October 28, 2003

Light. Space. Architecture.

Someday, if I build a house, it will have a courtyard. Round, perhaps, with light colored walls, a place to look up at the sky, a place to sit where it's sheltered and exposed at the same time.

The light is key. It's also the medium used by James Turrell to create works of art. Framing is an essential part of art. It also seems to lie at the core of Turrel's work with the interplay of light and dark and perception. Much of his work is framing of a sort--openings to the sky in neutral rooms, openings for light into dark rooms, tunnels through the Roden Crater to show only tiny parts of the sky, or unusual astronomical events.

One thousand years from now, what will they think of the work at Roden Crater? What religious cult will be invented to follow its mysticism? The concept reminds me of Monte Alban. If you visit at noon on the equinox (I was there a day later, there is a picture someplace) the light will reach the bottom of a sort of hallway. I only saw it from the top, but perhaps it was really meant to be seen from the bottom of the well, as with the roden crater creations.

The spaces in the exhibit at the Henry also made me think of other architectural spaces which also work with framing and light. These include the cloister in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the lantern of the cathedral in Toledo, and the courtyard of the rotunda at l'INSA de Lyon. And also a Quaker meetinghouse. Which turns out not to be as much of a stretch. Turrell was raised a Quaker and has re-embraced that religion after building a meetinghouse.

Silence is the effect these spaces have on people. Yet sound intrudes from the outside. And perhaps vision itself. The exhibit spaces (as opposed to the permanent skyspace) were marred by air conditioning noise, but I wonder what their effect might be, perhaps similar to the claimed sounds generated by the aurora borealis.

Update: If this topic interests you, go see the movie My Architect. Highly reccomended, about Louis Kahn's son's journey into his father's life.
Posted by MBlain at 12:06 AM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2003

Fall Colors: Tronsen Ridge/Mt. Lillian

For some reason I really like the Tronsen Ridge/Mt. Lillian area east of Blewett Pass, even with the 2.5 hour drive from seattle. Maybe because it's high country and you can drive there, and I'm lazy. Well it's larch-color season, so off I went.
Up the mountain.
Into the valley.
And out the other side of the ridge.

Posted by MBlain at 11:28 PM | Comments (1)