Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts from the ‘Architecture’ category

Fotoeins Friday in MSP: Guthrie and the Gold Medal

Between 2003 and 2006, I spent three memorably enjoyable years in Minneapolis and working at the University of Minnesota. I visited the Twin Cities as one of many destinations during my year-long RTW in 2012, and I returned again briefly in 2019 to see what became of the city.

The “Gold Medal Flour” is a city landmark associated with the Mill City Museum and the history and economic impact of flour mills. Next door is another city landmark that is the Guthrie Theater; visitors can step inside to gaze at the architecture and interior design, as well as panorama views over the city and Mississippi River.

I made the photo above on 11 March 2019 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime and the following settings: 1/1000-sec, f/11, ISO1000, and 18.5mm focal length (28mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-gn1.

My Vienna: Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, mother of the modern kitchen

Who: Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky.
Key: 1st woman architect in Austria, designer of something we take entirely for granted.
Quote: “I developed the kitchen as an architect, not as a housewife.”
Where: MAK Vienna.

I always liked how cooking had well-defined endpoints: a desirable start, and a satisfying conclusion. I enjoy the process: the contemplation of “what to make,” the gathering of ingredients, the preparation, and naturally, the consumption. There might also be something to say about the duality of creation and annihilation …

That got me to thinking about kitchens as a critical unit of a home. Before the 20th-century, the wealthy could afford to have staffed kitchens; everybody else had access to no kitchen or an unsafe unhygienic kitchen in a building separate to their living quarters. The assumed universality of a kitchen within a home is a 20th-century concept and implementation that sought to overcome social and economic class. The design of a modern kitchen invites repeated patterns of movement and action around where cookware, utensils, condiments, glassware, etc. are stored and where the central focus of cooking activity takes place.

For everyone who spends any time in a kitchen, we have Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky to thank.

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Macy's, Bon Marche building, The Bon, Thanksgiving, holiday star, Seattle, Washington, USA, fotoeins.com

Seattle: Thanksgiving holiday star & fireworks

As a wae lad, I was fascinated by comparative branding and marketing, and that’s how I got to thinking about the differences and similarities between Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Company in greater Vancouver and the American Bon Marché in Bellingham and Seattle. But I don’t ever recall a tradition of lighting a star for October/Canadian Thanksgiving.

In downtown Seattle, a grand building opened in 1929 for the locally-owned Bon Marché department store, operating for over 7 decades until “The Bon” became Macy’s in 2005. A holiday star designed by Bob James in 1957 would become a fixture for the city and her residents. In September 2019, Macy’s declared the downtown Seattle location would be closing at the end of February 2020. At the time, the announcement included no plans for lighting the holiday star.

However, the star looks to be coming back for one more (final?) illumination, as a local lighting company agreed to refurbish and reassemble the star in time for the 2019 Thanksgiving season. Festivities occur Friday November 29, beginning with the annual Thanksgiving parade followed by the star’s lighting and fireworks.

•   MyNorthwest, 27 Nov 2019.

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My Seattle: that tower again

“That Tower Again,” a three-word online phrase for the early 21st-century.

It’s a phrase I associate with Berlin and her TV Tower (Fernsehturm), and that comes with multiple stays and many months in the German capita, a city I feel very much at home (winters notwithstanding). With my return to the Canadian Southwest and near-proximity to Seattle, I reconsider my fondness for the city’s iconic landmark: the Space Needle observation tower. Sight of the tower hasn’t lost its allure since our first family visit in the late 1970s.

For the Seattle World Fair in 1962, construction of the Space Needle occurred over a mere 400 days in time for the “Century 21 Exposition”. The 605-foot (184 metre) tower stood for the spirit of innovation and the might of technology. The city of Seattle designated the tower as an official city landmark in 1999. Fast forward now into the 21st century, it’s unfathomable for resident and visitor alike to think about the Emerald City without its leading spire.


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My Albuquerque: big balloons & other highlights in Duke City

To begin our journey through the American Southwest, one of our first destinations was the International Balloon Fiesta. The largest balloon festival in North America is held every October in Albuquerque, the most populous city in the American state of New Mexico. Located roughly in the centre of the state and bisected by two major interstate highways I-25 and I-40, Albuquerque has seen its fair share of human activity and history:

  • Inland trade road between Meso-America and southern Rocky Mountains, c. 1000 AD/CE.
  • El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro established between Mexico City and Santa Fe for the colony of New Spain.
  • City founded 1706 AD/CE, in a wooded area along the east bank of the Rio Grande river.
  • City named after Viceroy of New Spain who was the 10th Duke of Alburquerque; 1st ‘r’ dropped to ease spelling and pronunciation.
  • City population: over 560-thousand, metro area over 910-thousand.
  • City elevation, average: 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mile).
  • City shaped by Spanish presence, railroad, University of New Mexico, Route 66, Sandia National Laboratories, TV- & film-production.

Having arrived from our respective cities at sea-level, we needed about a day or two to adjust to 20% less atmosphere* at the city’s mile-high elevation. Not only did the balloon festival exceed our expectations, we’re happy to share some of our favourite moments and places in and around “The Duke City”. With a limited number of days in the city, a rental car is the easiest way of getting around the city.

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