Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
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NextFab is a membership-based cooperative digital fabrication laboratory, meaning that people can join and pay a membership fee to gain access to tools like CNC routers, laser cutters, welding electronics and other equipment. They offer student, individual and corporate memberships along side classes in different fabrication techniques. Access to all the classes, covering topics from software through to the inner workings of specific tools, is included in the price of membership. Individual rates start at $49/month.
It's a great concept, and spreads the cost of capital-intensive equipment over the membership. I think a use like this a great fit for Washington Avenue, a street with a long history of industrial use from Philadelphia's Workshop of the World epoch. Today the street is home to an odd mix of Chinese supermarkets, dollar stores, and lots of home improvement warehouse type operations. Next Fab would bring an element of 21st Century industrialism to the strip, and I'm sure that they would do a great job rehabbing a building that looks like it could be really cool. The aerial view show big light monitors on the roof and the building goes all the way through to Kimball Street.
It's definitely a suitable use, and seems like something everyone can get behind. Operations like NextFab are indicative of the exciting, forward-looking work happening in Philadelphia today, and their presence on Washington would certainly bring a great new demographic to the mix.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
The Department of Records now has PhillyHistory.org, a great, geo-tagged online home for its collection of historic photos of Philadelphia, and it was while browsing around that site that I found the pictures that Charles Bender took in 1954. Needless to say, there have been some big changes to the block in the intervening years. I thought that I'd step outside and see if I could re-create some of the pictures to look at these changes side-by-side. Here's what I saw...
|A 1954 trolley map of Center City Philadelphia. (via Philly Trolley Tracks)|
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
I spent some time this morning reading and listening about Lautner and think I'm better for it. I especially enjoyed a half hour discussion with the curator of a 2008 exhibit on Lautner's work, along with some great photos of the Sheats-Goldstein House (above), Judith Lautner's Picasa collection with images of many projects, and the thorough website of the John Launter Foundation.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Monday, July 4, 2011
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
When last I posted, the Race Street Pier was just a day away from its opening. I've made a couple of visits to the park since then, both day and night. Each time there were reasonable crowds, never busy, but never empty. These groups were always diverse ones, ranging from Fishtown hipsters to Port Richmond kids, from elderly couples to making out teens. I even saw a guy who looked like he was on his way to Old City wheel his Ninja motorcycle out onto the pier to pose for a few pictures taken by his girlfriend.
The last night I was there, the Camden RiverSharks happened to have fireworks after their game, which made for a great view from the terraced seating facing the river. The nighttime treatment of the pier is a real success, with sensitive and varied lighting that is complemented by the lights of the Ben Franklin Bridge soaring overhead. That success extends the daily life of the park and keeps it occupied up until its 11 o'clock closing time.
A new Friends group is starting to think about ways to program the pier to keep attendance up. That's a good thing, because drawing people will probably be this park's biggest challenge. Though it's well designed and certainly a unique setting in Philadelphia, it is off the beaten path. My visits were always intentional - unlike the Schuylkill Banks park or Rittenhouse Square, this is not a park that you happen into on your way somewhere. Even those who live nearby face somewhat daunting trips to the pier, either along six-lane, high-speed Columbus Boulevard, or under a series of underpasses from Old City. Hopefully the Race Street Connector project will make the latter a little more enjoyable. And with even more hope, perhaps the Delaware riverfront will evolve enough over time that more people have opportunities to wander into this great little acre of Philadelphia on the their way to somewhere else.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
In honor of tomorrow's opening of the much-anticipated and much-raved-about Race Street Pier, I'm putting up the photo essay I made after a hard hat tour of the almost-completed project a few weeks ago. I was quite impressed with the project, and am looking forward to seeing the finished project tomorrow.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
While South Street's fortunes have ebbed and flowed over the intervening 40 years, the Zagars have been stalwart and iconic residents. Isaiah's mirrored, painted, and ebullient mosaic murals came to define the streetscape of the neighborhood, and wife Julia's Eyes Gallery has been open continuously for over thirty years. In 1994, Zagar walled in a neighboring abandoned lot with his trademark walls, and began constructing the 3,000 square foot Magic Gardens. The site quickly became a landmark in the neighborhood and city. So quickly in fact that when the owner of the lot attempted to sell it in 2002, the community contributed to establish a non-profit that bought the land and will preserve the gardens in perpetuity. Like the best outsider architecture and art, the site is a monument to one man's pursuit of a project.
