Colored Glass in Architecture: Dreams Do Come True!

I have the blessing of living in a neighborhood filled with beautiful Victorian houses and every time I take a stroll, I always find new beauty on each house. A few weeks ago, while Simon and I were walking back home from a nearby restaurant, we were especially receptive to all the beautiful colored/stained glass windows some houses had. Instantly, Simon told me that I should make a blog post about colored glass in architecture. Here you have it.

Some of the earlier versions of colored glass were in the form of stained glass at gothic churches in Europe. It was seen as a way for God to shower human beings with beauty and guarantee that parishioners kept on going to church.

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Stained glass at Notre-Dame de Reims Cathedral. One of the few places on earth that tears run down my face as soon as I walked in. Certainly God knew how to shower me with beauty that day. – Take note that it took almost 200 years to build this magnificent place.

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Beautiful stained glass at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. A must place for visitors.

Colored glass was also used at mosques and other religious buildings around the world.

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Vibrant colored glass at Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran. Beautiful Middle Eastern architecture dancing with colors.

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Imagine walking down this hall. Being showered by the colors of Iran. Take note at the unique tile and rug work.

There are also more contemporary religious buildings where colored/stained glass is used in a more up to date form.

Chapel windows by Jean-Jacques Duval at Jean-Jacques Duval's Connecticut Synagogue.

Chapel windows by Jean-Jacques Duval at Jean-Jacques Duval’s Connecticut Synagogue.

The beauty about stained glass is the fact that enhances space from big dimensions such churches to smaller places such houses.

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Small details such as this butterfly and three roses can make a small Victorian room the best place to hang out.

Not only Victorian houses serve as good hosts for colored glass. More organic and contemporary houses are also good at that.

Nautilus House in Mexico City by architect Javier Senosiain

Nautilus House in Mexico City by architect Javier Senosiain. Inspired by the shape of a conch.

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Talking about wonderful spaces to hang out.

And talking about housing. I personally would love to have a colored balcony when my body cannot be as adventurous.

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MVRDV’s WoZoCo 100 unit senior living facility matching up with the Dutch daylighting codes that are required throughout the country.

Colored glass is also famous among commercial architects, for human beings are universally attracted to transparencies and color. Here some shots at these buildings.

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Chihuly Bridge of Glass in Tacoma, Washington.

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Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision by Willem Jan Neutelings and Michiel Riedijk … architects still relatively unknown in the United States. And no, they are not trying to clone Rem Koolhaas.

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Your Rainbow Panorama Circular Pathway in Denmark . If you are thinking of the best place to take your tech/artsy date for a short stroll, this is it. Resting atop the ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, the fascinating colorful glass panoramic rooftop allows visitors to get a 360 degree view of the city.

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Well, hopefully when you are on your date, there are not as many people.

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And here is where you kiss! … Designed by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects, who were inspired by Dante’s “Divine Comedy”.

Not only glass can be colored. Plexiglass also serves as a wonderful surface for color. “Kolonihavehus” by NY-based artist Tom Fruin is an outdoor sculpture made out of thousand pieces of found plexiglass. The piece resides in the open plaza of the Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen.

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Now this is a structure that aims at interior and exterior lovers at the same time.

Stained glass can beautify spaces even in small dozes. Here a gorgeous butterfly we bought at Looking Glass Collage on Upper Haight Street. Altogether with another butterfly, they make our breakfast and lunch times on our dining area much more beautiful.

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Happy Valentine’s Week everyone!

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A Detail Lover Takes her iPhone to Carmel.

Hello hello dear followers!

Most of you must know how consuming getting a new job must be. That is the case with me. Yes my new full-time job has absorbed me, and it probably will take at least another three months before I am balanced and ready to post on a regular basis.

A few weeks ago, Simon and I spent a day in Carmel, California and found ourselves falling in love with the quaint architectural details of such a lovely town. Here some quick images taken on my iPhone. Little details from a little town on a cold winter-after-holiday evening.

After walking around town, we realized why this family wanted to let the world know that their dream has come true.

After walking around town, we realized why this family wanted to share with the world their dream come true.

Hearts welcoming you into  pretty little houses. It's almost fairytale like.

Hearts welcoming you into pretty little houses. It’s almost a fairytale.

Country style chocolate shingle house with doll house like white and baby blue windows.

Country style chocolate shingle house with doll-home like white and baby blue windows.

A house that makes you feel as if you lived in the woods. Look at the arched main window and the rock made chimney.

