Sunday, July 28, 2013

Galbraith Hall: A new life for a classic modernist building

Galbraith Hall auditorium by Kevin deFreitas. Photo ©Darren Bradley
Local San Diego architect, Kevin deFreitas, was recently asked by the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) to put a new auditorium into one of the first buildings on the campus, Galbraith Hall. What he created with a meagre budget has literally transformed the space - while still managing to respect its mid-century modernist roots -and almost makes me wish I was still a student. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An Apology for Brutalism

UCSD Geisel Library
UCSD Central Library (aka Geisel Library) by William Pereira & Associates (1970). Photo ©Darren Bradley
I have been on the campus of UCSD quite a bit lately, shooting several other projects (including several of the original campus buildings by Risley & Gould). Like many universities that were built in the late 60s and early 70s, there are many examples of concrete brutalist structures. Like most people, I once hated concrete brutalism for its seeming drab, dreary exposed concrete and simple, oppressive, heavy forms. It's probably the reason most people will tell you that they dislike modernist architecture today. But I've now come to love this largely misunderstood style, and so should you. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Risley & Gould

The breezeway connecting Mayer and Bonner Halls in Revelle College, University of California at San Diego, was designed by Risley & Gould (1968). Photo ©Darren Bradley
The LA-based architecture firm of Risley & Gould designed a number of projects on the campus of the University of California at San Diego (primarily at Revelle College). Their breezeway (above and below), is my favorite structure on campus (along with the library). 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

An Architectural Disaster?

The Copenhagen Opera House opened in 2004 to much controversy, and has been widely panned by critics and the design community. Photo ©Darren Bradley
I just learned that the architect Henning Larsen died on the 22nd of June of this year, just a few weeks ago. He was 87. This gave the the opportunity to think about his work and legacy. Larsen will likely be most remembered for his opera house in Copenhagen. I'm sure he would have preferred it otherwise. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Observing Le Corbusier

A stolen moment. I caught a glimpse of this girl peering out a window of Corbusier's Villa La Roche, making a sketch of something across the alley. Photo ©Darren Bradley
It's probably impossible to talk about modernism in France without bringing up Le Corbusier... in the same way that it's pretty much impossible to avoid mentioning Frank Lloyd Wright in any discourse about modern architecture in the US. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My France

It's probably ironic to celebrate the French national holiday with a photo of a building by a Swiss architect, but there you go.
Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye (1928-31) in Poissy, France. Photo ©Darren Bradley
In honor and celebration of the France's national holiday, I thought I'd post a few of my photos from my time spent there. What Americans call Bastille Day (the French don't ever call it that) is not really celebrated in the same way in L'Hexagone. It's a time for the military to polish their weapons and parade down the streets of cities throughout the country. But otherwise, the French consider it to just be another day off from work (unless it happens to have the misfortune to fall on a weekend, such as this year). 

More Richard Meier

Approaching the front entrance. Photo ©Darren Bradley
After visiting Richard Meier's Getty Center last week, I was reminded of our own Meier building here in San Diego. Alas, it's not quite as entertaining or culturally significant as, say, a world class museum. But it is certainly a welcome addition to our downtown core. It's the new federal courthouse. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Sheldon Residence

Sheldon Residence
The Sheldon Residence living area with Malm fireplace. Photo ©Darren Bradley
I was recently asked by my friend, Keith York at Modern San Diego, to photograph a new listing of his. The Sheldon Residence in Fletcher Hills was coming on the market for the first time. I'd long admired this house so I jumped at the chance.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Is it an Orchid or an Onion?

Ocean Beach Comfort Station
2012 Orchid Winner, the Ocean Beach Comfort Station, by Kevin deFreitas. Photo ©Darren Bradley
It's coming up to that time of year again, when an esteemed jury of local architects, designers, and community leaders gathers together - along with the city as a whole - to take a look at the best and worst of new buildings, public art, and community planning in San Diego.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Krisel Residence

The Krisel Residence
Krisel Residence watercolor rendering by William Krisel, from 1955. From the Krisel Archive at the Getty Research Institute.
The positive feedback about this house has been overwhelming since I posted this rendering on my Flickr page a few weeks ago. I also had a fair number of questions about it, and people wondering whether it had ever been built. Well, the answer to that question is a definite YES, and here are the photos to prove it...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A day at the Getty

J. Paul Getty Museum
Photo ©Darren Bradley
I spent this past Saturday at the Getty. Like the De Young, which I visited a few weeks ago, the Getty is another museum that I have visited many times but have never really had the time or opportunity to photograph properly. And like my last visit to the De Young, this wasn't going to be that time, either. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Anatomy of an Architectural Photograph

Sunbelt Building by KMA Architects (2003) in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood of San Diego, CA. Photo ©Darren Bradley

I was just informed this week that the above photo won the Silver Medal for the Advertising / Architecture category in an international photo competition called the Prix de la Photographie Paris. It's a nice honor, and I am happy about it (especially since there were no gold medals awarded, so technically I could say that I received top honors! (it's all about how you spin it, right?). But that's not why I'm writing about this photo or the contest here. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Finn Juhls Hus

Finn Juhls Hus
Finn Juhl's House. Photo ©Darren Bradley
While visiting Denmark back in 2011, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit the personal residence of the architect and designer, Finn Juhl. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


Toronto City Hall
Toronto City Hall, by the architect Viljo Revell (1960 - 1965). Photo ©Darren Bradley
I recently went back to Toronto for a quick visit. My mother is from there and I spent many summers there as a kid (I know better than to visit in the winter). But I hadn't returned since the late 80s and the city has changed quite a bit. In fact, I barely recognized some neighborhoods.