Tuesday/ the Twin Towers in 1999

Here is a digital scan of the 35mm film negative, of a picture of the Twin Towers, that I had taken in 1999 from the Hudson River.  I was on a Circle Line boat tour around Manhattan island.

The World Trade Center’s twin towers, seen from the Hudson River, in March 1999. The building in the distance — between the Towers — is the Woolworth Building, an early American skyscraper, located at 233 Broadway. Designed by architect Cass Gilbert, it was the tallest building in the world from 1913 to 1930, with 55 floors and a height of 792 ft (241 m).

Sunday/ more Convention Center space

Here’s a peek over the fence at the construction site for the Washington State Convention Center expansion, on the edge of Seattle downtown.

The steel columns and rafters that will create the cavernous spaces for the $1.8 billion Washington State Convention Center addition are starting to rise. The extension will be called ‘The Summit’ and open in 2022 for business. It is expected to bring in some $200 million a year from out of state, and is said to already have bookings for events as far out as 2026.
Here is what the completed city block on Olive Way will look like. The structure will be 6 stories tall, with retail on the ground floor, a ball room, and an exhibition hall of 150,000 sq ft. The structure was designed by LMN Architects. They did the design of the University of Washington light rail station, as well as the Museum of History and Industry in South Lake Union. [Image: Courtesy of LMN Architects].

Saturday/ Perth Cultural Centre

Here are a few pictures from my walkabout in Perth’s Cultural Centre on Friday.

An eye-catching mural on the corner of Aberdeen Street and Museum Street.
I love the colorful triangles on the sidewalk. This is right by the New Museum for Western Australia, scheduled to open in November of this year.
And here is the New Museum of Western Australia (WA). Its lines remind me just a little bit of Seattle’s Public Library. It was designed by a collaboration of Australian architecture firm Hassell and Dutch architectural firm OMA. Here are pictures, of the inside. 
This gorgeous building at 27 Museum Street is the only surviving residential building in the area. It was built in 1897, and is a pair of two-story semi-detached houses in the Federation Queen Anne style. The building now serves as offices for a Perth college.

Sunday/ a twilight cruise

On Sunday, we went on a twilight cruise on the upper Swan River ⁠— just a slow round trip at 5 knots, on the wide swath of river by downtown Perth.
Here’s where we went, and a few of the sights along the way.

We boarded the cruise boat at Barrack St Jetty, went by Heirisson Island, and up to The Royal at the Waterfront (upmarket condos on the water). We came back the same way, but the captain steered us by Mends St Jetty, and then on the Elizabeth Quay for a look at the city skyline, before finishing up at the Barrack St Jetty.
This is Barrack Square, close to the starting point at Barrack Street jetty. The Bell Tower (built in 1999) is now crowded a little bit by its new neighbors: two luxury condominium towers on the right, and a Ritz-Carlton Hotel on the left.
Across from the Bell Tower, a Double Tree Hotel is going up, with pressed metal plates creating a pattern on the outside.
These flood lights are standing like sentries at the stadium of the Western Australia Cricket Association. The burn rate is AUS$ 2,000 (US$ 1,400) per hour, when the lights are on.
Here’s a new suspension pedestrian bridge coming up, the Matagarup Bridge, spanning the Swan River. It opened Jul. 2018 at a cost of US$ 90 million. Its form symbolizes a white swan and a black swan.
Passing under the Matagarup Bridge. It looks like the bridge designers borrowed elements from the design of roller coaster frames.
The high points of the bridge frame stand at 72 m (236 ft).
Our cruise boat had mostly covered seats inside, with a small outside seating & standing area in the bow. The low profile of our vessel allowed it to go underneath all of the bridges on our tour. Here we were approaching the little Trafalgar pedestrian bridge by The Royal At The Waterfront condominiums. Prices range from AUS $1- $5m; that’s US$700k- $US3.5m.
This collared lizard artwork is at the Mends St Jetty. The Perth Zoo is nearby.
The national flag in David Carr Memorial Park (with its Union Jack and Southern Cross star constellation, of course). Australia Day is coming up: Jan. 26 every year. It marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip.
Here is a little bit of the city skyline by Elizabeth Quay. The towers are the headquarters of mining giants BHP Billion (on the left) and Rio Tinto (middle).
Here is another pedestrian bridge that mimics a swan, the Elizabeth Quay pedestrian bridge. It is approached by a Transperth ferry, that will cross over to the other side of the Swan River.

