Before i even get into my classes i promised i would wrap up a few observations on some summer travels- i already summed up japan but wanted to briefly touch upon new orleans and the pacific northwest. On the way down to new orleans i took a route which went through virginia, maryland, the carolinas, alabama and mississippi. A few notes: Charlotte, NC was very interesting in that it was clear that Art Deco informed the design in the major downtown areas. Birmingham and Montgomery, AL contained plenty of monolithic and classically inspired buildings (namely the state-funded projects like courthouses). New orleans itself is in somewhat of an interesting position at the moment due to a rapid gentrification of the city based on the low-priced real-estate after the storm. I stayed in the Garden District (outside of the flood zone). It contained plenty of old shotgun houses in various states of disrepair. These homes all have rich history to them and a clear european influence as the spanish were some of the first to settle this part of the world. The pacific northwest on the other hand, was settled much later (1890's) but still many of the cities such as seattle and portland were based upon older styled cities. The buildings of seattle however were all destroyed in an 1889 fire (they were all wood-framed constructs). The city was also originally build on/in a flood plain which meant daily flooding. To counter this, after the fire a mountain was literally leveled and the streets that were rebuilt after the fire were filled in and build on top of (there is still the entire underground city intact- very cool.) The new buildings were all required to have thick stone walls and it has been that way ever since then. Some architectural highlights: Rem Koolhaus's Seattle Library, the Seattle Art Museum and the Olympic sculpture park.
As for school..
I have my first class today- History & Theory of Architecture III with Yehuda Safran, a professor im quite excited about taking. We are up to more or less contemporary (post 1850's) architecture which means no more renaissance churches to memorize! Hes been around the profession for a long long time and has supposedly been directly invloved in some of the history he teaches about (and hung out with the likes of Meis ect..) so hopefully there will be some interesting personal anecdotes thrown into the lectures ect.. Ill keep yall posted.