Trying to take advantage of our recent fabulous January weather, on Sunday I took one of the most beautiful urban walks in the U.S. The walk from the Palace of Fine Arts along the Chrissy Field waterfront to Fort Point in San Francisco was just incredible. The walk ends under the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge and the bridge is in view the whole time. It is two miles each way and an easy flat walk. Worth a trip to San Francisco.
Two mile route from the Palace of Fine Arts to the Golden Gate Bridge
The Palace of Fine Arts has just been restored and is absolutely beautiful. It is well worth a visit in itself. The scale of the structures is immense and the reflecting pool provides a beautiful vista of the complex.
I think that almost every architect has more than one sketchbook in a bookcase at home with one or two sketches and good intentions to fill the rest of it. I bet I have ten or more and some of them have not been opened for a decade or more. My last two trips to Italy, I have finally gotten over my inhibitions (what if I do a bad drawing!?) and carved out the time to sketch regularly. This fall, while my wife Margaret was in Italian language classes, I went out and walked, took pictures and sat and sketched. My goal was to do at least one sketch each day. Linked on Flickr are some of the sketches I did.
We spent ten days in Rome, then travelled northeast about 3 ½ hours by bus to the town of Ascoli Piceno in the Le Marche province. It is a vital and economically robust town of 60,000 with a medieval core that dates from the 11th and 12th century. We stayed in an architect’s home overlooking the town that that had been converted to a B&B by his nephew, so you will see lots of views of the towers from above. Urbino was our next stop and focused around a renaissance fortress on a hilltop that is every travel photographers dream. Our last stop was Ferrara, a town about the size of Santa Rosa with an intact walled core dating from medieval and renaissance times. Sketching was a relaxing way of making myself sit quietly in one place for a while and really contributed to making this into a true vacation. I’ve got a couple of slide shows scheduled in January to show both the historic and contemporary facets of our trip.
Here is a message from the director of the spill response for IBRRC, Jay Holcomb. I thought that some of you might be interested to know some of the final numbers of the response effort. 5 months after the rig sank in the gulf of Mexico, our teams are coming home.
September 21, 2010
Dear Friends and Supporters,
After nearly five months working at the Gulf Oil Spill I just returned to California and want to give you an update on IBRRC’s efforts at the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
The demobilization of all four rehabilitation centers and the remaining two stabilization centers should be completed in the next few weeks as they are no longer receiving oiled birds. We still have five IBRRC response team members in the gulf helping Tri-State Bird Rescue get the last of the birds released. In terms of the rehabilitation of impacted birds, many of them did well considering the logistical and political challenges that were a part of this spill. Approximately 2,000 live oiled birds have been admitted to the rescue centers since late April.To date we have released over 1,200 birds and still have another 150 or so in care. The final numbers will be posted at the official end of the rehabilitation program. See: Updated bird numbers
This was an unprecedented event in our nation’s and IBRRC’s history. Our organization mobilized over 88 response team members, and completed well over 400 media interviews from CNN to documentary film crews. We also provided our expertise to the U.S. government and various organizations and agencies involved in the spill. In addition, we cared for many new species of birds and provided invaluable experience to new and existing staff and response team members.
During this large-scale effort, while up to our elbows in oiled pelicans and chaos, we received an outpouring of good will and encouragement from our supporters, members and others who repeatedly relayed to us that our efforts gave them hope during what seemed like a hopeless situation. This was an unexpected surprise and meant a great deal to all of us who worked long hours to ensure that each bird received expert care.
The specific details and stories, as well as more pictures and video of our spill response and experiences will be forthcoming in the next few months. To commemorate this historic event, we have also created a limited edition t-shirt that honors and displays the birds that were the true stars of the oil spill and deserve the most recognition. The shirt is available for purchase at our online store.
On behalf of all of our staff, volunteers and response team, I want to thank you for your support during the spill. We look forward to seeing you and talking to you in the future.
Jay Holcomb, Executive Director
International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC)
Last week Erin and I were in Cancun. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort called the Sun Palace. A lot of people think of Cancun as a party place. That may be true for some, but for us it was a week in paradise for sure. We skipped the pool parties, free excursions and night life for a 6:00 a.m. sunrise and days filled in the warm Caribbean turquoise waters. The sunrises and sunsets were so majestic and the blue and aqua colors of the Caribbean were so beautiful that I took over 1500 photos in one week. I’ll share a few of them here. One of my brothers keeps asking me why I choose to go to Cancun every year when there are so many other places to see in the world. I want to see the world also, and I do plan other trips, but for me, Cancun is a vacation of the soul, where you truly relax, rejuvenate and de-stress. Enjoy!
