wall or the column of a bridge becomes an entrance to collective creativity and an invitation to whimsy”.

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As we walked along the Beltline, Andrew pointed out this tiny door.  How cool is that?

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I was also enamored by the messages posted on various streetlamps.  The words of Harry Crews, an American novelist, playwright, short story writer and essayist, are posted here.

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“So far as I can see, nothing good in the world has ever been done by well-rounded people.  The good work is done by people with jagged, broken edges, because those edges cut things and leave an imprint, a design”.

Next Post:  Atlanta Cuisine and Cocktails

Pittsburgh: Come Walk with Me

During our six mile walk around Pittsburgh, in addition to enjoying the bridges and rivers, we were impressed with the mix of old and new, the historic and the modern.  We stopped for a light lunch, and of course I had to taste a Pittsburgh pilsner, but otherwise we didn’t shop.  We just looked, and walked, and marveled and exclaimed.  It was a perfect day to explore.

Ruth pointed out that the leaves of the Honey Locust tree, which we saw all along the streets, are the colors of the sports teams of Pittsburgh.

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The Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail complex, designed in 1883 by Boston architect Henry Hobson Richardson, and built between 1884-1888, is a beautiful historic building right in the middle of Pittsburgh’s downtown business district.

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The P&LERR (Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad) terminal building, or the Landmarks Building, was constructed in 1900.  This historic landmark, once a busy passenger station and hub of the P&LERR railroad, has been renovated and in now contains shops, restaurants, and is a wedding venue.

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The interior was being set up for a wedding but we were allowed to take a quick look.  The low light made for difficult spur of the moment photography, but wow! Isn’t it a beautiful room?

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The Union Trust Building was erected in 1915–16 by industrialist Henry Clay Frick. The Flemish-Gothic structure’s original purpose was to serve as a shopping arcade. Known as the Union Arcade, it featured 240 shops and galleries. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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This beautiful movie palace was a major theatre in Pittsburgh, opened originally as the Grand Theatre in 1918.  Renamed Warner Theatre in 1930, it was used as a cinema through the 1980s, deteriorating all the while.  The auditorium was demolished, and a two story shopping center named Warner Center was built on the site. The beautiful doors and a portion of the huge lobby have been retained.

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The clubhouse of the Harvard, Yale, and Princeton Club of Allegheny is a National Historic Landmark.  Built in 1894, the building originally contained 12 three-room apartments and served as workers’ row housing. Pittsburgh architect and club member Edward B. Lee (Harvard Class of 1899) was commissioned to transform the space into a private club, and after extensive renovation was re-opened in 1930.  The courtyard reminded us of one that might be found in New Orleans, and had a quaint feel in the middle of the big city.

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The Buhl Building is a historic commercial building in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. Built in 1913, the building is faced with multi-colored terra cotta tiles.  It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.  The yellow honey locust trees look even better against those blue and cream tiles, don’t they?

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Isn’t this pedestrian walk way, with water feature and lovely purple lights, wonderful?  We came across this as we were walking near the Rachel Carson bridge (I think), but I was not able to find any information online about it.

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One PNC Plaza is a high-rise office building located in the Central Business District.  Constructed in 1972, and 30 stories high, it currently features the world’s largest green wall.

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I sure hope you enjoyed this walking tour of downtown Pittsburgh.  The information for this post was taken from Wikipedia and from a variety of Pittsburgh websites.

 Next and final Pittsburgh post:  Inclines and other sites in this fun city.

Fallingwater

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Continuing our ride through western Maryland and into southwestern Pennsylvania (see On the Road), we reached Fallingwater in Mill Run, PA with a few minutes to spare before our 10am tour.

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Fallingwater, “one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most widely acclaimed works, was designed in 1935 for the family of Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar Kaufmann Sr”. (comments taken from Fallingwater literature).

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Wright designed and built the house to rise above the waterfall rather than face it.  Fallingwater “exemplifies Wright’s concept of organic architecture: the harmonious union of art and nature”_MG_9080

Constructed between 1936 and 1939, the home was made of sandstone quarried on the property and was built by local artisans.  The stone serves to separate reinforced concrete trays that were cantilevered over the stream.

