St. Demetrios is part of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco, within the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North and South America. The Greek Community Association established this parish in the Cascade neighborhood in the early 20th century and named it after an icon of Saint Demetrios of Thessaloniki. Several decades later, under the stewardship of Father Neketas Palassis, the parish developed plans for a new complex, which culminated in the construction of the current church in the Montlake neighborhood. It was dedicated on March 31, 1963.
This thin-shell concrete structure was designed by Paul Thiry, a pioneer of modernism in the Pacific Northwest who was a supervising architect for the 1962 Century 21 Exposition in Seattle. At the time of St. Demetrios’ completion, the magazine Architecture West praised how Thiry “adapt(ed) materials and techniques of the 20th Century to a church that follows early Greek Orthodox architectural forms, with interior spaces dictated by centuries old liturgical forms.”
With opening day for the 2018 MLB season approaching, I thought it might be appropriate to post these sketches of Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners. The stadium, designed by NBBJ and 360 Architecture along with the structural engineering firm of Magnusson Klemencic Associates, features a retractable roof that serves as an umbrella during inclement weather.
Although King County voters had initially turned down a proposal to fund a new baseball stadium to replace the aging Kingdome, the Mariners’ first appearance in the MLB postseason in 1995 and their victory in the American League Division Series reignited a public drive to keep the team in town. As a result, the Washington State Legislature approved an alternate means of funding comprising a mix of food and beverage taxes in King County restaurants and bars, car rental surcharges, a ballpark admissions tax, and sales of a special stadium license plate.
The stadium is often referred to as “The House that Griffey Built” because many believe major league baseball would not exist in Seattle without Ken Griffey, Jr.’s outstanding career with the Mariners. Griffey helped break ground for the new stadium in 1997 and a capacity crowd of 47,000 attended the Inaugural Game against the San Diego Padres on July 15, 1999.
Designed by Frank Gilbreth and built in 1906 for the Seattle Electric Company, the Georgetown Steam Plant is an early example of a reinforced concrete structure. It houses two vertical Curtis steam turbines manufactured by General Electric, which initially produced 11,000 kilowatts of power. Later, in 1919, a horizontal Curtis turbine was added, almost doubling the output of the plant. In addition to providing direct current for Seattle’s streetcar system and the interurban railway between Seattle and Tacoma, the plant also generated alternating current for Georgetown, which was at the time an independent city. In 1951, Seattle’s Department of Lighting—today’s Seattle City Light—purchased the facility and continued to operate the plant on a limited basis until 1972.
The steam plant was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1984. It is also listed on the Washington State Register of Historic Places, is a City of Seattle Landmark, and is recognized by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.
Today, the steam plant is still owned by Seattle City Light and is maintained by City Light staff and a group of volunteers as the Georgetown PowerPlant Museum. It contains operable examples of early vertical steam generating turbines, as well as reciprocating steam engines and a collection of vintage machining tools.
Hanging in the lobby of the Seattle Art Museum is this 105-foot long tree sculpture by John Grade. Grade first made a plaster cast of a living 140-year old western hemlock growing along the Middle Fork (hence the name) of the Snoqualmie River east of Seatle. Then he along with hundreds of volunteers used the plaster mold to recreate the form of the tree from thousands of pieces of reclaimed old-growth cedar.
This iconic triangular-shaped building, situated between 4th and 5th Avenues where Olive Way splits off of Stewart Street, was designed by Bebb & Gould and completed in 1915 for the editorial offices of the Seattle Times newspaper, which occupied its seven stories until 1930. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and designated as a city landmark in September 1984.
Below are views of buildings that also occupy acutely angled sites in various locations and at different scales.
On the way home last week after viewing the Andrew Wyeth exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum, I noticed that the low-rise portion of Rainier Square had been demolished, exposing the iconic Rainier Tower to view on all sides. I immediately made a mental note to draw that scene. A few days later, a post by Andika Murandi on the Seattle Urban Sketchers blog reminded me to head downtown to draw Rainier Tower amid the demolition work that is making way for a new 58-story mixed-use highrise. It will be interesting to see how the old and new towers coexist on the same block.
Designed by Minoru Yamasaki in association with NBBJ and the structural engineering firm of Magnusson Klemencic, Rainier Tower is unique for its 11-story high pedestal base that tapers downward, like an inverted pyramid with curving sides. When I first saw Rainier Tower after moving to Seattle in 1980, I remember wondering how the structure could resist toppling over during an earthquake.
One sidenote: I drew this scene with a rollerball pen, which made me miss how sensitive the nib of a fountain pen is to the slightest applications of pressure.
This is the 2nd Avenue elevator lobby of the Exchange Building, which is situated on Marion Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues in downtown Seattle. John Graham and Associates designed the Art Deco building to house grain, ore, bond, and stock exchanges but the stock market crash of 1929 forced the conversion of its upper floors to offices. Reflecting the building’s original intentions, this lobby incorporates such motifs as sheafs of wheat and bunches of grapes into the Art Deco interior. The exterior of the Exchange Building and both the 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue lobbies were granted landmark status in 1990 by the Seattle Landmark Preservation Board.
Like sketching, composing each page of a journal or sketchbook is an extemporaneous act. We may have a plan for how to organize the drawings and notes on a page before we begin, but we should also be open to altering the plan as each element is executed.
For example, we may find that having executed a drawing, its size, shape and proportions may differ, as so often happens, from what we originally intended. By carefully considering the visual shape and weight of the drawing, we can re-balance the page or give it a more dynamic quality with the placement of the next graphic element, whether that element is graphic or verbal in nature. With the addition of further graphic elements, we continue to encounter this opportunity to re-compose the page.
I’m working again with Steve Winkel of the Preview Group, preparing the sixth edition of Building Codes Illustrated: A Guide to Understanding the 2018 International Building Code. When I first began working with Steve in 2000 on the first edition of BCI, I had decided to use Adobe Illustrator to prepare all of the illustrations since I knew that the International Building Code was going to be updated every three years and that many of the graphics would have to be revised on a regular basis.
As I originally posted back in 2013: “I use Illustrator basically as a drafting tool to create the visual ideas I have in mind. The many benefits of vector graphics include: using the Save As capability to try out different options; having precise control over line weights and tonal values; being able to resize drawings easily to fit a page layout; and reusing elements that I had already drawn. Most importantly, when working on a revision, instead of having to completely redo a hand drawing, I can open an existing drawing file and make the necessary changes to create the updated version.”
Here are a few examples.
More examples of how changes in media affect not how one sees, but rather how one captures what is seen—the pace of the line, the level and precision of detail, and the voids that speak to the eye.