Monday/ the National Stadium and more

I went out to look at the new National Stadium today.
It has been shown to the media, and was officially opened on Sunday by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The general public still have to peek over the solid fencing around it to look at the outside shell of the stadium, though.

This is the entrance/ exit at the Kokuritsu-kyogijo station on the Toei Ōedo Line,  one of two subway stops near the National Stadium. This is the first of 6 sets of stairs & escalators that get one to the platform deep, deep below ground.
Here it is! The new National Stadium, replacing the old one that had been on this site for the 1964 Games. The photo is a panning shot I made with my phone held over the top of the silly fence around the stadium. The original design as well as its budget for the construction, were toned down a few times. Even so, the final tab still came to US$1.4 billion (¥157 billion). It is an all-purpose stadium that will be used after the Games, though. Cedar wood gathered from all of Japan’s 47 prefectures were used for the eaves that cover the three-tier stands as well as the pent roofs that surround the stadium.
What is this new impressive structure right across the street from the Stadium, I wondered? It’s actually a hotel, the Mitsui Garden Hotel chain’s Jingu-Gaien Tokyo Premier hotel.
I had to make a stop at the Harajuku station, and take a picture of the old wood-frame station building. Its days are numbered: it will be demolished a few months into the new year. There is a new glass-and-steel station replacement building under construction right next to it.
This bird handler and her owl (pet owl?) was right there on the sidewalk at Harajuku station. This one might be a barred owl. Japan does have native owls (fukuro in Japanese). Owls have night vision that’s estimated to be 35 to 100 times better than humans’. Their eyes are enormous, with very wide corneas that allow the maximum amount of light through to the retinas.
The circular and green coded Yamanote line runs to Harajuku station, and here is the sleek train arriving there, to take me back to Tokyo station.
Now to Ginza, to check on the Christmas decorations and the glamorous store fronts there. Department store Mitsukoshi puts up a billboard on the street corner every year. The advertising agency may have overplayed their hand a little, and put way too much into this year’s theme, though: ‘Nostalgic Merry & Delightful Future Christmas’. Whoah. That is a LOT to contemplate. P.S. Santa ditched his sleigh for a rocket ship!
Aw. I love romantic store window scenes such as this one from French luxury jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels. The guy has a rose behind his back (and a Van Cleef & Arpels engagement ring in his pocket?).
It’s Tiffany & love this time of year, says the window at jeweler Tiffany & Co. The recent $16.2 billion sale of America’s most iconic jewelry brand to European conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton will end nearly 200 years of independence for Tiffany’s.
The lights and sparkle coming on as night falls on Ginza district. The building with the white facade openings with their green lights coming on is the Ginza Place building, completed in 2016. The facade is made with some 5,000 aluminum panels.

Monday/ there goes the Space Needle

Here is another entry for the category ‘Then and Now’.
Jul. 2005 : The unobstructed view of the Space Needle from the top of Denny Way, where it crosses over I-5.

Dec. 2019 : The giant 41-story apartment towers at 1120 Denny Way are now squeezing out the Space Needle views that had remained.  If one stands in just the right spot, the Needle’s top can still be seen — between the tree branches and the apartment towers.
I marked up just a few of the new South Lake Union buildings that had filled in the cityscape since 2005.

 

Sunday/ all my little LEGO houses

Let me see how many little LEGO houses I can build, I thought, using a 4×8 base plate. Here is the result — each brings its own little charm.

P.S. The little windmill is exactly the same as a set sold by LEGO in 2018. the  Classic 60th Anniversary Limited Edition Windmill.

Friday/ around Denny Substation, at dusk

Here are a few pictures I took around Denny Substation at dusk on Thursday.
The surrounding scenery along Denny Way is changing rapidly, as three really big construction projects are gaining steam.

The pyramid-shaped shell around the Denny Substation shows ‘City’ and ‘Light’ on the northwest corner at night. (The city’s electric power utility is Seattle City Light). Up in the sky is an Alaska Air Bombardier Q400, and a half-moon⁠ — to its right the recently completed Nexus condominium tower. (The Kinect residential apartment tower on the far right was completed in 2017).
A closer look at the Nexus condominium tower (left) and the Kinect residential apartment tower (right), from the top of the walkway alongside Denny Substation.
From the same spot, looking west, along Denny Way. Two Westbank cranes (Vancouver construction company) are working on what will become a pair of 44-story apartment towers with wavy outsides, on top of a three-story podium (1200 Stewart St). That green & blue crane is used for the Denny Center at Denny Way & Fairview Ave North, a 41-story apartment building. Oh! And here comes the No 8 bus, which now has its own dedicated bus lane. It used to have a devil of a time to make it through rush-hour traffic along Denny Way.

