Friday, April 18, 2014

From the Mind of the Lemming: Just Outside Hobbiton (maybe)

Easter egg hunt in Hobbiton? The Lemming has no idea whatsoever.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Yosemite, Hudson School, and All That

(From Thomas Doughty/National Gallery of Art, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
"Fanciful Landscape," Thomas Doughty.

One thing the Lemming has noticed about nature is that it's big: very, very, big. Small wonder that artists like Thomas Doughty get carried away while painting their landscapes.

Thomas Doughty was with the Hudson River School, which had more to do with the Catskills and Adirondacks than pencil sharpeners and blackboards: although blackboards actually were black back then, and that's another topic.

Anyway, another Thomas took at least part of Horace Greeley's advice, and went west: all the way to California.

(From Thomas Hill/Crocker Art Museum, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
"Great Canyon of the Sierra, Yosemite," Thomas Hill.

That's "Great Canyon," not "Grand Canyon," which is an unreasonably big washout in another state. Oddly enough, humans in these parts get upset over little washouts, but make a tourist attraction out of one that's a mile deep.

Granted, the Grand Canyon is scenic: and got started long before any humans wandered into this continent, and that's another topic.

Where was the Lemming? Adirondacks, pencil sharpeners, erosion: right.

Thomas Hill's paintings of Yosemite may not be exact representations of the landforms there, but he didn't exaggerate the scenery by much. In Yosemite, there's little need: the place is spectacular.

(From GuyFrancis, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
"U shape valley Yosemite"

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Friday, April 4, 2014

London: Holborn Overhaul and De-Fencing the Street

(From Architects Journal, used w/o permission.)

"Farrell unveils Holborn overhaul vision"
Merlin Fulcher, Architects Journal (June 14, 2012)

"[First look] Terry Farrell and Partners has revealed his masterplan to revamp the Holborn, Bloomsbury and St Giles areas of London

"Re-branded 'Midtown', the district is expected to undergo major regeneration with the arrival of Crossrail in 2018.

"Farrell's vision centres on the area's three major hubs: St Giles Circus, Holborn Crossroads and Holborn Circus – setting out roadmap for improving public realm, the urban environment and pedestrian and transport congestion.

"Proposals include phasing out High Holborn's one-way system, creating new pedestrian crossings and expanding the cycle network.

"Tass Mavrogordato, chief executive of project-backer InMidtown BID, said: 'We will be more impacted than anywhere else by the opening of London's two biggest Crossrail stations in Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road...."

That aerial view of Farrell's proposed London makeover is an attractive picture.

Making a nifty picture is one thing, planning a detailed renovation of even part of a city is something else. The Lemming didn't know whether this was one of those visionary projects that nobody really expects to work: or something that Londoners could actually use.

As it turns out, project planners seem quite serious about Farrell's St. Giles Circus — Holborn Crossroads — Holborn Circus project.

Trees, Umbrellas, and No Fences in the Streeet

(From Architects Journal, used w/o permission.)

Judging from those before-and-after pictures from the Architects Journal article, it looks like Farrell's idea is to take some of the fences out of the street, add trees, and set up a sidewalk cafe or two.

The sidewalk cafe may or may not work out; the trees look nice, but will need watering; and — how did anyone think that putting fences in a street was a good idea in the first place?!

No matter. Another four years, and at least one London street can be used as a street again. That's progress, the Lemming supposes.

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