Art Party

Sketch from Ruben Fletcher's blog of and "Art Party" at "Glen McClure's downtown Norfolk studio." Uploaded December 9, 2007.

Sketch from Ruben Fletcher’s blog of and “Art Party” at “Glen McClure’s downtown Norfolk studio.” Uploaded December 9, 2007.

Glen McClure’s photo studio comes to life in downtown Norfolk, Virginia, this time of year.  I always enjoy attending Glen’s annual print sale, seeing the images I love laid out on the tables, and connecting with friends.

This is the first year in a long, long time that I’ve not been present for this festivity.

Fortunately, though, Dave keeps me posted by text.  It helps bring my memories to life.  Finding Reuben Fletcher’s sketch on line from the 2007 party also rekindled memories.

I have to admit that I got slightly teary eyed when the first of Dave’s photos rolled in!

Glen, Marshall, Dave, and our friends Jamie and Mark Lewis are all going to the Christmas Parade of Boats down the York River this weekend, and I’ll miss that, too.  Fond memories of people and places close to my heart….

Corners of the Globe

Views so far today, November 30.

Views so far today, November 30.

These little maps just blow my mind.  Can you believe that people in Lithuania, Hong Kong, and Holland visited this blog in the past two days?  And how did I get 32 visits from the UK today?

The Internet is amazing.  I hope I’ve passed on a bit of knowledge, inspiration, and cultural understanding.

Views from yesterday, November 29.

Views from yesterday, November 29.

Green Know-How

Simon McGuinness asked me to speak about LEED with his Architectural Technology class.

Simon McGuinness asked me to speak about LEED with his Architectural Technology class.

65% of Ireland’s architects are unemployed today.  Shocking.  And sad.

Today, I got to speak to a room-full of these architects and architectural technologists.  They come to DIT once a week — from all over Ireland — to learn about sustainability.

To be eligible to take this course, a person has to be receiving some form of unemployment assistance.  The government funds this program as a way to infuse knowledge about green building into the community and help re-train this group so they can help address pressing social needs.

And what a fantastic audience!  I was so caught up in the dialogue that I forgot to take a picture for you.  I believe everyone in the room was older than me and likely had much more field experience.

And they were fully engaged, interested, and attentive!  Full of energy and questions!

The teacher of the course, Simon McGuinness, had asked me talk about the nuts and bolts of documenting projects using the LEED Green Building rating system.  That can be a very dry subject.  But they took it in with enthusiasm.

During the one-hour talk, I got the chance to share some of the findings of my dissertation and the recommendations I made in the article I just published in Planning for Higher Education.  I’ve included a gallery of those slides, below.  Please see the article for details.  (It got over 800 downloads!)

Dramatic Smithfield

Mix-use complex built during the economic boom known as the Celtic Tiger.

An impressive canyon-like space within a mix-use complex that was built during the economic boom (known as the Celtic Tiger).

Smithfield is home to some dramatic public spaces.  Most notably, there’s Europe’s largest cobblestone-paved plaza. Bordering this are circular spaces that make Swiss cheese of the Jameson Distillery (where the courtyards are even painted yellow) and the dramatic canyon opposite the plaza from it (see photo).

A lot of development happened in Smithfield during the economic boom known as the Celtic Tiger.  Today the apartments of Smithfield appear t be filled with residents — but many of the cultural, retail, and office spaces of Smithfield are vacant or under used.

Nevertheless, there are enough restaurants, attractions, businesses, and services here to keep the place feeling alive enough.

I haven’t yet been to many of the highlights (such as the Lighthouse Cinema, the Smithfield Art Tunnel, the Generator Hostel, or the Maldron Hotel). But I have enjoyed my time at a number of the eateries as well as the Jameson Distillery, the Cobblestone, the Elbowroom (which is one of Smithfield’s many guys), and the Fresh Market.

Smithfield really doesn’t deserve the bad wrap it gets.  But as long as people have the perception that there might be something scary here, the rents will stay reasonable. And that part is fine by me!

The old smokestack of the Jameson Distillery.

The old smokestack of the Jameson Distillery.

