Archive for February, 2011

I did this sketch on Friday while waiting for my friend. I was sitting between two old men. One with a walkman (yes a walkman), and the other was looking at my sketches. The building on the left with its public galleries that shade the sidewalk was a feature of the architecture of old in Port of Spain, Frederick Street, etc. The other night a friend of mine commented on how much she “missed the public galleries that people watched over the city from, and the overhangs that protected pedestrians below from the hot Caribbean sun and rain.” That beauty of walking under the colonnades in the shade.

No more are our city streets that accommodating and giving. “Get your own shade” they now seem to shout, with the overhangs and details disappearing. I can’t help but look at architecture, public places, and spaces, and see how they have changed as human interaction and sociability has changed. What I mean is, I believe we are more selfish than we used to be; we look out for each other as a community less than we did 10-20 years ago. I notice our architecture reflecting that as it also becomes more selfish, and less “looking out for each other and our community.” Buildings no longer protect pedestrians below from the elements; they protect themselves (look at the building on the right in the sketch). Where are the buildings that listen, and pay attention to who we are as a people in this region? Who are we in this region, this Caribbean region?

Maybe when we become clearer on who we are, and what we stand for, our buildings would reflect such. When we become lovers of our history, our people, and think of our legacy, then maybe we would be more aware of the memories we build in concrete, glass, and steel. When we become more informed, our buildings will be more informed. I don’t think I would hear anytime in the near future, “I really miss that street with the selfish buildings on it.”

Things that spark and excite my imagination>>>

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the willard hitel, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac, architecture, sketch

The Willard Hotel - Washington, DC

This is a drawing I did of The Willard Hotel, in summer of 2003. It was my first summer in DC (one of my favorite cities in the world) and I could not see enough of the city. I was in love with the architecture, its spaces, the people and places. The Willard is on Pennsylvania Avenue, one block from the White House. The 12-story structure, designed by famed hotel architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, opened in 1901.

Beaux-Arts architecture depended on sculptural decoration along conservative modern lines, employing French and Italian Baroque and Rococo formulas combined with an impressionistic finish and realism. Slightly overscaled details, bold scuptural supporting consoles, rich deep cornices, swags and sculptural enrichments in the most bravura finish the client could afford gave employment to several generations of architectural modellers and carvers of Italian and Central European backgrounds. A sense of appropriate idiom at the craftsman level supported the design teams of the first truly modern architectural offices.

Though the Beaux-Arts style embodies an approach to a regenerated spirit within the grand traditions rather than a set of motifs, principal characteristics of Beaux-Arts architecture included:

  • Flat roof
  • Rusticated (often used to give visual weight to the ground floor) and raised first story
  • Hierarchy of spaces, from “noble spaces”—grand entrances and staircases— to utilitarian ones
  • Arched windows
  • Arched and pedimented doors
  • Classical details: references to a synthesis of historicist styles and a tendency to eclecticism; fluently in a number of “manners”
  • Symmetry
  • Statuary, sculpture (bas-relief panels, figural sculptures, sculptural groups), murals, mosaics, and other artwork, all coordinated in theme to assert the identity of the building
  • Classical architectural details: balustrades, pilasters, garlands, cartouches, with a prominent display of richly detailed clasps (agrafes), brackets and supporting consoles
  • Subtle polychromy

Courtesy Wikipedia

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Visual recipe, Coconut sweet bread, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

Visual recipe - Coconut Sweet Bread

Today’s Visual Recipe is Coconut Sweet Bread, courtesy Simplytrinicooking.com and my mother. My mother and grandmother are very, very good at making sweet bread. My mom adds ginger to hers….Mmmmm…Delish!

Hope you like today’s Visual Recipe, and most of all…

SHARE!!!

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Links to Coconut Sweet Bread.

