Another Look Back…

In my very first post on this site in February 2012, I showed a composite of two sketches I had done of the Spanish Steps in Rome. Here I am posting the full views of each drawing.

The first is from the summer of 1965, when I was fortunate to have had, through an ACSA exchange program, an internship with Wilson & Womersley, an architectural and town planning firm with offices on Bedford Square in London. At the end of the summer, armed with a Eurail Pass, I traveled around Europe for a couple of weeks. I did a few sketches on site, but not as many as I would have liked. The only one I still have in my possession is this view of the Spanish Steps in Rome, drawn with a fountain pen with a stub nib.

This is another drawing of the same site from 2000, the first time I had the privilege of teaching in the University of Washington’s Architecture in Rome program. Similar viewpoints but drawn 35 years apart with different nibs and separated by a lifetime of experiences.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano was first founded on October 30, 1775, by the Franciscan Fermin Lasuen, but was soon abandoned because of attacks by the Kumeyaay, Native American people who had settled the area and occupied the land for thousands of years. The mission was reestablished a year later by Father Junipero Serra, the seventh of nine missions he founded. These two views of a courtyard beside the Great Stone Church at the mission show first the rough outline of the drawing composition and then another, more developed 15-minute sketch.

The Old Stone Church

This is a very quick 10-minute sketch I did during the Line to Color workshop Gail Wong and I conducted recently. I was trying to demonstrate how to begin a scene that does not have a clear geometric structure.. The view is of the ruins of the “Great Stone Church” at Mission San Juan Capistrano. Work on the limestone structure began in 1797 but was interrupted three years later by the 6.5-magnitude San Diego earthquake. And in 1812, six years after the church was completed, a 7.5-magnitude earthquake collapsed the nave and toppled the belltower. It was never rebuilt.

Santa Catalina Island

Before the Line to Color workshop in Laguna Beach, Deb and I took the ferry to Santa Catalina Island. As we made the crossing, I recalled the song by the Four Preps from 1958: “Twenty-six miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is a-waitin’ for me…” Originally settled by the Tongva tribe ca. 7000 BCE, the island was discovered in the 16th century by the Spanish. Control transferred from Spain to Mexico and eventually to the U.S. In the early 20th century, William Wrigley, Jr. of chewing gum fame gained a majority interest and began developing the island. Now most of the island is controlled by the Catalina Island Conservancy. Here is a view of the beachfront in Avalon, the only incorporated town on the island.

Sok Kwu Wan

A drawing done 20 years ago, after arriving on a ferry from Hong Kong Island to Yung Shue Wan on Lamma Island, and then walking for an hour-and-a-half to Sok Kwu Wan. In contrast to this rather sparse sketch is another drawing I did five years earlier of this skyline as seen from Kowloon, which uses a lot more ink to convey the dense, urban fabric of Hong Kong Central.

Jade Water Pavilion

Visiting Vancouver BC for a few days gave me the opportunity to visit the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Designed by Wang Zu-Xin with the help of the Landscape Architecture Company of Suzhou China, and constructed in 1985, it is said to be the first Scholar’s Garden built outside of China.

This is a sketch of the Jade Water Pavilion. The term jade water refers to the deliberate cloudiness of the pond water, which is supposed to intensify its reflections.

Mysore

From Bengaluru, we drove to Mysore, where I met with faculty and students at the Wadiyar Centre for Architecture and toured Mysore Palace. The above is a 25-minute sketch of Mysore Palace I managed to do before leaving on the 5-hour drive to Calicut. 

The residence of the Wadiyar Dynasty, the first palace dates from the 14th century and was built within the confines of the puragiri or citadel of Mysore. Over the centuries, the palace was rebuilt several times. The existing Indo-Saracenic structure, designed by the British architect Lord Henry Irwin, was constructed between 1897 and 1912, after the previous structure was extensively damaged during a fire in 1896.

Below is the entrance to the Royal Orchid Metropole where I had spent the night. This was originally built to serve as a residence for British guests of the Maharaja of Mysore.

Bengaluru

Many thanks to Anand Krishnamurthy and his colleagues of MASA (Alumni Association of the Malnad Architecture School) for giving me the opportunity to visit Bengaluru and address an audience of architects and students. Also had the opportunity to tour the city, visiting temples and markets. Above is a view of the city from my hotel balcony and below is a sketch of the flower market, where the activity became more important than the architecture.