Monday, July 30, 2012

Camminando | Toronto: Do Buildings Define a City?

To a first time visitor Toronto gives the impression of a city of major development without urban planning. The skyline throuhout is made of scattered highrise buildings, both commercial or residential. The street grid Is constellated by buildings but it seems like there is no urban impact of the buildings of street front or void definers: there is hardly any focal point or axis definition bt the solids of buildings which do not define an urban grids. With the exception of course with the signature buildings: it seems that every archistar left his trace trademark here, and as usual, with no connection to the existing site. Cranes pop up like mushroom in this steel and concrete forest, but how do these countless highrises define places?

There some nicely planned/designed public green spaces, the most recent located in the Lake Ontario waterfront. My favorite are the Toronto Music Garden and the Humber Bay Park.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

On the Road | Water Power

On the Road | Buffalo: Water and Grandeur

My water journey evolves from the rural landscape of the shoreline road following the south cost of Lake Erie to one of the most imposing cities of the US, Buffalo. One of the theories about the origin of the city name is of a mispronunciation of the French beau fleuve, "beautiful river”. The river in question is the majestic Niagara river.
Architecture, scale, cityscape and urban fabric in Buffalo are towering and stately, a testimonial of the imposing architecture and urbanism of the 19th and early 20th century. Axes hold focal points and squares are defined by wall-like buildings such as City Hall. Niagara Square is an example, designed by Joseph Ellicott as the hub (marked by an obelisk) for a radial street pattern.
Almost all the major architects of the past century designed buildings for Buffalo, including Richard Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. Frederick Law Olmsted designed in 1869 an interconnected park and parkway system, to become the largest park system in the country.
Buffalo has represented for me the most appropriate manmade gateway to one of the most impressive expression of forces of nature.

 City Hall
 Richard Sullivan was here...

 Buffalo architecture and its grand past

 The Albright Knox Art Gallery

 Delaware Park

Fontana Boathouse, built recently from  Frank Lloyd Wright 's drawings

Martin House by Frank Lloyd Wright

A view of the Niagara River

Friday, July 27, 2012

On the Road | From Rivers to Lake

My water journey continues changing the water flow from rivers to lakes.

 My first encounter is the lake in Moraine State Park, a small, yet peaceful and visually pleasing lake north of Pittsburgh.

I then arrive to the city of Erie my gateway to Lake Erie, one of the five mythical Great Lakes. Erie appears as an old industrial town, with some new feature such as the Bicentennial Tower of Dobbins Landing facing the Presque Isle Bay.
Dobbins Landing

And then, finally on my way to Buffalo through Route 5, many views of the lake which looks like a sea, with no land in the horizon.