Previous Visual Recipes:

Visual Recipe – Sweet + Sour Chicken >>

Visual Recipe – Peanut Punch >>

Visual Recipe – Aloo Paratha >>

Visual Recipe – Mango Papaya Salsa >>

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This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

adalaj-stepwell column, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac, india, ahmedabad

Sketch of the entablature above a column at the Adalaj Stepwell in Ahmedabad, India

The sketch above is of the entablature of a column at the Adalaj Stepwell or Vav in Ahmedabad, India. The sculptures at the step well in Ahmedabad are very intricate! Elephants, flowers, they all adorn the vav. It is a beautiful place, and a feast for the eyes and the hands. While in India, I went to this vav, several times. It was the first place I would take friends and family when they came to visit. Down in the stepwell it is cool…very cool. The water level drops during the dry months as should be expected. I don’t think it is used anymore, at least that’s what I was told. I did a section through the vav, my perception of what a section through this marvel would look like. I will post it for you another time.
Article on the Adalaj Vav >>>

Modhera sun temple

Modhera Sun Temple, India

Rani ki Vav or Ranki Vav or the Queen's Stepwell

Patan Stepwell or Rani ki Vav or the Queen's Stepwell in Gujarat

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New Parliament Complex, Port of Spain, Trinidad, Vernelle Noel

Design Sketch for a New Parliament Complex in Port of Spain, Trinidad

The sketch above was part of my study and exploration for my thesis, which was a New Parliament Complex in Trinidad & Tobago. Here I was exploring a vocabulary and strategies in color, layering, composition, pageantry, and other elements that are intrinsic to our Carnival and Calypso culture. My final design can be seen here >>.

Photos of Trinidad & Tobago Carnival >>

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This work by Vernelle Noel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac

Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain

This is a sketch I did at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. The taking of photos were not allowed inside, so we used our hands to capture the interstitial spaces, curves, lines, and much more. Designed by Frank Gehry, the museum has lifted the city of Bilbao. The building is impressive with so much to see and experience. I appreciate its siting because it affords glimpses, surprise views, and great photographs.

There are many criticisms of the Guggenheim for its design, and its success (or lack of) as a public space.  I would say, “Go experience it yourself.” The time of day, year and even season affects your feel, like or dislike of a place, or space. I would agree the building does seem to turn its back on the river and the surrounding context. The public and the river could have been brought in more successfully making the building a better component of the urban fabric. But that’s just me. Fact is, you cannot criticize something when nothing exists. Did we know of Bilbao before the Guggenheim and Calatrava’s bridges were placed there? Not as much as we know now I bet.

Busy Architect…Busier Architect >>>

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thinking insomniac, vernelle noel, ufa cinema, dresden, germany

UFA Cinema in Dresden, Germany

Above is a sketch of the UFA Cinema in Dresden, Germany by Coop-Himmelblau. This was part of my 6 week back-packing adventure throughout Europe in 2005. I find the building to be very masculine with its composition of angles, structural glass, and concrete; light and dark; transparent and opaque. Hope to see you soon again! More on UFA Cinema from Arcspace. >>>

ENJOY!

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thinking insomniac, vernelle noel,

Abstract Sketch

Above is an abstract sketch I did; playing with composition, shapes, textures, dark, and light. I like exploring opposites and the marriage of them without each losing their identity, complimenting each other instead.

Tell people why they CAN…instead of why they CAN’T >>>

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visual recipe, thinking insomniac, vernele noel, chicken

Visual Recipe - Sweet & Sour Chicken

Today’s Visual Recipe is Sweet & Sour Chicken, courtesy Free-gourmet-recipes.com. I have many friends who absolutely LOVE sweet & sour chicken. I look forward to trying this recipe too.

Previous Visual Recipes:

Visual Recipe – Peanut Punch >>

Visual Recipe – Aloo Paratha >>

Visual Recipe – Mango Papaya Salsa >>

Visual Recipe – Bread Pudding >>

If you like this post, you’re welcome to retweet or “like”:

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university of the west indies, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

UWI Admin Building - St. Augustine, Trinidad

This is a sketch I did of the Admin. Building at the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad. There is no body of water in front of the building creating a reflection as indicated above. The reflection shown is actually the back of the page on which I drew the sketch. I scanned it, and composed them to appear as a reflection.

If you have any ideas for tomorrow’s Visual Recipe, just let me know.

Architecture Sketch – St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy

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