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Our guided tour (no indoor photography allowed) lasted about an hour and while a bit rushed, was fascinating.  We enjoyed hearing about Wright’s architectural themes, the extensive process involved in making this masterpiece, and the occasional design disagreements he had with the Kaufmanns.  New York Times architecture critic Paul Goldberger called Fallingwater Wright’s “most sublime integration of man and nature”.

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Fallingwater was the weekend home of the Kaufmann family from 1937 until 1963 when Edgar Kauffmann, Jr entrusted the house, it’s contents and grounds to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.  The home was opened to the pubic in 1964 and over 5 million people have toured the home since that time.

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After our tour we walked the trail to the Visitors Center, Museum Store, and Cafe.

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We enjoyed lunch in the environmentally friendly cafe with food that was healthy and locally sourced.  Reusable dishes and utencils! Recycling! and a relaxing view.

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If you are anywhere near this National Historic Landmark, I urge you to go.  Definitely a highlight to our trip.

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Next Stop:  Pittsburgh!

Taking a Break

This year’s Annual Meeting of the Virginia Council of Nurse Pracitioners is being held at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, Virginia.  During one brief break period, I dashed outside to feel the warmth of the winter sun and to use the camera to photograph something besides NPs in the conference setting.

The Reston Town Center has an outdoor Ice Skating Pavilion and on this beautiful, 60 degree day, I was drawn to photograph this unique facility against the bright blue sky.

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The strong lines of the human made structure against the natural clouds and trees provided a striking contrast.

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When I finally directed my gaze downward, I had to smile at what I saw.

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Refreshed and energized, I headed back inside to continue the work of the conference.

Celebrating 40 Years!!  Nurse Practitioners: Your Partners in a Healthier Tomorrow!

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Something About A Window

An organization that I belong to held a meeting at a local church last evening.  Grace Episcopal  has been a part of the Radford community for over 100 years and is a lovely old building.  As I walked up to the church, I was struck by the windows.

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From the inside they were even more beautiful, and against the setting sun, were the color of amber.

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As I left the house this morning, I decided to run by and take one more picture, this time of the the building, and not just the windows.  What a difference a day makes!!  Yesterday was sunny and bright.  Today a 6 inch snowfall!

In April!

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Day 3 – Ashland / Downtown Richmond: More Trains & Historic Buildings

What a treat it is to have a day off during the week!

With a meeting in Richmond on Monday and a conference in Williamsburg from Wednesday through Saturday, it just made sense to stay in the Eastern part of the Commonwealth.   My friend Becky lives in Ashland, and I was lucky to spend last evening with her and our friend Tim.  This morning when she left for work, I left to explore the town of Ashland.  I enjoyed a hot breakfast blend and a bagel while catching up on email, blogging, and bills at Ashland Coffee and Tea.

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Ashland is another historic train town and much of the quaint downtown area has a train theme.078003

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Freight trains pass through town on a regular schedule and even better, you can still take the passenger to various places in Virginia and the Northeast

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Ashland is more than trains, however, and the architecture of the buildings and the neat little shops and adornments made it difficult to put the camera away and made me reluctant to leave.  I adored this sculpture of J Malcolm Pace III, also  known as “Jay”.  The plaque reads “Newspaper Editor / Publisher, Community and Church Leader, Randolph Macon College Supporter, Musician, Friend and Family Man”.  What a tribute!

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And then there are the windows …

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Eventually, I had to move on to the next stop: Downtown Richmond.  I spent 7 years in Richmond while attending the Medical College of Virginia and I have always loved the downtown area.  Too may folks who live in the suburbs never leave the land of malls and chain restaurants and what a shame that is.

Today I discovered the Canal Walk, a project to restore a canal system that was started in 1784 and was heavily damaged during the Civil War.  It truly is a walk through history!

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With time running short before I had to leave for my next stop, I found myself at Sam Millers Restaurant on the cobblestoned Shockoe Slip.  The bartender Nathan, in addition to bringing me a yummy cup of crab soup and a Southern Tier stout, was a good source for information and directions.

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Finally, I could delay no longer and it was time to leave for Gloucester to meet my friend Janet for dinner a at wonderful Thai restaurant.  Gloucester would be a fun place to explore and I plan to return when it’s still daylight!  But tonight, the rain began to fall and I still had one hour to go before arriving at my final destination: Williamsburg – home of my parents and the 2013 Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners Conference.