Dreaming of Landscapes Has Moved!

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Dreaming of Landscapes has moved to its new self hosted space. You can find it at binglestudios.com.

University of Washington: Prehistoric Monsters and Neo-Gothic Architecture

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Suzzallo Library opened in 1926. It was championed by the University of Washington's president Henry Suzzallo, who was dismissed before the library was completed. Following Suzzallo's death in 1933, the University named the library after him.

Suzzallo Library opened in 1926. It was championed by the University of Washington’s president Henry Suzzallo, who was dismissed before the library was completed. Following Suzzallo’s death in 1933, the University named the library after him.

On February 1, Dreaming of Landscapes will move to its new home at binglestudios.com. I hope you will continue to follow this blog at its new home.

I was surprised when the Seattle Urban Sketchers announced they would be visiting Suzzallo Library for their next meeting. I had visited the library on the University of Washington’s campus last October to sketch the building’s monumental reading room. Fortunately, the University of Washington’s campus always has something new to discover.

Tucked behind Suzzallo is Allen Library. The Allen Library opened in 1990 and was named in honor of Kenneth Allen, the University of Washington’s Associate Director of Libraries. Allen is connected to Suzzallo via a sky bridge and forms a library complex housing the main body of the University’s book collection.

Tomistoma machikanense is torn between eating the students above or below.

Tomistoma machikanense is torn between eating the students above or below.

If you take the time to walk through Suzzallo to Allen, you will find yourself greeted by the skeleton of Tomistoma machikanense. The 28-foot crocodile skeleton is a cast of a fossil held by the University of Washington’s Burke Museum. The skeleton appears to be walking up the lobby’s wall or waiting to drop on undergraduates as they pass beneath the monster.

Across the breezeway from the Allen Lobby, the Lower Suzzallo Lobby features a fun art installation called “Raven Brings Light to this House of Stories.” A flock of raven sculptures hangs over the lobby. Each raven holds a symbol or letter in their beak, symbolizing Raven bring light and knowledge to the world in Native American myth. The great part of this installation is the way it spreads into the surrounding book stacks. Ravens perch on shelves, watching patrons, while lost letters float over the stacks.

Stone work in the Suzzallo Main Lobby

Stonework in the Suzzallo Main Lobby

Suzzallo is also filled with a wonderful collection of reliefs and sculptures. The library facade is decorated with sculptures of major thinkers, including Moses, Isaac Newton and Benjamin Franklin. Inside, the library is decorated with intricate filigree and stone relief patterns. The interior is also note worthy for featuring reliefs of native flora and fauna.

More sculptures and reliefs are on many of the University of Washington’s buildings. Explorers and thinkers are common as are fictional characters who convey knowledge. I particularly liked a relief of the Native American Raven after visiting the Suzzallo art installation.

If you have time, and want to escape from Downtown Seattle, the University of Washington’s campus offers a wonderland of science and culture. Whether it is a recreation of a gothic cathedral, prehistoric monsters, or Native American myths, the University of Washington’s campus always has a surprise or novelty waiting for its guests.

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Stonework in the Suzzallo Main Lobby

Stonework in the Suzzallo Main Lobby

Seattle Public Libraries: High Point Branch

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On February 1, Dreaming of Landscapes will move to its new home at binglestudios.com. I hope you will continue to follow this blog at its new home.

View from the Northwestern corner of 35th and Raymond looking east to the library.

View from the Northwestern corner of 35th and Raymond looking east to the library.

The second library of the year is the High Point branch. The branch was completed in 2004 with funding from the 1998 Libraries for All bond measure. The building replaced a space rented in the High Point development. The library now serves as a neighborhood anchor, drawing visitors from the wide range of communities around it.

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Things That Are and Things That Will Be

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This week I did not have a cohesive collection of sketches. However, each sketch has sparked an idea for future projects I hope to post soon. Enjoy this collection of miscellaneous sketches and stay tuned for future developments.

My first library sketch is of the historic West Seattle Branch Library. The West Seattle Branch Library was funded by Andrew Carnegie's philanthropic efforts, opening in 1910.

My first library sketch is of the historic West Seattle Branch Library. The West Seattle Branch Library was funded by Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropic efforts, opening in 1910.

The Seattle Public Library recently announced that they will open all their branches on Sundays. Due to budget issues many neighborhood libraries had to close their doors on Sundays. However, a library levy passed in August included money to open all branches on Sundays.