Monday/ we will see if WeWork works out

The transformation of the Kelly-Springfield building on 11th Ave in Capitol Hill into a modern office block is complete. Will WeWork move in, though — as advertised on the windows and doors?

WeWork is an international shared workspace & real estate company, and it is turmoil. It recently canceled its IPO, and is laying off thousands of employees (20% of its workforce). Bankruptcy loomed in October, and the start-up was rescued by a huge bail-out/ investment from Japanese company Softbank.

THEN: The warehouse-style building was constructed in 1917 for the Kelly-Springfield Truck Company. This 1937 picture shows its then-tenant Dewey’s Auto Service. Outdoor goods company Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI) was a tenant from 1963-1996, and lastly it housed the thrift store Value Village.
NOW: The updated Kelly-Springfield building with its facade newly renovated, and with a 5-story office building added. WeWork has leased all of the space, and last everyone heard, they will move in come January.

Friday/ the door is: red

The exterior paintwork for the house on my street block, is done.
Now I can stop wondering what the colors would be!

It turned out that the upper floor would get the same gray as down below, making the white trim color to really pop. The front door is a dramatic red. It’s darker than scarlet – it could be a shade of vermilion.

Friday/ the Qualtrics Tower

I went downtown today to check on the new $392 million Qualtrics Tower (formerly known as 2+U and 2&U) on 2nd Ave. that is now nearing completion.

The 527-ft/ 161 m tall, 38-story tower has as its largest tenant Qualtrics. Qualtrics offers a software platform with which companies can measure and improve the way their customers experience their services and products.

For example, an airline would want to improve the way its passengers experience the booking of their air fares, how they board their flights, as well as how they experience being on board and arriving at their destination. That way they will come back and fly on the airline again, especially when they have a choice between airlines!

The view from 1st Ave and Seneca St. It’s really two towers: a base with 18 floors, with a 20-floor tower stacked on top of it.  (The downtown zoning height allowance changes in the middle of the street block!). The enormous V-shaped columns provide 85 ft (26 m) of open space from the ground. They were manufactured across the border in Canada, and are steel tubes in a rebar cage, all encased in precast concrete.
A closer look at the columns shows all the open space below the building, and also the public passageways. The passageways are a replacement for the alley that existed between the old buildings that had been demolished for the new one.
Hey! The early 1900’s Diller Hotel building survived the construction around it (as planned). One of downtown’s few remaining buildings from the 1890s, it was built after the Great Fire of 1889 as a luxury hotel. Today, the lobby of the erstwhile hotel is a bar with vintage decor, called the Diller Room.
This is up at 2nd Ave, where the pillars are some 20ft shorter, due to the steep grade up from 1st Avenue. The public will have access to what is called an ‘urban village’ of shops and outdoor spaces, below and around the new building.
Plenty of wood inlays to be seen here. The slanted roof on the right goes all the way to the back, and provides a little architectural flair.

Monday/ fixing it up

Here’s a cute house on my block that is getting a little bit of a makeover. So many beautiful old houses get torn down, so it’s nice to see this one getting fixed up.

The house was built in 1906. I love the bay window. It has already gotten new roof tiles and new gutters, and a nice coat of dark gray and white highlight paint down below. I wonder if the gray paint color was picked to so closely match the roof tiles. It will be interesting to see what color is chosen for the door, for the porch stairs and for the second floor. I will post another picture when those are done.

Friday/ light rail to U-district

I took the light rail up north to University District today, to go check in at the second-hand bookstore there. I have so many books that I have yet to read, though, that I allowed myself to buy only one book!

Shades of teal on one of the three new apartment buildings by the Capitol Hill train station. The first renters should be able to move in early in the new year.
Here’s the corner of University Way and NE 43rd Street. An entrance to the future University District light rail station can be seen, in the distance, in the middle of the picture. I will have to be patient: the station is only scheduled for opening in Sept. 2021.
The Varsity movie theater in the Meister building on University Way. The building was constructed in 1921, and designed by architect William White.
Here is the brand-new building for the storied Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. The Burke Museum was founded in 1885 by the Young Naturalists, a group of curious teenagers inspired by seeing the young city of Seattle transform before their eyes. This building opened just last month, and I need to go and check it out.

