a second post on the architecture of I. M. Pei's NCAR building in Boulder, Colorado and some thoughts on its scale, materials, and design
Most of the smaller towns that I passed through on a recent road trip had their version of the local movie palace. And most were closed down along with the rest of the storefronts along the main street. The emptiness of middle America is remarkable and so sad. We all hear the statistics about the growth of the larger cities and the gradual emigration away from small towns. But something about the desolate marque of the old movie theatre strikes me as the most melancholy of the all the main street ghosts.
Just off downtown Loveland, Colorado is the ancient and intriguing Loveland Feed & Grain building. A many-year preservation and restoration effort has been taking place to find new uses for this magnificent building.
Chapels of the San Luis Valley
For many years, I have been taking trips to the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado. This area feels very different from either the Front Range or the Western Slope and is marked by tiny settlements and the vase expanse of the wide valley. Of particular interest to me are the simple chapels and churches, dotted across the landscape, some lovingly cared for, others abandoned.
I am working on a remodel and addition to an odd A-frame hybrid house at the base of Sunshine Canyon, just west of Boulder. The original house, built in 1964, was designed by architect Richard Brown. Brown designed a number of these modified A-frame houses, mostly around Boulder, before he later took that form and proceeded to design churches.
As I have talked about in a couple of recent posts on the flatness of the Midwest, a simple building standing in that relentlessly horizontal landscape is a powerful, singular moment. This is even more apparent when it is a church, rising upward to heaven, a determinedly vertical building contrasting the vast horizon.