Until January, I will be on a blogging hiatus. In between finishing up an essay on sustainability, family business, and side business commitments, my blogging venture has suffered a bit. I have roughly 30 something topics in the WordPress blog queue to address and will get to finally finish them in the new year. With that said, have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy the following ‘Christmastime in Baltimore’ photos.
Around the time of this blog’s creation, I learned of a wonderful website called The Glass House Conversations. This website serves as a virtual extension of the Philip Johnson Glass House, salons hosted (by invitation) by noted American architect Philip Johnson (1906-2005) and art critic David Whitney (1939-2005) at Johnson’s home, The Glass House, seen below. These gatherings focused on modern architecture, art, landscapes and the preservation of such. Built in 1949 and located on a 47-acre estate in New Canaan, CT, the Glass House was designated a national landmark in 2007, serving as an ode to modern architecture (in my opinion). Johnson resided in the house from 1958 until his death.
Starting in April 2010, Glass House has virtually hosted over 20 discussions that touch on topics such as the making of a great conversation, architectural trends, creativity, and various sub-topics that address urban design issues (traffic congestion, environmental disaster planning, etc.). Each Monday, a question is posted to the website and participants have five days to provide feedback before the conversation closes.
When I came across this website, I was, and still am, in awe of the conversations taking place. Even the website is beautiful, having an almost ethereal quality to it. Last week, I dipped my toe in the shallow end of the pool after a call for topics appeared on the site, asking to discuss integrating sustainable architecture that is affordable in older neighborhoods. Hopefully, in 2011, my question will become a conversation for the week. That would be the best. If you are into this sort of thing, please check out the website.
The Glass House also holds several types of programs throughout the year on design matters. At some point, I would like tour the Glass House, hopefully sometime next year. Crossing my fingers that I can make it happen.
About a month ago, I went on a twitter rant about the lopsided perception of my home city, Baltimore. One of my twitter followers, who is from a city that shall remain nameless *cough – only 200 miles north of Charm City, financial capital of the U.S. and arguably the world, cough* mentioned it was the television show The Wire that made her wary of visiting Baltimore.
Do not get me wrong, The Wire was a great show. It was also pretty accurate about the underbelly of this town. However, an outcome of the show has created a one-sided, not so great view about the city. I can remember a few years back sitting in Denver International Airport waiting for my flight back home when I overheard a conversation between two women. One from Baltimore, one not. The woman from not from Baltimore, based in part on watching The Wire, admitted she had her doubts about the city at first. But she did get a chance to visit and was pleasantly surprised. Being within earshot of this chat put me into a mental battle to not insert myself into their conversation but I managed to keep to myself.
Now I do know this woman only hit the tourist spots based on the neighborhoods she named (Inner Harbor, Fells Point, Canton, Federal Hill, you get the idea), but this woman was surprised that even those neighborhoods existed. Why? Because the perception is that Baltimore is all ‘shoot-em-up’ alley, rowhomes in dire neighborhoods, the and the drug game. Does this exist? Yes. Is it the whole story? No.
With that said, I plan to resume with my very amateur photography again by taking and posting photos of my town depicting the opposite of this unsavory image. The photo below shows a corner in the Mount Vernon neighborhood.
As an urban planner, the lack of street activity on a beautiful Sunday afternoon is a cause for concern. However, it’s a pretty good shot. As the title of this post implies, I took this photo from inside my car. Enjoy!
In the near future, I will provide more photos from this day and others. Just as soon as I master PhotoShop in order to black out images of car tags!
Neighborhood: Mount Vernon Location: Charles Street @ Eager Street – Headed North