To celebrate, the library system has challenged its patrons to visit 15 libraries in 15 weeks starting on Sunday, January 6. I have decided to take on this challenge, and sketch each library I visit. Stay tuned for further Seattle Library sketches and stories.

The atrium at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. This room is dedicated to South Asian statuary portraying buddhas, gods and goddesses in the Buddhist and Hindu traditions.

The atrium at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. This room is dedicated to South Asian statuary portraying buddhas, gods and goddesses in the Buddhist and Hindu traditions.

I also recently visited the wonderful Seattle Asian Art Museum. The museum is a hidden gem of Seattle, tucked away in Capital Hill’s Volunteer Park. As its name implies, this museum houses the Seattle Art Museum’s (SAM) collection of art from Japan, China, India and other Asian countries.

Even if you are not a fan of Asian art, the art deco building that houses the collection is worth a visit. The park is also a classic example of the Olmsted brother’s work with sweeping lawns and shady woods. Stay tuned for more sketches of SAM’s collections and properties.

During my time in Mt. Vernon, I only had the chance to sketch this view of Highway 99 and a gas station next to my motel. This was even more difficult when the sun rose, blocking half the view.

During my time in Mt. Vernon, I only had the chance to sketch this view of Highway 99 and a gas station next to my motel. This was even more difficult when the sun rose, blocking half the view.

This finally sketch is of old highway 99 near Mt. Vernon, WA. Mt. Vernon is a small town ninety minutes north of Seattle and is famous for its annual tulip festival. Downtown Mt. Vernon has a charming collection of shops housed in historic brick buildings. The Calico Cupboard is particularly famous for its breakfast and lunches.

2013: No Flying Cars, but Plenty of Miracles

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Another year past and still no flying cars. While everyone’s favorite unrealized invention is still mysteriously absent, Seattle offers several equally fantastical landmarks. With a new year approaching, it seemed appropriate to take a moment to remember the science fiction miracles all around us.

The iconic science fiction landmark in Seattle is the Space Needle. Celebrating its 51st birthday in 2013, the Space Needle was the 1962 Worlds Fair’s monument to the future. At 605 feet tall, the Space Needle promised a world where cities would elevate humanity into the heavens.

The Space Needle rises over the Armory Building on the Pacific Science Center campus.

The Space Needle rises over the Armory Building on the Pacific Science Center campus.

Seattle is still firmly attached to the ground, but the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company offers you the chance to let your imagination soar. The only business in Seattle that provides roof top parking for spacecraft, the eccentric shop has everything you will need to explore space from the comfort of your home. This includes Hubble Space Telescope coffee-table books, The Elegant Universe by Brian Green, a map of the known planetary systems, and t-shirts supporting Pluto’s place as a planet.

The Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company storefront

The Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company storefront

More adventurous souls can take an active role in space exploration with Planetary Resources. This Seattle based company was founded in 2012 by a group of Microsoft and Google executives. The company’s mission is to begin mining Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) for metals such as platinum and nickel. Interested rocket scientists can apply here.

To keep your feet on the ground consider visiting the Museum of Flight’s new Charles Simonyi Space Gallery. Centered on the recently acquired space shuttle training mock up, the gallery also houses a variety of space craft and paraphernalia. You can also explore the complete history of manned flight.

A life size model of a wheel on the Mars rover Curiosity. Holes in the tread help with guidance and spell JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in Morse Code. Thus proving that engineers do have a sense of humor.

A life size model of a wheel on the Mars rover Curiosity. Holes in the tread help with guidance and spell JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in Morse Code. Thus proving that engineers do have a sense of humor.

Other great futuristic museums in Seattle include The Living Computer Museum, the EMP’s Science Fiction Section, and the Boeing Everett Plant Tour.

As we continue to look to the sky for our flying cars, we should remember the miracles that are all around us.  Whether it is the wonder of our imagination or the enterprise of mining asteroids millions of miles from Earth. I hope 2013 continues to bring you surprises and adventures.

Happy New Year!

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The Space Needle peeks over the Belltown Neighborhood. This sketch was drawn from Pier 63/64 on the Seattle Waterfront.

The Space Needle peeks over the Belltown Neighborhood. This sketch was drawn from Pier 63/64 on the Seattle Waterfront.

Seattle Downtown Medley

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On a chilly December day, I took my car to the Downtown Toyota Dealership to be serviced and took the day to sketch my impressions of Downtown Seattle. My experience was one of colossal towers and intimate details. I could never include the sky in my drawings because the buildings always dominated the page.