Monday/ The Silvian, then and now

I walk by The Silvian apartment building on 10th Ave & Harrison every now and then. I love the lettering and the trim on the bricks at the top. Let’s see if there is an earlier photo of the building online, I thought.

It turned out that the original form of the building was much grander, right after its completion in 1912.

NOW: Here is the simple but elegant building name and trim at the top brick line, today.
THEN: The Silvian Apartments, circa 1911. (Photo Courtesy: Bill Burden). The bay windows on the front, and the overhangs at the top are no longer there. And look at the beautiful trim at the top of the brickwork. The original building had 2,3,4 & 5-room apartments, at $40/ month for a 2-room in 1929. Then the Great Depression struck, and a decade later a 2-room aptmt could be had for $22/ month. Here’s more at Seattle Now & Then by Paul Dorpat.

Wednesday/ the Pike Motorworks Building

Wow .. the new Pike Motorworks Building looks quite nice, I thought as I walked by on Tuesday.

The black lettering used to say ‘BMW SEATTLE’, and it was a single-level BMW dealership and garage until 2013 or so, when BMW moved out. The property was then developed into one of the largest apartment buildings on Capitol Hill, with an acclaimed microbrewery called Redhook Brewlab in the old BMW garage space. The Pike Motorworks Building is now owned by Boston-based TA Realty.
Artwork on the apartment. Hmm. Let’s see. Yes, smelling a rose (top right), would send (intoxicatingly pleasant) electrical signals to the brain, as would biting into an apple (bottom right). And the brain and heart (middle right) are both part of the central nervous system. Does the brain send electrical impulses to the heart to make it beat? No. Hearts get their impulses from the sinus node, a small mass of specialized tissue located in the right upper chamber (atrium) of the heart.

Saturday/ the Elliott Bay trail

Here are some pictures I took while walking along the Elliott Bay trail. Three of us went to go check out the new beach park by the new Expedia headquarters at its north end.

It’s about a half hour walk from Olympic Sculpture Park up to the new Beach at Expedia Group on the Elliot Bay urban trail.
This railway line runs under Olympic Sculpture Park. The maintenance trucks have been fitted with rail wheels to make them run on the track. The yellow and black sign (bottom left) has numbers on that indicate speed limits: F-Freight 25 mph, P-Passenger 30 mph, T-Transit 30 mph.
Here is part of a 32′ (10 m) tall totem pole next to the trail. It was carved by Tlingit Indians (‘Thu-lin-git’ with a hard g) in 1975 for Alaska Indian Arts in Haines, Alaska.
Here is the Pier 86 Grain Terminal, in operation since 1970. I looked up this bulk vessel’s name Nasaka on https://www.vesselfinder.com. It was built in 2014 and is sailing under the flag of Malta. Its recent ports of call were Rizhao, China and Shanghai, China – so it will probably head out there again. Check out those yellow ‘dinner plates’ mounted on the mooring ropes by the stern of the ship. They stop rats from running onto the ship (to chomp on that yummy grain). And that orange emergency vessel, yikes! Bet it would be a hair-raising, stomach-churning ride, strapped in & sliding down, to go bob on the ocean chop!
Here’s the newly landscaped Beach Park at Expedia Group, at the north end of the Elliott Bay trail. Nicely done: a set of contoured cement steps with a little bit of lawn in, and with crushed gravel, greenery and logs down below. (There is no sand on this part of the Sound’s water edge).
Another shot, this one looking more or less south. Just to the right of the cargo ships in the distance, are the red container cranes of Terminal 5 of the Port of Seattle. The embankment on the right in the distance is West Seattle. 
There were even some bluebonnets (genus Lupinus) in bloom. The bluebonnet is the state flower of Texas. 
Train coming! A Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railway train, as we were standing on the Thomas St pedestrian overpass. BNSF operates one of the largest freight railroad networks in North America.

Sunday/ Alaskan Way viaduct: almost gone

I went down to the railing at the top of Pike Place Market today, to go check on the Alaskan Way viaduct demolition. Only some support beams for the now-demolished double-decker viaduct, are still there.

A few blocks away more of the new Amazon buildings are nearing completion, gleaming glass and steel on the outside.

