Tuesday, April 25, 2006

AK Spring

There have been many signs that spring is on the move here in the land of, there is no such thing as global warming. The Princess Tours buses have been out for their first run, the snow is mostly gone, the females are in tanktops (30-40 F!!), the soft tops of jeeps are rolled back when the sun is out (I repeat 30-40 F!) and..... PUDDLES!. While might imagine that they would wash some of that grime off the car and with most cars you can't read the license plate, they do offer wonderful points for reflecting the natural splendor that surround Anchorage. I can assure you, the loveliness surrounds ANC, but it is not contained there-in!

In order to contextualize my existence, I have a couple of pics of the area. 1st, the Starbucks where I fulfill the caffeine needs of many of Anchorages residents.

Next, I wanted to capture some of the amazing architecture that Anchorage houses, all-be-it limited in quantity. The Quonset hut is essentially a large drain pipe that has been cut in half and then closed up on each side. They were and are common in Anchorage, they in-fact are part of the cultural heritage of this locale. On my walk home from work I have encountered several interesting places, the most noteworthy of which picks up the metal siding motif and works with the maluability and of the material and riffs on the traditions of the Quonset. Such as the circular design. Then they disrupt those circular arches with a good use of vertical walls that asymmetrically balance each other. The real point of apex is not first apparent, but lies around the corner and gracefully arches up to the sky, both twisting and inverting the traditional arch. I really like this home and I made sure to let the home owners know it. They were happy to know that someone enjoyed their handy work. Here are a couple of shots.
I am also a fan of this house where they do a great job of accentuating the materials natural elements and position them in a fashion that creates a nice rhythm and opposition. The wood is so simply placed and vertically oriented while the slate or charcoal colored stone is assembled in a square pattern with vertical seems of the window casings running dividing the space. The windows are simple and broad and have a subtle yet distinguished muted silver. All of this deployment and selection of linear materials enhances a very geometric and vertically oriented design. And then in a bold and distinctive sweep, the entrance disrupts this largely vertically oriented space with angled horizontals and then on the door, arced inlay of a bronze metal. Very subtle and tasteful, it picks up the arching of grass and makes a wonderfully rich focal point. I dig it.

The other favorite of mine is the use of metal cutouts to portray native Alaskan designs. While I am no expert, I am pretty certain that these designs are of Tinglit origin, or atleast derived there-from.

The pictures take them out of context, but these cutouts are located on the sides of peoples houses, I find that rather unique and pleasurable. While it does not always lead to aesthetically pleasing results, people are willing to take risks and express themselves and their aesthetic positions, pretty cool. (I would vote favorably for these examples)

The final note about spring and AK life is the fact that most people own their own plane. And this is infact the aspiration of my dearest, she covets the Piper Super Cub with tundra tires. She in facts works with a doctor who spends one week on and one week off and commuted from Talkeetna to Anchorage in her Piper Super Cub, sans tundra tires. While that is all good, she did have a little accident last week. (You'll note the highlighted portion) Now you thought your commute to work was treacherous... Imagine having you several month old airplane totaled by a big gust of air and some trees! Now that is a bummer and what I think of when I think, AK Spring.


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