Archive for May, 2011

Mt. St. Benedict, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac, trinidad

Mount St. Benedict, Trinidad

This is a sketch of Mount St. Benedict, Trinidad north of the UWI St. Augustine Campus that I did earlier this year. The building stands out against the lush, green hillsides overlooking the central plains of Trinidad. This Benedictine Monastic community is the largest and oldest in the Caribbean. It was established in 1912 by monks fleeing Brazil’s attempt to take over their land.

The Abbey of Mount St. Benedict, established in 1912, is a functioning monastery in a spectacular location in the mountains of the Northern Range. From below one sees, 800 feet up the mountainside, an informal grouping of buildings with beige walls and red tile roofs dominated by a tall campanile. The monastery began as a place of refuge for monks escaping civil unrest in Brazil, its first building a simple mud and grass ajoupa. The community is now a sizable complex, designed and constructed by Brother Gabriel Mokveld, primarily between 1938 and 1956. It includes a farm, an apiary, a school, and a rehabilitation center.

Crain, Edward E. Historic Architecture in the Caribbean Islands. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1994.

Enjoy!!

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Stonborough House, Paul Engelmann, Ludwig Wittgenstein, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac

Stonborough House by the Austrian architect Paul Engelmann and the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

I did this sketch of the Wittgenstein House on Wednesday 1st June 2005 in Vienna, Austria; as noted in my diary from my Europe trip. My diary entry for this day says:

“I got up at 0730 hrs and John and I went for breakfast together. We ran back to be here at 0900 hrs. Laugh!! Left hotel at 1030 hrs. Cantilevered roof of elevator on Albertina. Took photos of storefronts. Ate lunch @ Nordsee. Met a nice old lady at the restaurant. Christian byzantine building w/ bricks and gold arches. It is a greek orthodox church. Wagner’s Saving Bank. First Architect to use rivets as structure. Instead of just using the stones as the façade, he used the rivetting of the stones as the decoration to the facades. He was one of the first modern architects to design an entire block. Law office by Coop Himmelblau on corner of BiberstraBe and FalkestraBe. Hundertwasserhaus – colorful with vegetation. Vienna and Salzburg share Mozart. Water falling from the columns on bar in Hunderwasser.  Then went to building by Wittgenstein (the artist and philosopher). Chase complimented me saying that l have a unique talent when he looked at my drawing. I told him thanks and it meant a lot. We then went into the house and took pictures outside where in one picture we held our chins like Chase.”

I guess a lot happened on that day huh… See below for more information on the Wittengenstein House.

Haus Wittgenstein, also known as the Stonborough House and the Wittgenstein House is a house in the modernist style designed and built on the Kundmanngasse, Vienna, by the Austrian architect Paul Engelmann and the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. In November 1925, Wittgenstein’s sister Margaret Stonborough-Wittgenstein commissioned Engelmann to design and build a large town house. Wittgenstein showed a great interest in the project and in Engelmann’s plans, and spent at least two years designing various aspects of the house, including the doors, door knobs, windows, and radiators. Describing the work, Ludwig’s eldest sister, Hermine, wrote: “Even though I admired the house very much, I always knew that I neither wanted to, nor could, live in it myself. It seemed indeed to be much more a dwelling for the gods than for a small mortal like me” – Reference Wikipedia.

Wittgenstein House, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac

My photo of the Wittgenstein House in Vienna, Austria

Years later, in Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein wrote that “the human body is the best picture of the human soul.” As an architect, he believed that a house is, in a way, a picture of the human body that is to use it. His tacit philosophy of domestic architecture has been described by architectural historian Bernhard Leitner, who has studied the Wittgenstein House for more than thirty years, as “the house in motion,” which gives an immediate sense of the affinity between Wittgenstein, at least as an architect, and a philosophy of architecture grounded in Merleau-Ponty’s thought. The house in motion is the house in use. “Use,” Leitner explains, “is action such as opening a door, interlocking window-doors, or raising metal curtains.” That explains Wittgenstein’s obsessive attention to window locks, radiators, and the like. He is said to have spent a year designing the door handles.

Source: House in Use: Arthur C. Danto on Steven Holl’s New York University Department of Philosophy – Magazine article by Arthur C. Danto; Artforum International, Vol. 46, April 2008

Sketch something today!!

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TSTT House, port of spain, trinidad, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac

TSTT House - Port of Spain, Trinidad

This is a sketch of TSTT House on the Brian Lara Promenade in Port of Spain, Trinidad. This was the third of my 3 sketch delight last week. The TSTT House facade was renovated (I can’t remember what year) by architect, Colin Laird. The exterior improvements included the installation of Aluminum Composite Panels and I believe the screen (see image in this post >>). There is a lovely sculpture by one of Trinbago’s great artists, Carlisle Chang.

About the sculpture:

Instead of gold leaf this time we used silvers of Copper. Unfortunately my technical experts did not advise me carefully and the mural began to show some deterioration within a year, but this has been very carefully remedied, although with some loss of the original handwork that was done on the surface. It, however, remains quite monumental in scope and it is a pity, in fact, that one is never able to see it clear across Independence Square. You can only see it at an angle.

From interview in March 1977 for “Environs”

Click here to read entire interview >>>

Don’t let anyone stop you today.

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St. Peters Basilica in Rome, Italy, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

St. Peters Basilica in Rome, Italy

This is a negative of my sketch of St. Peters Basilica in Rome, Italy. You can go here to read the previous post on the Basilica here >>>.

Have a great week!!!