Here’s the view looking south: no sign of the viaduct! Yay! (P.S. A pity that railway tunnel and line is still there, though. Just as I was leaving, a noisy coal train came chugging through, probably headed up north to the coal export terminal in British Columbia. We don’t like coal trains in Seattle. As the freight cars cross the roadways, motorists are backed up for blocks. And in a Nov. 2016 trial against rail company BNSF, scientists testified that a million or more coal particles per second come off of each rail car, dumping mercury, arsenic, and hundreds of other pollutants into rivers, lakes and oceans along BNSF rail lines. And then of course, somewhere all the coal will get burned, become CO and contribute to the climate change crisis).
Here are some of the remaining support beams that will be demolished, looking north from the same spot.
Here is what the corner of Blanchard St & 7th Ave looks like now. The two shiny buildings are Amazon Block 21. The oval one is McKenzie luxury apartments (1 bed, 1 bath: $3,000 pm). To the left rises Amazon Block 18, a 17-story office building. Quite a transformation .. not that many years ago, I would bring my Toyota Camry to the Toyota service station that used to be right here, in Block 21.
New bike lane, watch for bicycles as you cross, pedestrians! I wonder if the bicycle picture will eventually have to be updated to include say, electric scooters.
This is the nearby Amazon Block 20 tower that has been completed for a few months now. Amazon employees must have started to move into it.

Tuesday/ the ‘Most Beautiful House’ in Germany

A new brick house in Münster, Germany, won the 2019 architectural award from 200 submissions, for the ‘Most Beautiful House’ in Germany.

I saw the report in a newspaper while I was in Germany, and looked up these pictures from the website of Die Welt newspaper.

The brick house with the asymmetrical, stepped facade and copper garage door in the Buddenturm neighborhood in Münster, Germany. [Source: Die Welt newspaper/ hehnpohl architektur bda]
Lots of exposed concrete and wood on the inside. [Source: Die Welt newspaper/ hehnpohl architektur bda]
Is it old? Is it new? Is it quite finished, with that concrete ceiling and all? I love those black lamp shades and hey, if had I lived there I am very sure I would get used to it!  Those floor-to-ceiling doors/ windows are great, too. [Source: Die Welt newspaper/ hehnpohl architektur bda]

Tuesday/ central Oslo & Aker Brygge

I spent the day running down the interesting architecture sights around central station, and the Aker Brygge (Aker docks), a little further along the waterfront.
I also checked into some stores and some bookstores.
I have so far come up empty handed, as far as finding Tintin books in Norwegian, to add to my collection.

Brunost cheese on display at breakfast here in the hotel. It’s a cheese made with whey, milk, and/or cream .. and it is very tasty.
Here’s the type of tram that gets one around central Oslo. Lots of buses available as well.
A selfie with the help of a food truck’s polished surface . I’m on my way the Astrup Fearnley Museum, the structure in the distance.
Find the mechanical reindeer in the picture! Polished marble and glass in the modern office and apartments around Aker Brygge.
Here’s the Astrup Fearnley Museet, a museum of  modern art. It’s been here awhile (since 1993), and was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano.
Melkesjokolade .. hmm, yes, a very large slab of milk chocolate, and spelled almost identically to the way it is in Afrikaans: melksjokolade.
And a stuffed reindeer.
The Stortingsbygningen (Storting building) in central Oslo. It is the seat of the Storting, the parliament of Norway. It was designed by the Swedish architect Emil Victor Langlet and taken into use in 1866.
Here’s the regional train called the T-bane (so no U-bahn in Oslo!), coming into Carl Berners Plass station (Carl Berner plaza station).
I’m standing on the Akrobaten pedestrian bridge close to Central Station, and watching the trains come in. That’s the Nordenga road bridge in the distance. It opened in 2011.
To my left is the Akrobaten pedestrian bridge that I am standing on. The buildings on the other side of the tracks are called the Barcode buildings: twelve narrow high-rise buildings of different heights and widths.
Just a closer view of the glass, brick and steel of another one of the Barcode buildings.
Here is the new building for the (Edvard) Munch Museum, scheduled to open in spring 2020. The Munch museum collection, that includes the famous ‘The Scream’, is currently located in Toyen. (Is the building craning its neck to take a closer look at the water?).
The Oslo Opera House, at the head of the Oslofjord (but just a stone’s throw from Central Station, actually). It opened in 2008, and is the home of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, and the national opera theatre in Norway.