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Architectural Association (Luis Fraguada)

 

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Oct '05 - Jan '07

 
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    On The Road:

    I had to skip London town for a week to do some administrative stuff in Denver. I would like to divulge more info on my specific activities there, but more will come later . . . some exciting opportunities lie ahead!

    Besides that, I took the time (one week) to visit friends and family, as well as eat as much Mexican and breakfast foods as my body could handle. One side note, I got a great opportunity to visit my undergrad program where some friends are still teaching. I sat in and gave some desk crits to students in Marcel DeLange's 3210 (urban studio). The students were working on “slot sites” with a choice between three activation programs. This was a 2.5 week assignment. It was very interesting to see this other side of things. I found myself having great conversation with the students. Some were on point, others were a bit lost, but overall everyone had some good concepts that would undoubtedly go unexplored in 2.5 weeks. Got me thinking about the teaching aspect of our profession.

    I mentioned eating . . . why is that important? Well, while London is packed to the gills with restaurants, I would say maybe 1% -> 3.3457% are actually decent. Not to say that I do not like food in London, there is some bomb cuisine, but so many damn tourist trap restaurants line the city that it obscures the numbers such. Boulder/Denver also have their share of crappy restaurants, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that Boulder, CO has to have the highest density decent breakfast joints per capita in the Western Hemisphere. While I lived there for 7 years, I developed a tier system for breakfast restaurants based of quality, service, and value. It was all kept secret in my head, only for my own use. I later discovered that my wife also shared this pretentious secret. Also, let us not discuss Mexican restaurants in London. While London has its share, only a couple are worthwhile, and even then, they are pricey. On the other hand, throw a rock anywhere in Denver or Boulder and you are bound to hit on some good Mexican food . . . of course north of the border, we are looking at tex/mex for the most part, but it is damn tasty. This picture is from a restaurant that we are quite partial to. So much so that we do not speak of its name while in London, for it is too emotional for us to recall how good it is:

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    Not many people can forget their first time driving into Boulder from HWY 36:


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    If you have not been to Boulder, I recommend it. It is a strange place. One of those towns where reality is especially blurred through images of Hummers taking a trip to the recycling center. Half hippy, half trustafarian, half yuppie, half college student, it just doesn't add up. There are some good things that come out of this though:


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    A place sometimes so enveloped in its own contradictions that it hardly makes any sense at all. Yet, I would return to it for so many reasons. This being one of them:


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    Also, this mix of people lends itself to a good yard sale season. The summer is ripe with sales, and on any given Saturday morning you could find me “sailing” through the yard sale districts:


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    Chief Niwot, your curse is strong . . .


    DENVER

    While I was staying in Boulder during my week in Colorado, many of my friends are living in Denver.


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    There is a lot to appreciate about Denver as well. Especially this corner, all bail bonds places:

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    This corner (close to a pretty good Cuban restaurant) happens to be right down the street from:


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    I took some time to get as close as I could to the new addition to the Denver Art museum:


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    It is interesting, I mean, this little corner of Denver has works by Graves, Ponti, and Libeskind . . . sure, they are bought pieces that give people more reasons to come to Denver, but I must say that someone needed to build something to offset that Graves library, I am sorry, his version of pomo here makes me cringe. But I guess if it works as a library, and it is a little better than seeing all of these pay parking places everywhere:


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    But this is just a microcosm of the more general condition along the foothills corridor:


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    Of course, no trip to Denver is complete without a BBQ.


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