A house that makes you feel as if you lived in the woods. Beautiful arched windows and rock made chimney.

This house seems to be made of adobe. Its clay roof is well maintained and the wooden trim and balusters accentuate the gorgeous creamy wall. Rustic and elegant.

An adobe house with its well maintained clay roof and wooden trim that accentuate the gorgeous creamy wall. Rustic and elegant form a melody.

Even City Hall has its character with a beautiful wooden and hand carved/painted sign.

Even City Hall has its character with a rustic metal carved/painted sign.

Dutch/Gaudi style little cabins that serve as shops on the main street. Here Simon showing the architectural proportions. Truly quaint.

Dutch/Gaudi style little cabins that serve as shops on the main street. Here, Simon showing the architectural proportions. Truly quaint!

And here a dreamful beach in Carmel on this cold evening. May all of you had a wonderful holiday.

And here a dreamful beach in Carmel on this cold evening. May all of you had a wonderful holiday.

Victorious Vinctorians San Francisco’s Obsession

There is something magnificent about living in San Francisco and part of that is to be able to be constantly inspired by   Victorian Architecture.

This past 4th of July, Simon and I went for a bike ride around the city and confirmed the beauty of San Francisco’s architecture by spending some time laying on the grass in front of The Conservatory of Flowers. There I took a picture that I still can’t take out of my head. The magnificent structure standing in front of the beautiful flowers in full bloom. I needed to find more about such amazing building and after doing some research, I found that The Conservatory of Flowers has been alive for more than a century and it was built during the Victorian era.  It is also the oldest wood and glass conservatory in North America.

Conservatory in late 19th century and an Instagram image I took on July 4th 2012

This is not the only landmark public Victorian building in San Francisco. The Ferry Building also stands strong to this day winnig the hearts of millions o people that live and visit the city by the bay. Opening in 1898 on the site of the 1875 wooden Ferry House, it became “the transportation focal point for anyone arriving by train from the East, as well as from all the East Bay and Marin residents who worked in the city.  From the Gold Rush until the 1930s, arrival by ferryboat became the only way travelers and commuters—except those coming from the Peninsula—could reach the city.”

Ferry Building (exterior and interior) in the late 19th Century

And let me tell you, riding your bicycle on Market Street while you approach this building can be quite the nirvana experience. Seeing such a magnificent structure standing there right at the end as a milestone for your ride is for sure one of my favorite things about this city.

2012 view of Ferry Building. Exterior and Interior

And now, lets take a short ride along the city to see some truly stunning Victorian houses.

Biking on Washington Street (Pacific Heights), you could find this redish beauty

Between the Western Addition and NoPa, you will find these houses with semi-round cupules ~Photograph by Cyndi Lu Who

And of course once you reach Alamo Square, you will find the world famous Painted Ladies. Here their true beauty and in watercolor by SF based artist Ronald Pratt.

Heading up on Hayes Street, you will be in awe after finding this rhone painted queen

And on your way to Haight-Ashbury on Lyon Street you might be able to witness another row of painted ladies … this ones are a little more humble and less famous yet equally beautiful. ~iPhone Photograph by Simon Jones

Now you are on the Upper Haight and what a beautiful way to reach the top than by witnessing such wonderful and colorful corner house

Upper detail of a house in Cole Valley … perfect time to stop and grab a root beer float at The Ice Cream Bar.

Heading down on Haight Street you will find this row of colorful houses right on front of Buena Vista Park

And some of you know this house … yes the McAllister house by James Francis Dunn. A beautiful mystery towards Fillmore Street

To see more about this house, visit my September 2010 archives.

Entrance to the enchanted house …

Now time to observe the details … look at the brackets and the curved hood mold

The intricate railing, window molding and the cresting ~Photography by Kimberly Kradel

And the fun spider gate with gorgeous arched entrance. ~Photograph by Kimberly Kradel

Stay tuned for next post which will focus on Victorian interiors …

Design Details of the Caribbean

Bonjour monde!

It is nice to be back home and bring with me images and memories of an unforgettable trip to The East  Antilles islands of the Caribbean. Here are some beautiful design details that I spotted while traveling in St. Martin, Anguilla and St. Barthelemy. Please enjoy with a shot of vanilla rum.

Beautiful tile design going up the outdoor stairs at Le Petit Hotel in Grand Case the food capital of St. Martin (French side).

