Creative Challenge: Photograph a space, invent a story

For our 13th creative challenge, we set forth into the very heart of danger looking for a mysterious space. The challenge is to photograph said space, create a story of what it is, or why it is the way it is, and of course, share it with us. Here’s mine.

Along the beautiful eastern coast of Vancouver Island, near Cherry Point, stands a bizarre looking structure, on the edge of a sandy and well forested shore line. As my friend and I scuttled passed in his 15.5 foot motor boat, the space called out to be explored, so we went ashore and snapped these photos.


I believe it’s an old, derelict lumber camp. The pulley system in the odd structure would have been used to pull logs down to hungry barges, and the ungraceful breakwater might have been setup to protect waiting logs from being carried out to sea by the tide and waves.

WordCamp Victoria and An Architectural Muse

I spent today at WordCamp Victoria. It was a good conference and I was pleasantly surprised by the broad diversity of attendees at the conference. The sessions were by and large very good. Of the sessions I attended, and I skipped both keynotes, my favourites were by the folks behind these blogs:

I also found something else that caught my interest. Check out these photos depicting another gorgeous day in Victoria BC, and an edifice of a beautiful world as well as human ingenuity. Yes I realize this is a drain for dealing with rain run off but it’s also architectural poetry. Happy Saturday.

Photo: Sunset Johnson St. Bridge

I know, I know… I’ve talked a bit ad nauseum about camera phone art… if it’s not can camera phone pictures be art? it’s a creative challenge to take your own poetic snap shot

And now at a time when I should be blogging about Feist’s or Sarah Slean’s new album, or my Turner Block repurposing proposal, or my fellow FA 350 classmate’s proposal to help the homeless… I’m once more drawn to camera phone art… But isn’t it beautiful?

The Mayor of our sleepy little town, in my opinion, is on some crazed legacy binge and is tearing it down to build a new one… It’s a historic bridge, by Strauss and Company, of the Golden Gate Bridge fame… one of the last Bridges of it’s type on the face of the planet… and it’s on the path to demolition. So we can’t have heritage designation for a working bridge, but we can have it for derelict, rotting, buildings that create dead spaces in our communities? Failed public policy at work.

Well at least the photo is beautiful and poetic even if the future of this icon is sad and wanton.

The Artful Wall

The Artful Wall is our, Elaine Wu and my, response to the second assignment for FA350. The assignment was to go out into the UVic campus and find a location to build a wall. Design the wall and create a presentation to pitch your idea to the UVic board of directors. Attached is a movie of the presentation Elaine and I created for class… I have voiced over the presentation with a close facsimile of what Elaine and I delivered to the rest of the FA350 class.

Book Review: Bing Thom Works

Let’s open with this axiom, art and more specifically architecture is culturally specific. The art and by extension the architecture that resonates most strongly with you is likely created by someone with a similar perspective or cultural background to you. This opening is a pre-emptive defence for my next statement, which is Arthur Erickson (deceased) is my favourite Architect. Why? His pioneering of indoor – outdoor, green roofs, commitment to multi-use, and commitment to his art for the purpose of social change… I know very northwest coast, which is at least in part why I look at his body of work and sigh a heartfelt sigh of creative ecstasy… it is a poetic response to the living conditions that have emerged in our corner of the shared, little, pale blue dot.

But this post isn’t about Erickson, it’s about Bing Thom and more specifically Bing Thom Works a gorgeous new coffee table book published by Douglas & McIntyre regarding the work of Bing Thom Architects.

Of course there is a relationship between Bing Thom and Arthur Erickson. Thom worked for Erickson for many years and might be referred to as Erickson’s protege, which is in no way intended to insinuate he doesn’t or didn’t have considerable talents unto himself before or after working for my favourite Architect.

The book is beautiful, itself being a piece of art. The plates featuring the architecture of Thom and his associate Architects are breathtaking. The cover is curiously a soft cover, hard cover hybrid with only a sliver of a photo taking up a quarter of the front and back and the spine… perhaps symbolizing that the book is only a glimpse into the works of his firm and that for any architecture to be truly understood, it must be experienced.

In addition to the beautiful photos the book also includes engrossing site plans, elevations and floor plans.The weakest point of the book is the actual text; however, there are still gems to be found here. The essay on being a “Master Builder”, the motifs on the client relationship and inspiring pieces on using architecture to literally improve the living and social conditions of neighbourhoods all jump out and resonate with this reader, despite not being written with the same flourish as, say, Seven Stones by Edith Iglauer.

All together, Bing Thom Works is a beautiful coffee table book, ready to inspire anyone with an interest in the built environment. It will both help a reader to better understand the limitless capacity of human creativity to shape the human consciousness, spirit, and sense of community as well as engender an appetite to learn more on this critical subject.

Architecture I Have Known

This is a collection of Architecture photos I have taken over many years.

I have always loved Architecture. There is something influential about the built environment beyond the obvious… its complete affect on the human condition is ethereal and mysterious.

Through my exploration I am developing a more complete appreciation of the other arts… Photography, drawing, writing, poetry, theatre… a human’s existence is so rich with fulfilling and enriching distractions.

UVic FA101 A Creative Journey

I have recently returned to school, at the University of Victoria, as a continuing education student enrolled in the Fine Arts Diploma Program (FADP).

The impetus for this was two fold… First, after a 3 – 4 year professional development stint, where I attained my Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), my PRINCE2 Practitioner and my Project Management Professional (PMP) designations, I was ready to study something other than Project Management. Secondly, my honeymoon in New York City left me once more passionate about my high school career aspiration which was to be an Architect. So the FADP seemed like a good place to start, 10 credit courses to graduate and possibly get me prepared to create an Architecture portfolio for entry into a Masters of Architecture program (Uvic has no such program)… all this without having to give up my day job and much needed income… FANTASTIC!

The one and and only required course for the FADP is FA101 “The Creative Being”; billed as an investigation of the creative process, the course had me more intrigued than your standard FA100 history, movements, recognize this slide type course. Initially I had concerns that the course wasn’t rigorous enough in it’s academic approach, I after all was a B.Comm. and as far as I could tell there was no testing to determine if we’d even read the course material… however I was slowly won over to the epistemological journey that was clearly, in hindsight, a wonderful journey in the way of learning by doing.

What follows is a collection of bi-weekly “creative acts”, the other weeks the exercises were more in the creative reflection side of things.

My first creative act: I took my collection of architectural photos and created a slide show set to music… “Architecture I Have Known”… Aperture and iMovie were the tools of choice.

Next up and sort of on the embarrassing side of things, we were instructed to go forth into the city and perform public art live… in front of an audience! Oh dear! Here’s my improvisational mime incorporating civic art.

Third, the dreaded group project! All in all it worked out pretty well, a little Madonna, a little super-hero spandex… what could possibly go wrong?

And last but not least, my final creative act of the semester, “An Examination of Time”, a mind twister mashup on multiple dimensions!

FA101 was a great introduction to the Fine Arts faculty, and its learn by doing approach was fantastically refreshing for a 1st year arts course… I look forward to my next course this summer FA350 “An Introduction to Architecture: Theory and Practice” as this will be the first architecturally specific course I’ve ever taken… after over 12 years of thinking about it!