Wednesday, August 13, 2008

View to a View

In another life I would have studied architecture. Maybe I'll do so yet in this life. I know a building can make a person feel many things: intimidated, safe, wealthy, poor, lonely or loved. Great cathedrals stir our hearts. Halls of justice hush our voices. Ancient ruins wake us to our dreams.

Pasadena City Hall offers serenity. I don't know how a structure can do that, but again and again I find it to be true. When City Hall was designed in the mid-1920s by the architectural firm of Bakewell and Brown, they did several things to create serenity. One was to make the building symmetrical, which soothes the senses. Another was to build a courtyard and add a fountain and benches, making a cloistered garden for contemplation and quiet.

Then they created views. No matter where you look, they've placed something there for you to see. At every angle there's a beautiful scene, a "photo op," if you will. I return again and again to take pictures; it's hard to take a bad one of the place. But the photos aren't the only reason I go.

(Check out Pasadena PIO for archival shots of City Hall's construction.)

15 comments:

life observer said...

City hall offers serenity?
Looks can be deceiving! If you HAVE to go there, then maybe not. Couple of times I had to go recently to straighten out their parking tix dept. Seems they don't like to give me proper credit for parking tix I've paid.
Still, P, you're expertise gives CH its best face.

Bernie K. said...

Life Observer's right, this is an expert photo—a classic example of seeing (composing & exposing) with the camera in the moment, rather than manipulating (chemically or digitally) what the camera recorded. Escherian, too:

http://tinyurl.com/6zswpp
http://tinyurl.com/67egha
http://tinyurl.com/5bc8s6

pasadenapio said...

Thanks for the link! My beautiful home away from home has stood the test of time and will continue to do so for generations to come.

Virginia said...

Petrea,
This is a lovely shot of this majestic building. You composed it beautifully. Wow.

Petrea said...

Life Observer, architecture can intimidate, which Pasadena's City Hall can certainly do to hardened criminals such as yourself. Thanks for the compliment, though. I'm going to have to start paying you.

And Bernie, too, jeez. Gary and Carrie were with me when I took this. I just kept moving the camera until it saw what I saw.

Do click on the Pasadena PIO link in today's copy, everyone. Or just click on her blog and read the whole thing. She's done two entries now with archival photos of City Hall's construction. They're revealing, nostalgic and wonderful.

Thanks, Virgina!

Laurie said...

Petrea, this may be my favorite of your pictures yet! I feel as you do about this building. It reminds me of an old mission or sanctuary. Your prose is fabulous, too.

Christie said...

Beautiful shot, Petrea! It is a lovely view.

life observer said...

P, Ann has a request/question for you. U need to re-ck her site if u haven't already.

Katie said...

Oh I do love Pasadena City Hall! This photo makes me want to see more more more of this grand building. And with a little research, now I know why I feel such an affinity with this place: Arthur Brown and James Bakewell studied with Bernard Maybeck (a favorite of mine) at UC Berkeley in the 1890s and they also designed Berkeley City Hall, San Francisco City Hall and Coit Tower in SF!

Petrea said...

Thanks thanks thanks, everybody. Katie, you just missed it. Carrie and Gary were with me when I took this picture. I don't know Berkeley City Hall but I do know SF and Coit Tower, so WOW. Good company.

Thanks, Mike--I'm automatically notified.

Ms M said...

This is an excellent photo! I love old buildings like this. I hope you post more of your photos of City Hall.

smilnsigh said...

Found a reference to your 'looking up,' in another photo blog. Yes, I love to look up and admire what used to be placed on buildings.

I'm lucky to live in a city which {around the 70's} decided to preserve it's Victorian era architecture. I began my 'Photos-City-Mine' blog, to chronicle photos of examples of this preservation. One of my favorite things is to 'look up.' :-)

Miss Mari-Nanci
Smilnsigh
Photos-City-Mine
When Twilight Embraces

Christie said...

Petrea, that is really cool!! I would love to come to one of these bead shows, but I think I would feel so inadequate! I feel like such a newbie at this, but I have so much fun with it, I can't wait to get better and back into beading again. I'm in Physical Therapy now and it seems to be helping quite a bit. I should be back at my beading table within a month or so! :)

Thanks so much for sharing!

Petrea said...

Thanks, ms m. I have a lot of them so I surely will. It's one of those places where, if I have my camera with me, I can't stop snappin'.

smilnsigh, nice to see you here, I believe I've seen you...at Paris perhaps? I know what you mean about looking up. Just a change of perspective and you've found something new. Thanks for coming by, I'll check out your blog, too.

Christie, as soon as I heard the radio ad I thought of you. When I got home I googled the convention. There's a fee to get in so I probably won't go, but I might try to just peek and snap a shot from the outside. We'll see! I'm glad to hear you're getting better, too. This has been a long haul for you. When you can creative something and love creating it, there's no other feeling like it.

Louis la Vache said...

"Louis" really enjoys architectural posts like this! Outstanding!