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watermelons - humanmelons

Another thought…this time about watermelon.

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visual recipe, jamaican rice & peas, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac

Visual Recipe - Jamaican Rice & Peas

Thanks for being patient with me during my very hectic weeks gone by. I have a new Visual Recipe for you today…it is Jamaican Rice & Peas, courtesy http://chefandsteward.com. My friend sent me the link and described it as, “a husband and wife team from Jamaica, in Dubai… for your culinary exploration.” Hope you enjoy!

Link to recipe >>>

HAPPY FRIDAY!!!!

Remember to subscribe to Thinking Insomniac.

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Eric Williams Financial Complex, Port of Spain, Trinidad, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

Eric Williams Financial Complex, Port of Spain, Trinidad

This is a sketch of the Eric Williams Financial Complex a.k.a. the Twin Towers; the second sketch from my 3 sketch delight on Tuesday. The Twin Towers is a “towering” example of quality architecture, and construction in Trinidad & Tobago. As architects, citizens, and builders of the present and the future…our desire should be to demand quality, and give quality. We should do what it takes to showcase our talent, skill, and professionalism. Bad design and bad construction stands out. I have seen bad work all over the country, in fact it’s one of the biggest complaints in the industry. Projects are being done with little time and care that’s essential for a quality product. As we grow I hope we go back to the days of the 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s when designers, and contractors cared about their work and its reflection on their country and their names.

Eric Williams Plaza, also known as the Eric Williams Financial Complex, located on Independence Square, Port of Spain,  consists of a pair of skyscrapers 22 stories high and 302 ft (92 m) tall, locally known as the “Twin Towers”. Construction on the complex started in 1979 and ended in 1986. The complex was officially opened on March 29, 1986. The architect who managed the construction was Anthony C. Lewis Partnership.

The Eric Williams Plaza was named after Eric Williams, the first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago. The first tower houses the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago while the second tower houses the Ministry of Finance. The first tower’s official name is Eric Williams Financial Tower and the second tower’s official name is the Central Bank Tower. The old Central Bank building has gold and currency vaults, administrative areas, an auditorium and a concert hall.

The towers have an earthquake resistant design. The cross braces and core walls in both towers are designed to take earthquake forces with the former taking 15% of the forces and the latter taking 85%. Additionally, great care was taken in the detailing of the reinforcement. The thickness of the basement under each tower is 25′. 1900 piles were driven to an average depth of 80′ with 560 below each tower. The pile cap under each tower is a cellular raft which is a combination of 9′ x 6′ beams and an 18″ slab. All columns on the towers are tied to this as water storage for the building is also located in the basement for additional dead weight. The concrete walls are ‘brush-hammer’ finished.

Sources:

The Geological Society of Trinidad & Tobago>>>

Wikipedia>>>

Have a great day!

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trinidad treasury building, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac, port of spain, architecture

Treasury Building - Port of Spain, Trinidad

Yesterday I went down to Port of Spain to meet a friend, and while waiting I was able to sneak in 3 sketches in about 30 minutes. It felt great to get some sketching done! The sketch above is of the Treasury Building in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The front of the building stretches a city block, and quite beautifully might I add. The building is constructed of stone and its base is a shiny black stone (like granite).

The Treasury Building
Today, the site on which the Treasury Building stands hosts divisions of the Ministry of Finance, but it has borne witness to many important events in Trinidad and Tobago’s history. On August 1, 1834, thousands of slaves stormed into Port of Spain and gathered in front of the site to protest being given “apprentice” status, rather than freedom from slavery. Known as Government House – which occupied the upper floor – the building was home to the old Treasury and Rum Bond. Four years later, in 1838, at this same location, the Emancipation Proclamation, announcing the beginning of the end of slavery, was read. In 1966 the building became the first home of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. In 1985, crowds once again returned to the front of the Treasury building on August 1, but this time to commemorate Emancipation Day, as a national holiday.

Reference: The Tourism Development Company

I found this old photo (not sure from what year) on the NALIS website. The Brian Lara Promenade now fronts the Treasury Building… Look at cars!!! The Promenade (a tree-lined park) now runs the width of the city center, complimenting Port of Spain by adding a relaxed laid-back flavor to the bustling streets of the city (see photo here>>). I also found this pretty cool blog: The Caribbean History Archives.

Treasury Building, Port of Spain, Trinidad

Treasury Building - Port of Spain, Trinidad (Photo courtesy NALIS)

Another photo here >>

Have a great day!

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UWI, Main Library, vernelle noel, thinking insomniac

North Side of the Main Library at the University of the West Indies

This is a sketch of the North face of the Main Library at the University of the West Indies in St. Augustine, Trinidad. See more in the Thinking Insomniac Architecture & Urban Sketches Calendar 2011.

The Main Library and many other buildings on the Campus are of a Brutalist Architecture.

Dance if you feel like it today!

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chaguanas, trinidad, thinking insomniac, vernelle noel

View from my grandparents home

I did this sketch yesterday while spending time with my family in Chaguanas, Trinidad. It was a nice Sunday (the sun was scorching!!!!!), but an even better evening as it was cooler with the sun descending the horizon. I was busy making cashew chow, sucking a mango, laughing with my aunts, grandmother, uncle and cousin. People were relaxing outside, and guys were playing football (soccer) on the field. Even the doggies (or googies as Loldogs calls them) were frolicking. Hope you had a relaxing and happy Mother’s Day yesterday. Here’s to a great start of the week!

Smile with a stranger today…

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