There is a 2008 film titled In a Dream that chronicles the work of Zagar, and in the process reveals much about his history and strained relationship with his family. To view the movie and spend a couple of hours in Zagar's mind reveals the fine line between genius, obsession, and insanity. Like the Watts Towers or Cheval's Palace, these projects are never completed without a tinge of mania. It seems as though those who are least able to handle the stresses and trials of real life seem to be those most capable of realizing their fantasies.
And of course, we had to do a little video portrait to round out our visit. Click through to Vimeo to see it in full HD.
The Magic Gardens from Michael Burlando on Vimeo.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Meadowlands to Midtown from Michael Burlando on Vimeo.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
In honor of the 200th anniversary of the creation of the iconic grid that covers the northern three-quarters of Manhattan, the New York Times ran an interesting article recounting the history of the grid. Even more interesting was the accompanying interactive feature that layers the historical iterations of the map of new York over one another, along with a sliding timeline of street openings.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
This is one of my first timelapse efforts, done the day that I got the remote and tripod. It's a simple shot from our balcony overlooking the intersection of 19th & Bainbridge Streets in Philadelphia. It covers a period of one hour from 5-6 pm on a frigid January evening. I took a 1.3 second shot every three seconds with my Canon EOS Rebel XSi every three seconds over that hour to make this video.
The longer exposure time gave some great drag effects which really seems to help to give the video a continuous look. From pedestrians and traffic zipping along, to parking spaces being vacated and filled, along with the regular arrivals of the 17 bus, it's amazing just how much goes on at any given intersection over the course of a rush hour.
You can click through to Vimeo to watch the Video in full HD.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Monday, January 3, 2011
- Run in three road races of 5k or more. One of these must be the 10-mile, fun-looking Broad Street Run.
- Continue my Gmap-Pedometer Project through all of 2011. I've been recording all of my travels by foot or bicycle each day, using Gmap-Pedometer. I've got some ideas about how all of this data could make for some interesting projects in the coming year.
- Refinish the cedar chest coffee table. This could be a great piece of furniture if I can get it cleaned up.
- Visit Forest Hills Gardens in Queens. I've read lots about this garden city development, but never been, despite the fact it's only a couple of hours away. Let's get there this year.
- Read more than 15,000 pages. Based on the reading I've done in the last couple of years, I think that this is a reasonable challenge for 2011.
- Learn how to do time-lapse photography. I've always loved time-lapses, and I now have most of the tools I need to make it happen. I'd love to do one a month, no matter the quality, each month this year.
- Do a nice, big water color elevation of a historic building in Philadelphia. I never finished the one of the Lehigh President's House that I started during undergrad, and always regretted it. I love drafting by hand and I miss it. The Juniper seems like a great candidate for this.
- Make a great vegetable garden. Our attempts at windowsill gardening went pretty much nowhere last year, but we've got much more to work with this season, given the size of our back deck in Philly. Corollary to this one: make and use a worm bin, despite Audrey's protestations.
- Make a habit of blogging. Post at least once a week, on whatever I'm working on or just anything that's grabbed my interest during a given week.
- Do at least one big group bicycle ride. The MS150 was a lot fun the two years that I did it, and I'd love to do that, the ACS Ride, or the New York Five Boro Tour again this year.
- Make a tile and mirror mural on the back deck, a la Isiah Zagar. I've always loved this type of mural, and we have the perfect canvas, and even some of the materials to get us started.
- Finally, make a point of recording my ideas for projects or activities. Historically, I have not wanted for ideas, only for follow through. If recording ideas helps me to take even one of them from concept to reality, it'd be well worth it.