I also had trouble maintaining proportions in these drawings because the scene extended beyond my line of sight. This resulted in most of the skyscrapers being shortened in my sketches.

This drawing is a bird's eye view of Westlake Center Plaza. On the bottom is the top of the holiday merry-go-round and the monolithic entrance to the Cascading Water Monument. In the background, Century Square looms over the public space.

This drawing is a bird’s eye view of Westlake Center Plaza. On the bottom is the top of the holiday merry-go-round and the monolithic entrance to the Cascading Water Monument. In the background, Century Square looms over the public space.

I drew this sketch of the intersection of 4th and Pike from the counter of a Seattle's Best Coffee. This was fortuitous because Pike Street is the fiction location of Cafe Nervosa in the 1990s Seattle Sitcom Frasier.

I drew this sketch of the intersection of 4th and Pike from the counter of a Seattle’s Best Coffee. This was fortuitous because Pike Street is the fiction location of Cafe Nervosa in the 1990s Seattle Sitcom Frasier.

Sketches of Olympic Tower from the top of the Westlake Center Mall.

Sketches of Olympic Tower from the top of the Westlake Center Mall.

Olympic Tower was originally named the United Shopping Tower and housed a variety of retail businesses. Unfortunately, these businesses never experienced financial success due to the stock market crash shortly after the building’s grand opening in 1929. It was converted to offices in 1932 and has housed a variety of tenants since. The building was renamed the Olympic Tower in the 1980s when it was occupied by Olympic Savings.

Want to learn more about Downtown Seattle? visit here

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All sketches on Dreaming of Landscapes are available as art prints for $15.

 

 

 

Latest Article for the Washington ASLA: Maintenance Planning

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This is a reprint of an article that appeared in the December edition of the newsletter for the Washington Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (WASLA).

Most landscape architects know that maintenance is an important element of landscapes, but landscape architects are rarely involved in the maintenance of the landscapes they design. This is beginning to change. This past October at the Green Gardening Workshop an entire session was dedicated to a presentation of the maintenance plan for Seola Gardens prepared by Johnson and Southerland. Intrigued, I took some time to talk with Margaret Johnson ASLA, LEED AP about the emerging field of maintenance planning and what it could mean for landscape architects.

Seola Gardens is a affordable housing development in the Roxbury Neighborhood of Seattle built by the King County Housing Authority. Several years after completion, the King County Housing Authority began to notice that the landscape did not match with their landscape vision. They worked with the maintenance crew but miscommunications resulted in frustration and a landscape that still did not match the management team’s vision. Finally, the King County Housing Authority asked Johnson Southerland to develop a landscape maintenance plan for them. Working with a team of horticulturalists and arborists, Johnson Southerland condensed the King County Housing Authority’s landscape vision into a series of maintenance goals and standards and developed¬† a yearly maintenance schedule. They also provided illustrations showing when and how plants should be planted and how to prune shrubs.

Johnson Southerland had past experience with the King County Housing Authority. Several years previously, Johnson Southerland developed a series of maintenance plans for several King County Housing Authority apartment building landscapes. These guides aimed to provide the property managers with a simple system to maintain the value of their landscapes. However, these plans ended up on shelves and were forgotten by the time new property managers too over the property.

Margaret Johnson feels that Seola Gardens has been successful because the maintenance plan provides a few simple steps that the property management team can take to insure that everyone involved with the landscape is included in decisions about the landscape and understands the landscape vision. At Seola Gardens the maintenance plan calls for a biannual meeting in the fall and spring of the landscape architect, arborist, maintenance team and managers. The group reviews the past six months, tours the property and sets priorities for the next six months. This allows everyone involved with the landscape to help in creating a consistent landscape vision and setting goals to achieve this vision.

Despite the success of Seola Gardens, gaps still exist in our knowledge of maintenance planning. Margaret Johnson pointed to mulch as one example. Over the last decade, she has seen an oscillation between bark mulch and compost as the mulch of choice. However, there is little scientific evidence to support favoring one type of mulch over another. Currently, there is research underway to answer some of the questions surrounding maintenance, such as the work of Linda Chalker-Scott at Washington State University.

It seems assured that landscape maintenance plans will become increasingly important in the future. The Sustainable Sites Initiative features an entire section for maintenance and operations. In addition, maintenance plans preserve the value of landscapes, improve communication amongst landscape professionals and property management staff and reduce the use of resources in the landscape. These benefits and continuing work in the field of maintenance planning is sure to bring new energy and excitement to the profession of landscape architecture.

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