Saturday, July 30, 2011

yarn bombing in Prague and Boston

Here are two knit cozies I spotted wrapped around a street lamp in Prague and a tree in Boston. "Yarn bombing," as this form of graffiti is called, is apparently quite a big thing now in the world of street art. There's even a wikipedia page. Proponents of yarn bombing claim to be softening and feminizing urban space with their work. At the very least, they're helping some street furniture stay warm. Top: Cechuv Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic. Bottom: Davis Square, Boston area, Massachusetts.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

map of the city on a wall in Zurich

I spotted this bird's-eye map of Zurich wedged in between six windows on the front facade of a house in Zurich's medieval center. The map may be outdated - an inscription just below the crest with the bird in it dates the map to 1568 - but certain landmark features of the city visible in the map still remain to this day, including the twin-spired Grossmünster cathedral and the tall clock tower of St. Peter's Church right at the center of the map (click the image to make it larger). I like the way the orange and blue paint colors on the house appear to have been chosen to coordinate with the map. Near the Münstergasse thoroughfare, Zurich, Switzerland.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

granite and river rocks in Boston

Granite pavers define the path for car tires in this river-rock cobblestone driveway on Mount Vernon Street in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

patterned facades in Prague and Budapest

An old woman monitors the street from an upper-story window in the geometric painted facade of a house on Loretánská in Prague, Czech Republic.

Painters restoring the patterned facade of a building on Tárnok utca in Budapest, Hungary.

Monday, July 25, 2011

sewer music

There's a feature in the Boston Globe today about a group of phonographers from the New England Phonographers Union (who knew there was such a thing?) recording background noises from the Deer Island sewage treatment plan in order to make music from the ambient sounds. Their aim they say, was to bring these background sounds to the foreground, allowing people to hear these rhythmic processes that are otherwise ignored. "That's exactly why you would go out there to find beauty, because you would never expect to find it there."

Below, a video from the Boston Globe explaining the project:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

colorful shadows in Montreal

Late-afternoon sunlight streams through tinted panes of glass in Montreal's Palais de Congrés casting colorful, elongated shadows on the gray stone floor of the building's lobby.

For a short time each afternoon, sunlight hits the building at the just right angle to pass through the colored-glass facade and back out through a transparent glass wall on another side of the building, creating a momentary spectacle of tinted shadows on an adjacent street.

Alternating facades of transparent and tinted glass envelope the Palais de Congrés. Rue de Bleury, Montreal, Quebec.

Friday, July 22, 2011

round, exposed-masonry columns around Boston

This squat column supports the corner of a building on Boston Avenue in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Three-story brick columns guard the front of the Old Courthouse in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Round, two-story mortar-stacked stone columns blur into the facade of a building on Vernon Street in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

X marks the spot in Bratislava

This wooden door blocks entry into the courtyard at the Old Town Hall in Bratislava, Slovakia. Notice how the pattern culminates in a four-pointed star right at the point where the three sections of the door come together in this door-within-a-double-door arrangement.

Here are two more patterned doors spotted side-by-side on Országház utca in Budapest, Hungary.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

another sign in Montreal

Rather than putting a giant sign across the front facade of this slick building, the architect placed the sign for the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Center behind glass, high up on the back wall of a tall conference room at the front of the building, where it won't distract from the clean lines of the building's design. Avenue des Pins, Montreal, Quebec.

Monday, July 18, 2011

trace of the past in Montreal

I'd like to restart this blog with a new feature. From now on I'll be posting photographs that I've taken of details and curiosities, some intended and others unintended, that I find interesting on buildings or in urban environments. My hope is to encourage others to notice the details that give character to the built environments around us. Here's something that caught my eye recently in Montreal:

Green stains from long-gone oxidized copper lettering are ghostly evidence of this building's former function as a school, "Ecole Cherrier." Rue Cherrier, corner Saint-Hubert, Montreal, Quebec.