Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday Visual Inspiration: Touching the Sky

We often think about how a building looks at street level, or maybe from a little bit of a distance away, because that's how we experience it. Despite the fact that we live in a world of structural and physical wonders, we rarely look up to see how buildings touch the sky. Quick quiz--what does the top of your workplace building look like? The top of your house/apartment building? The top of your grocery store? Is it brick all the way up? Is there a metal cap on it? Is it flush (in the same plane) as the rest of the building's face, or does it stick out?

I went for a walk this weekend and took a few photos of building tops. Comments on the photos are just below each image.

A perfect blue Colorado sky with one dissipating vapor trail, and the edge of the building cantilevering out strongly against the textured copper screen of its facade.

Compare this same building with the one across the street. Its top ends flush with the face, but it uses a little awning for some visual interest (and to keep direct sun out of those retail spaces).

Another horizontal roofline, but this time it's making use of the space just below by covering a patio and railing. Notice how the thickness of the roof edge is about the same as the thickness of the white band of metal panel below the railing. It's almost like they planned it.

A magic-and-toy shop in Cherry Creek North uses its roofline to stand out amongst the rest of the hoity-toitytude of its high-end retail neighbors. Campy and yet noble, I say.

The Cherry Creek Ross Library is being remodeled inside, but thankfully they're leaving the outside alone--I love this building. The red metal panel fin at the street corner not only strikes a graceful pose against a winter sky, it also directs you to the library's front door.

A pedestrian enough office building, but this circular fin-thing begs the question--is this purely artistic, or can you use the space underneath it?

The tops of churches are often the most interesting too look at because they had to be for so much of history. You're supposed to be able to see them from far away and know what they are by looking at the tall cross on the highest part of the roof.

But what happens on the back side of that clean, stone-capped edge of the brick facade? Well, you have to provide flashing to keep the water out. This isn't really meant to be seen, but because of this small church's corner location, you kinda can't not see it.

A run down house was leveled to build this modern-looking duplex in Capitol Hill. I like it overall, but I wonder if I like it because it's really good or because it has Target Syndrome--it's modern looking and made out of clean moderny-modern materials, therefore everyone assumes it's good. Anyway, I like the way the different pieces of it sit against the sky. It's like three different buildings that still all belong together because of their clean lines and their scale.


ms. kitty said...

Fun looking at your pictures, Pixie, and remembering places like the Wizard's Chest!

Mile High Pixie said...

Thanks, Rev. Kit! I was at the Einstein's Bagels next door and noticed how cool it looked against a nice blue Denver sky.

David said...

I've always wanted to do a coffee table book of these kinds of shots. This is arguably the second most important exterior part of a building and all too often is never thought about.