Tag Archives: Architecture

“A Little Something”

Hearst Castle Facade

A Spanish cathedral inspired the towers that rise above Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA.

An old journalism adage counsels writers against burying their lede, so here’s mine: freaking zebras. Before we get to that, though, there’s this small matter of a castle. Only it is not really a castle. Maybe I need to back up and explain.

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Overlooked Albany

The New York State Capitol Building in Albany

The New York State Capitol Building in Albany

Who knew this stuff was here? Certainly not me, even though I’d seen it all before. Growing up just outside of Albany, New York, I’m confident I toured these buildings and museums on any number of school field trips. I’m equally certain that all of those trips were unmitigated disasters. I remember absolutely nothing about them.

So powerful is my amnesia that I seemed to have forgotten that Albany had anything at all worth seeing. Even as we traveled thousands of miles seeking out similar locations across the country, touring them in my home state never entered my mind.

Not even laying eyes on New York’s State Capitol building could shake the cobwebs. Upon seeing it we still weren’t quite sure we had arrived at the correct address. It looked nothing at all like the kind of building we had come to expect from such places. It had no dome, or Doric columns. It didn’t mimic the U.S. Capitol in D.C., like so many state capitols do. Instead, it resembled an Italian palace.

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L.A. On Foot

LA Downtown Walking Tour

We’ve had some fun at L.A.’s expense this week and, we admit, it was all a bit too easy. We’re certainly guilty of picking low-hanging fruit by complaining about L.A.’s car culture. It’s not like L.A. traffic is something new, or novel. In fact, we were reminded recently that Steve Martin parodied some of the same issues more than two decades ago in L.A. Story, only he did it better.

To make amends we thought we’d leave our cars behind and show L.A. from a more unusual perspective: through the eyes of a pedestrian. What follows is an easy two mile loop of downtown L.A. that explores some of the city’s most impressive architecture.

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A Mall for the Reluctant Shopper

Westfield Horton Plaza Interior Square

For all our travels there are still places I hesitate to go. Shopping malls, with their dreadful combination of crowds and consumerism, generally top that list. Westfield Horton Plaza in San Diego is an exception.

Covering six and one half blocks and seven stories of the city’s historic Gas Lamp District, Horton is remarkable for its complete lack of in-your face store fronts. We toured a large section of the complex and still can’t tell you what shops are there; our attention instead riveted to the twisting and elaborately colored architecture of the place.

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Another Great State Capitol

Montana State Capitol Staircase, Stained Glass

This time in Helena, Montana.

Built in the traditional neoclassical style, this building’s elaborate use of stained glass gives the interior a very different feel than other state capitols we’ve visited.

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