Elmhurst, Illinois – October 2019 – Mies at the Museum

The Elmhurst, Illinois Art Museum is located in on a small campus in suburban Chicago. In addition to a couple of galleries, they have a space that local artists continue to work.










We did not however make the trip out to the ‘burbs for the paintings. We were here to see one of the few houses that famed architect Mies Van Der Rohe designed. Designed in 1952, it was moved in the 1990s to the art museum campus.

It is considered one of the classics of mid century modern.



The museum has done their own interpretation of the furnishings and artwork throughout.




















Across Connecticut – August 2019 – From Yugos to Yale

If you are going from Boston to New York City you have no choice but to pass through Connecticut. We did, and found two very different stops along the way.

At the edge of the town of Middletown we found the Yugo Ranch!









Just 15 miles, but about 2 light years culturally, is Yale University in New Haven.







It seemed much of the university was under construction but we eventually found what we were looking for – Beinecke Library, one of the most amazing libraries in the world.







Enough stops – on to New York City.






Cambridge, Massachusetts – August 2019 – Insider Tour of MIT

I am fortunate enough to know someone who has spent considerable time at MIT, and she was kind enough to show us around to sights on campus that most visitors don’t realize is there to be seen.

We started out with some familiar sites; the Kresge Auditorium. Designed and completed in the mid 1950s by Eero Saarinen, it is an excellent example of mid-century modern.






Next door is a chapel, also designed by Saarinen.






The Rogers Building serves as the center of MIT. It’s atrium is beautiful.



The windows facing Mass Avenue are equally impressive.




The Frances Russell Hart Nautical Museum is tucked away on an upper floor of the main building. It contains a number of intricately designed model ships.






As you wander the halls you come across all sort of great sights.



















While this might look like any other hallway at MIT, it is very special. It is known as the Infinite Hall, running the length of the main building and leading to a second building.

You have heard of Stonehenge, perhaps Manhattanhenge (a posting is available), and even Carhenge.

This otherwise nondescript hallway twice a year is the location of MITHenge – the sun shines straight through the entire distance, lighting up the floor. I need to come back in November!




The outdoor space is enhanced with sculptures. MIT is a very cool place, and thanks to an insider we saw some cool sights (all completely open to anyone, you just need to know where to look).






Toronto – July 2019 – An Emphasis on Modern Architecture

The Toronto postings end with a more focused modern architecture tour. With more than 70 new skyscrapers more than 150m (500 feet) high built since 2000 (second in North America to New York), there are plenty to choose from, although a few of the more interesting buildings downtown are not skyscrapers.

Not all of the buildings below were built after 2000, but all have the modern architecture look.
































Toronto – July 2019 – For This Collection You Need a Large Garden

In the 1960s Spencer and Rosa Clark started a collection that required a very large garden – they acquired architectural artifacts from large buildings in downtown Toronto that were being torn down and replaced with even larger ones.

This garden is located in suburban Scarborough, in what is now Guild Park and Gardens.



The archway from a long gone building leads you into the park.



What were once decorative pieces on the Toronto Star newspaper building are now giant building blocks.



Remnants from a Music Hall.



Smaller pieces are integrated directly into the gardens.



While others are added together to make a new sculpture.



Toronto’s second fire hall was located at Richmond and Portland Streets. Dating from 1871 it was torn down in 1968. In the background is a brand new events center.



The Greek Theater (also the featured photo for this posting). What was once the Bank of Toronto Building is now a theater in a park.




The grounds are immaculate, with the artifacts well spaced throughout.





The facing from the Quebec Bank Building has porcelain lions.



Additional random artifacts.












Easily the largest collection is from the former Bank of Montreal Building at King and Bay Streets in downtown Toronto. With this many fantastic items, this must have been an amazing building!



















Buenos Aires – June 2019 – Most Beautiful Bookstore in the World

Buenos Aires, Argentina is said to have more live theater than any other city in the world. In my 10 days there I even saw an impromptu performance on a subway, which at first I thought was a real argument.

With all of these theaters it is bound to have one or two that go out of business – like this one.



Ah but Buenos Aires is smart enough not to tear it down. Adolfo de Vincenzi purchased the theater and restored it into a bookstore called the El Ateneo! This translates in English to anthenaeum, which was a school in ancient Rome. The word is commonly used for libraries, etc.

The results were spectacular. Numerous publications, including National Geographic, have named the El Ateneo these most beautiful bookstore in the world. I agree.



In addition to the main level, two of the upper levels have books.



The cafe is located on the stage.



The old lighting controls are also located in the cafe.



No matter the angle of view, it is amazing.







In addition to housing the children’s section, the lower level has a small display detailing the history of the theater.



As with many old theaters, the ceiling has a great mural.













The El Ateneo – a true Buenos Aires treasure.