Hand painted tiles on the outside steps at Le Petit Hotel

Wall details with contrasting soft colors at hotel’s lobby

Dropped textile ceiling, dramatic light fixtures and Roman arches at Holland House Hotel’s lobby in Philipsburg the capital of Sint Maarten (Dutch side).

Bright colors on balcony  at Old Street, Phillipsburg.

Dutch details on Old Street

Red wooden balcony on Old Street

Yellow house, red roof and beautiful flowers inspiring pigeon courting

Contrast of street elements and vernacular architecture

Beautiful and original recycling system at Anse du Gouverneur in St. Barth

Hand painted tiles used for the beach’s sign.

Graffiti spreading love on a sign at Anse du Gouverneur.

Making signs much more fun to see.

The beauty of building codes reflects when all the roofs are terracota at Gustavia the capital of St. Barthelemy.

Detail of hand painted floor tile at Bistrot Caraibes at Grand Case.

And the most beautiful design of all, mother nature in the form of sand, water and sky at Shoal Beach in Anguilla.

Au revoir!

A 344 sq. ft. apartment that transforms into 24 different rooms …

Hola from San Francisco!

And I am back into the tornado and the path towards setting my roots in SF. While I pack to move into a new place, apply for jobs, prepare for interviews, type my thesis and catch up with friends and family, I don’t want to leave you all unattended as I appreciate that you follow my blog. So as a little break for you and me, here I am sharing an inspiring video that explains how architect Gary Chang transformed his tiny Hong-Kong apartment into a marvelous example of great space usage and eco efficiency.

Enjoy,

Isabel

English Medieval Towns … and their architecture

Happy New Year everyone. I have a feeling that this year will be positive, full of new opportunities and bright experiences. In my last post I explored London’s fashion and architecture. After being in one of the most fashionable cities … Continue reading

London’s Fashion and Architecture

This year’s end has brought me to one of the most fashionable and architecturally conscious cities in the world, London. I always wondered what was about London that every Londoner I met had such an exquisite taste for fashion and … Continue reading

Fascinating Bus Shelters

Friday night, over a refreshing glass of Ichigo and some Kobe Beef asparragus, my boyfriend and I discussed the future of my creative work. After sketching and drinking away, we realized that there is more to furniture design than what we thought. By the end of the night, we have acknowledged the intricate components of bus shelters.

Bus shelters are structures that while being in the outside, provide protection and a sense of either safety or danger (depending of the design and the area where they are located). Bus shelters host furniture, reflect culture and meet human needs, not to mention their environmental importance.

Through the weekend, I decided to look a bus shelters over the world and have chosen the ones I find most fascinating. Here is to the beauty and importance of bus shelters:

  • Curitiba, Brazil. A futuristic design that proved to enhance the “public transportation” experience.

  • Casar de Caceres, Spain. What looks like a single sheet of concrete is a embracing structure designed by architect Justo García Rubío.

  • Athens, Georgia. American sculptor Christopher Fennel uses parts from decommissioned school buses from the 60s and 70s, to create a fully recycled shelter.

  • Dubai became the first city in the world to offer the luxury of air-conditioned bus shelters for passengers. The goal was to lure people into using public transportation in order to ease the pressure on the roads.

  • Sheffield, England. Green roof shelter. Soon we shall see urban gardens on the roofs of shelters.

  • Paris, France. Designed as part of the smart mobilities project, this bus stop was presented in 2008. Users waiting inside the bus stop could engage via a touch screen interface while pedestrians waiting outside could interact with a 6ft. custom LED display.

  • Victoria, Canada. The Victoria Bug Zoo is all about experiencing the world of insects and spiders. This ad is made from a plastic sheet with hundreds of small magnifying lenses, allowing passersby to see through a bug’s eyes.

  • Landshut, Germany. Design by Hild und K Architeckten. A computer-controlled high-energy laser beam cuts the chosen pattern in the Corten steel sheet. After cutting, the sheet is simply folded into a bus shelter. The internal panes of glass were fitted on the spot.

  • Scottsdale, Arizona. “Wavelength” bus shelter by artist Kevin S. Berry.

  • Sao Paolo, Brazil. Bus Sheleter for world cup. A whole soccer arch for you to inhabit.

  • London, England. Bus shelter modified by Bruno Taylor gives commuters a chance to have a little bit of playtime during their morning commute. He went and attached swings to a number of bus stops around the city.

My next step is to go around different high schools in the city and take pictures of near by bus shelters in order to see how well identified students are, as well as how inspired they may be to take public transportation.

Till next time …