Kevin and Jerry — On Air

Remember when I helped Jerry Crilly (my pal from the Cobblestone pub) find his ole pal Kevin Donleavy?  Kevin lives in Virginia, which is why Jerry (a Dublin resident) requested my help.  Well, Kevin has written to me several times since.  He’s going to be featuring some of the music Jerry sent him on his WTJU radio show tomorrow!  I hope you’ll tune in to learn something about traditional Irish music!  See how, below:
———————
A chairde and pals,

Kevin Donleavy. (Photo by Josh Meltzer, The Roanoke Times)

Kevin Donleavy. (Photo by Josh Meltzer, The Roanoke Times)

Just a reminder to switch on your radio this Saturday for another on-line program of Irish trad music. It’s the ATLANTIC WEEKLY PART TWO show, and the date is Dec. 1.  As always, the broadcast time is 10 am till 12 noon, eastern US time (or 3 to 5 pm in Ireland).  If you live near the Charlottesville, Virginia area,  you can listen on WTJU, at 91.1 on the FM dial.
This week there will be whistle playing from both Enda Seery and Kathleen Conneely off their newish CDs.  Among the younger  groups you can hear are Realta from Belfast,  Ioscaid from all over the Wee Six counties, and Flashback from Texas.  Among the individual singers this week are Tadgh Maher and Jerry Reilly,  Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh and Mairin Fahy,  Jerry Crilly and Lenny Duff.  There’s plenty to entertain even the most sophisticated and jaded ears !  Reels agus jigs galore !
Here are the easy steps to listen in on your computer. First, visit http://wtju.net.  Next, select Listen Live on the right side bar. Then,  choose between Ogg and MP3.
Hope that you can tune in this Saturday, wet the tea, and roll back the carpet.
Kevin

Dave’s Handiwork

Our new porch floor!

Dave has made a lot of progress installing a new floor for our porch back home.  What a wonderful gift it will be to return to this at Christmas!

This is the most recent phase in our very extended porch renovation project.

Previously, Dave installed a new foundation and then hired bricklayers to install an entirely new brick foundation and new brick pillars.  He placed new limestone steps and limestone caps for the piers.  Then he framed in a new structural system for the porch floor, and primed, painted, and installed the tongue-and-groove floorboards.

Much earlier in the renovation process, we replaced the dilapidated front door with one we bought at Caravati’s Architectural Salvage in Richmond. It got a new limestone threshold. And someday, we may actually install a window in the transom opening.

The green wood siding and the yellow wood columns are original. At this point, they need quite a bit of scraping and painting.  I was in charge of the scraping the first time and I did much of the painting as well.  This go around should be much easier.  The last time we had 100 years worth of paint to remove!

Under the porch roof, we found a piece of lumber signed by the builder and dated 1896.  That’s quite old for a house in the USA.

 

Cubism under a Chilly Sky

I noticed this cubist-inspired building facade this morning, while walking down Liffey Street in Dublin.

After the dazzling sunrise Thursday morning, a covering of clouds had rolled in.  This cover suspended the melting process, extending the pre-dawn frost into the morning.

I was scurrying along en route to an all-day seminar.  The topics being covered (leadership and change) are central to the paper I’m writing at the moment.  So I’d signed up to attend this event hosted by DIT’s Learning, Teaching, and Technology Centre to see how Irish folks talk about the topic and frame the issues.

On this particular morning the sidewalks — which the Irish refer to as footpaths — were still slick.  A thin layer of frozen mist remained.

This distracted me from capturing images for the first few blocks of my walk.

It wasn’t too long, however, before a facade that I’d never-before noticed captured my gaze.  I dug around for my camera and started to compose.  I was eager to show you this built example of cubism.

The Cublist Museum in Prague, a built example of cubist. Photo downloaded from Portal of Prague.

The Cublist Museum in Prague, a built example of cubist. The building is known as the House of the Black Madonna. Photo downloaded from Radio Prague website.

Unlike most styles of art, cubism never really flourished in architecture.  It’s rare to find built expressions of cubism most anywhere but Prague.  Portal of Prague explains, “Prague is the Mecca of Cubism lovers. This is not only because some of the Prague pre war art collectors were in favour of this style but mainly due to the fact that Prague is the only city with so many cubist buildings. The worlds unique buildings were build within four years from 1911 until the beginning of the First World War.”

I speak from experience when I say that the sky in Prague is often chilly.  I visited with a group of Hampton University students one chilly week in March several years ago.

Here in Dublin on this particular morning, the lights on this facade brought the building to life.  The cubist facade glowed warmly against the steel-grey sky.

The chilly sky actually helped me to see something I’d overlooked many times before.

Juxtaposed buildings.

Reflection of skyline in the Liffey River.