Experiencing Great Architecture and Creative Built Environments

  • 01_Notre Dame Montreal
  • 01_Old Montreal
  • 01_Habitat
  • 01_The Belt
  • 01_GRAM
  • 01_Mission
  • 01_South Mountain
  • 01_Quincie
  • 01_Tree Ring
  • 01_Meinel

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Notre-Dame Basilica – Montreal Quebec (1829)

Old Town, Montreal

Francois Bailliage, Architect

Visited August 2015

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The Basilica is a “marvelous confection” (to steal a term used by Brendan Gill referring to the interior of UofM’s Rackham Auditorium). The main Basilica is a grand room with the high alter dramatically backlit with a blue and yellow glow. Behind the Basilica is the chapel Notre-Dame du Sacre-Coeur. This was rebuilt after a fire in 1978. The first two floors of the chapel were rebuilt, with the vaulted ceiling being executed in a modern design using linden wood. The new altarpiece was crafted in bronze sculptural panels.

 

Click here for the Basilica’s Website

Old Montreal – (settled in 1642)

The Old Montreal District is roughly defined by the old fortification walls.

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Habitat 67 – Montreal Canada (1967)

Moshe Safdie, Architect

Built by a then young architect in 1967 for the Montreal Expo.

I was in Montreal with a very small window of opportunity to sightsee, so only had a chance to observe it from a distance. My photos are not great, as they were taken from across the river, but I wanted to post them anyway. Hopefully I can get back and get up close. I am interested in prefab construction, and am glad to see that this early experiment is still up, occupied and appears to be desired complex to live in.

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The Belt – Detroit MI (2015)

Public Alley behind the “Z” Parking Garage.

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This project definitely falls into the Creative Built Environment category. A public alley has been transformed into a public art gallery – while still functioning as a public alley. Bedrock Real Estate, in conjunction with the Library Street Collective in Detroit are behind this transformation. They have turned this into an inviting walkway with commissioned artwork installed along the way. Recently Shepard Fairey installed several installations while in town. One of his murals will become the background for a new open air bar that will be in an alcove along the alley. Unusual benches provide spaces to sit. Another thinking-outside-the-box project transforming downtown Detroit. I am looking forward to future additions.

Grand Rapids Art Museum – GRAM – (2007)

Kulapat Yantrasast, Yo Hakomori, Aaron Loewenson, wHY Architecture; Architects

101 Monroe Center NW, Grand Rapids MI

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Touted as the world’s first LEED Gold certified art museum, this brutalist bare concrete structure actually has very sophisticated details and beautiful spaces. The “green features” are integrated throughout the building. Some are obvious, and some are cleverly integrated and were only discovered by reading reports of all of the earth friendly features of the building.

The Grand Rapids Art Museum website

Need a place to stay while visiting? The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and the Downtown Courtyard are within a short walk.

Hungry? These are my favorite restaurants within a short walk that I discovered while visiting:

Osteria Rossa, Rockwell Republic and San Chez (which also has breakfast)

Mission San Xavier del Bac (1797)

Construction believed to have begun in 1783, and completed in 1797.

Tucson AZ

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Visited November 15 2014

I almost didn’t venture down to this old Mission while I was visiting Tucson, but I am so glad I did. This mission is not only striking from the exterior, but the interior is an amazing display of dramatic, colorful and in some cases astonishing sculptures, paintings, frescos, moldings, carvings, and relics. The Nave and side chapel walls are saturated with these elements. The daylight coming through the dome windows and the hundreds of prayer candles creates a truly religious experience.

Mission San Xavier del Bac Website

While visiting the area I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain Resort

South Mountain Community Library (2012)

Richärd + Bauer Architecture – Architects

South Mountain Community College, Phoenix AZ

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Visited November 16, 2014

In a search for notable architecture in the Tucson and Phoenix, I came across the architecture of Richard + Bauer Architecture. The more I investigated their work, the more of their projects I put on my list to see. I visited 4 of their projects in my short time in Arizona, and was very impressed with their work. Take a look at this library in Phoenix, and their other projects in Tucson. Here are the links to the other projects I visited:

They were all interesting in their own way, and well worth a visit.

 Richärd + Bauer Architecture Website

While in the area I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain Resort

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