Thursday, June 28, 2012

courtyard crush

Hiding in the folds of Umbria are clutches of stone farmhouses that are caught in a web of sweeping views.   This one in particular is the bomb. 
The center courtyard fountain's nod to the Alhambra, the iconic cypress that perforate the landscape, the pergola that forms the first tread to the stepped secondary structure and the path that leads to the Smithson -inspired stone ringed olive tree .....stunning.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bridging a Gap

Melbourne has a pedestrian bridge that snakes across the Yarra River like an intestinal thread.  Designer, Robert Owen engineered this circuitous footprint to introduce the occupier of the space to various viewpoints on the City's skyline.  Amalgamating elevational nuances with hairpin curves make this installation enjoyably unique.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Dedon has the most intriguing line of outdoor furniture.  The tear drop silhouette and choice of material make this piece delightfully organic.
I'd love to string this little hive-like perch in a grassed courtyard (or over a carpet of vanilla-flecked Peacock Pavers with substantial 6"grass joints).   I'd hem the site with silvered walls of teak scrims...planted with oversized pendulous gourds.  Funky.

Monday, June 25, 2012

distilled design

If SOHO dialed up Toronto, The Distillery District would holler back. Once a Victorian industrial landscape to one of the world's grandest distilleries, it has since been retrofitted with galleries, shops and beer/sake breweries. A promenade of public open space fabulousness, it rules the roost of urban revitalization.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cultural Attache

Coachella is a music festival in Cali that licks a landscape experience equal to the task of it's lineups. With Jim Jones punched faces, the throngs muddle like mint through the open space gallery of landscape installations.  The collision of art and music is a cultural mitzvah.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Bends

Two provocative high rises are expanding the neutrally buoyant facade of the urban landscape.   Studio Gang Architects recently finished the Aqua Tower (above) within the heart of Chicago and Frank Gehry's residential roost reigns over New York City (below).  While each has unique nuances, both remind me of the ebb and flow of the glacial moraines that carved the topography of the Northeast.  Add their fluid nod to the nearby waterways... and I fold over their fantasticness.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Freize in Florida

Personally, I loathe Greek Revival Architecture.  Colonnades, Doric/Ionic orders and marble statuary have no business beyond the Acropolis.  However, if I squint to flush out the suggestion of toga parties, feta and caryatids .... John Volk's architectural approach intrigues me.  His designs are proportioned and of interest, the Richard Meier color palette is functional for his Palm Beach clientele and his hand brings with it, a wonderful depth to the landscape. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Royal Ontario Museum

I'm blown away by the lypsyl veneer that Daniel Libeskind applied to the addition of the ROM.  Traditionally, glass is an affectionate medium used in many expansion projects because it reflects the existing structure with a muted, reverent tread.  In this case, mooching stature from the adjacent building, the glass planes of the expansion pose as an iconoclastic resuscitation to the existing urban fabric. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

nautical notable

Port Adriano is the latest project helmed by architectural talent, Philippe Starck.  His marina design harbors a spatial experience that balances the pedestrian flow between interior and exterior space masterfully.  He achieved this through small design gestures... the shaded outdoor lamp posts on the fringe of the spinal awning, they continue the interior pattern language and subconsciously undertow the occupier of the space between the two environments. The width and color of the sidewalk, the covered but outdoor eating area....Fantastic.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Considered the Camp David of the West, Sunnylands was once a prestigious destination for gubernatorial grand fromages.  This year, the garden became open for public pleasure.  Located in Rancho Mirage, the exterior environment appropriately shouts a quintessential Slim Aarons vibe.

The pink ceramic facade is fun however, the trees buffering the house from the water are fantastic. Their placement around the structure reminds me of a jaw. Each one of them is a tooth in a perfect expression.

Where man versus nature collide, man concedes and permits the trees to pierce through the roofline. It gives the effect that they are stakes, holding the structure in place. 

A floss of open spaces are created in the interstitial areas between the canopies to allow for social participation with the landscape to play out.  Love it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Backyard to Table

With the locavore movement in full swing, a staggering amount of clients have asked me about introducing chickens to their backyard brood. Old Barn Hollow in Upstate New York is catering to this new trend with a panoply of birds for sale.
My kids have been barking at me to get a Beagle. However, a lavender ameraucana chicken that lays colorful eggs could beckon a serious egg white omelet while bringing an authenticated spin to Easter.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Architectural Haberdashery

Rem Koolhaas has design endurance that has fueled a laundry list of architectural accomplishments.
Recently commissioned to design a financial tower in London, he dressed the facade to resemble a gentleman's suit.  With a subtle, grey window pane veneer.... it tailors a fantastic "money never sleeps" impression. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sackler Crossing

The sinuous curve of John Pawson's bridge within Kew's Royal Botanic Gardens is a graceful delight.  While a treat to look at, I'm intrigued by the way it controls the eye of the occupier of the space; it forces wider vantage points to be enjoyed. The guardrails are constructed of louvred panels to lighten the weight of the structure to insinuate that it is floating on water.  Complete beautility.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Let there be light

The lighting installation that Thomas Heatherwick designed for Konstam restaurant at the Prince Albert is a twist between Miss Havisham's parlor and a cave sketch from Scooby-Doo.  Hung from 57 windows are fine metal chains that create a lighting web over each table.  In total, 110 kilometers of stainless steel chain were used to rather effectively screen the exterior road from vantage points within. The intimacy this creates for the occupier of the space is fabulous.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Extra Virgin

In a twist of a hearty chuckle, "Mr. and Mrs. MacAulay" (my brother and myself) attended an Olive Oil Tasting Class at Mario Batali's emporium extraordinaire.  Unless you've been caught under something heavy, I would expect that Eataly is not foreign to your gastronomic lexicon.

To my delight, the spotlight began with the olive tree itself lead by Nick, our oil guru.  It was fascinating. (Although, Mr. MacAulay may have been more consumed by the head chef.  He was our culinary DJ, spinning an amuse bouche playlist of all things "oily").

For the remaining class time, we swirled oil in our palms, noisily slurped it through our teeth (think trips to your dentist) and picked up insider tips of what is considered to be the best oil on the market.  Here's my take away... in all Batali restaurants, they only use the following:
Frantoi Cutrera: Primo D.O.P. Monti Iblei- from the region of Chiaramonte, Sicily
(25.4 oz bottle- $34.80 at Eataly).
Enjoy the tidbit but highly recommend the experience.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Frank Gehry designed this multi clad structure in Dusseldorf.  The true success of the site is the intimate outdoor life which unfolds along the hem of the surrounding large scale architecture.  Gehry's oversized windows and the sidewalk that zips right up to the facade of the structure work in tandem to make the occupier of the space feel better scaled in the environment.  Love it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Charles Long

Charles Long is the latest talent to be featured in Madison Avenue Square Park.  Known for spinning mundane landscape fixtures into bee stung technicolor sculptures, his work makes a walk in the park intriguing.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Paris Plantings

I have always been fond of the formal and rhythmic allee beyond Museum of Decorative Arts.  The design of the thoughtful tree canopy continues the pattern language of the structure's window detail and becomes a soft transition to ground level.  The scale and proportion of the trees and the dialogue that is ignited between landscape and architecture is brilliant.