Sorry I have not been able to blog. We are in an area without Internet. Yes it turns out there are still places in the world without internet access. I’m using someone’s computer with a Verizon card.
To date, we have set up a center in Sulfur, LA. We have 3 birds in custody. The oil is staying off shore but slowly moving inland toward the Breton National Wildlife Refuge. We took a pounding 3 hour boat trip today out to some offshore islands; North Island, Northwest Island and the Chandeleur Islands. All the islands in this area are packed with 300-400 brown pelicans. All three islands are also double boomed to protect the birds, but this only works if the birds stay on the islands…ya right! I am heading up a team that is going out to the islands to stay for 4-5 days to monitor the situation. The oil is about 1/4 mile off shore and moving fast. We passed over a lot of oil today, more than the media is talking about.
I will fill you in more when I get back from the islands.
Thanks again for everything.
I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.
-Frank Lloyd Wright, quoted, 14 August 1966
“It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.”
- Ansel Adams
Editors Note: These photos were ones I found on the internet as Jaime is having difficulties posting from his current locale. You also might want to check out the IBRRC Blog for the latest information on their activities. Jaime is one of 16 staffers from IBRRC onsite in the gulf. aB
The photos below are of the recently set up Fort Jackson Oiled Bird Rescue Center, set up in the last week by IBRRC.
IBBRC Blog: http://wbx.me/l/?p=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fintbirdrescue.blogspot.com
I attended our semi-annual Rainmakers roundtable in Boston April 8-10. Talk about making rain, I arrived in balmy 85+ weather and as soon as the group started arriving the weather turned cold. On Friday the group took the downpour tour of some newer Boston projects including the Norman Foster addition to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Rowing Club Boathouse, Gehry’s Strata Center (pictured), Saarinen’s Chapel at MIT and the new addition to the Media Lab at MIT by Fumihiko Maki. I’ll be showing photos of these projects and a few more at Wine Wednesday, April 21 at 5:00 p.m. Umbrellas not required.
Farmstead at Tolay Park
Sunday I took a long (nine mile) walk in one of Sonoma County’s newest parks, Tolay Lake Regional Park. It is on Lakeville Highway southeast of Petaluma and I believe is about 1,700 acres. Tolay Lake is a seasonal wetland and large parts of the park are still actively grazed. The access to the park is currently limited and you must attend an orientation session to get a pass to the park, currently open on weekends only. This time of year the hills are fantastically green and there is a fairly easy couple of mile walk up to Three Bridges View Overlook. From the top of the hill you can see a sweep of the bay area from Mt. Diablo and the Carquinez Bridge to downtown San Francisco and around to the west to Novato and Petaluma. If you have the inclination get there soon while everything is fantastically green! http://www.sonoma-county.org/PARKS/pk_tolay_dayuse.htm
Tuesday at noon I’ll be presenting three buildings I visited in Chicago in early November. The New Modern Wing of the Chicago Art Institute is Renzo Piano’s latest work in the US. The daylighting of the galleries is spectacular. I also visited the Klarchek Information Commons at Loyola University of Chicago. This three story commons sits at the edge of Lake Michigan and uses a very sophisticated natural ventilation system. The Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies is the newest landmark on Michigan Avenue. The faceted glass facade encloses gallery and library spaces within a daylit lobby. The detailing of this building is very nice. Hope to see you at noon on Tuesday.–Alan
Is this the future of healthcare? If it is someone will need to design these mobile clinics.
Challenges: Create a solar-powered, light weight, camel friendly design.
“Kenya’s camels recently started sporting some unusual apparel: eco-friendly refrigerators! Some of the African country’s camels are carrying the solar-powered mini fridges on their backs as part of a test project that uses camels as mobile health clinics. Organizers hope the eco-friendly transport system will provide a cheap, reliable way of getting much-needed medicines and vaccines to rural communities in Kenya and Ethiopia.”-inhabitant
Necessity is truly the mother of invention. This is a great, check it out!
I’ve posted a complete journal of our Pacific Coast trip at http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/TWS
Good for some winter reading.