Tuesday, December 21, 2010


A scrappy rooster strutting around in the rural Haitian village of Gaia. He's the cock of the walk, the top chicken, the main bird. Stay outta his way....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Mayor of Ganthier

I stayed with the Mayor, Ralph Lapointe and his three delightful little daughters, for a week in April. It was hot, no electricity, no gas, he had very critical tasks to attend to, but he was completely gracious in welcoming me to his home and town. Here he is holding court in his driveway trying to stay cool in the afternoon breezes.
Several months later his life was in danger by thugs trying to take over large areas of land in his town. The locals demonstrated and Mayor Lapointe went to court, but the battle of ownership is not over. It is a complex issue as much of the paperwork was destroyed in the earthquake. There is a need for new housing, but is shouldn't be on land that is occupied , especially for no compensation. See - http://goo.gl/ORcMO

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gaia in Haiti

A small rural neighborhood near Fond-Parisien, Gaia certainly has plenty of Mother Nature, if indeed its name comes from the Greek Goddess of Earth. Our truck broke down and we walked (the most common form of transportation) several miles to Fond-Parisien. It was a much better way to see the connection to the earth and the everyday difficulties of survival.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fond Parisien

As far as I can tell 'Fond' means essence or soul (at least in French). I'm not sure this village of 20,000 plus would qualify as the essence of Paris, tho perhaps in a much earlier age. It has no electricity, no fresh water, no sewer, and the whole country had been out of gasoline for two weeks. It is inundated with refugees from Port-au-Prince and with walking distance of the Dominican Republic border.

The building above represents the dominant architectural style - Rebar Deco. Many buildings are partially built and most have rebar sticking out of the top to be able to add another story. The earthquake has made multistory structures suspect, so perhaps these sprays of steel will be consigned to history.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Haiti House

In May I was fortunate to spend a week in Haiti in the town of Ganthier, 15 miles or so east of Port-au-Prince and near the border of Dominican Republic. There was not as much damage from the earthquake here, but there was still evidence of its powerful destructive effect. This stone-built house had several walls demolished, and seemed to be standing more from pride than gravity.
The larger problem in these areas is the influx (or sometimes return) of people from Port-au-Prince and living in camps, some with tents, others just with sheets. My work was to do planning for expanding this town. This will be difficult as 80% of public records for land ownership were destroyed. A perhaps more likely scenario for provision of housing, and especially jobs, might be entirely new towns on land that is clearly owned by the government. This is the hope for a town I designed for 12,000 between Ganthier and Bonnet.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bristol Ha-bah Mermaid

Lovely afternoon on a second floor deck overlooking the harbor, SWI (sketching while intoxicated). The mermaid seems to have rather big hair (and small tail). Perhaps she is just dried out.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Safe Harbor

Sitting in the darkened waters between two piers, this small but elegant boat is a link to larger ships that sail at sea. Wood on a boat, either shellacked or painted, seems to resonate in a harmonious manner with the turbid liquid below.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Not Bristol Palin

You cannot see Russia from here, but you can see some mighty fine buildings in this harbor town in Rhode Island. Born out of a desire for freedom (at the expense of the natives - King Phillip's War started here), raised with tasteful affluence (on the back of the slave trade), and experiencing a long somnolence of middle age, Bristol today is sprightly mix of WASPs, Italian-Americans, and Azoreans - historically sailors all.

This sweet Greek Revival is but a small sample of the tasty treats this town has to offer.

Friday, November 5, 2010


DinTaiFung, which means.....DinTaiFung (a mashup of two previous stores) is a famous Taiwanese Soup Dumpling Restaurant. A soup dumpling, or Xiaolongbao, is not a dumpling in soup. It is a transcendent dumpling that has soup in it, along with pork or crab or both.

The meat is combined with soup that has been gelled with agar-agar and this soup/meat combination is put into fresh thin dumplings, twisted and the steamed in a bamboo steamer.

Oh. My. God.

I ate at the branch in Beijing and will eat at the branch in LA at Xmas. But for now I am going to lunch at a local place, which is not as good, but will suffice.

The second drawing is of peanut ice, with peanuts on top. Yummy.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Houhai? You High.

Wandering around the Houhai area of Beijing, bustling with shops, traffic and hordes of non-Mongols, I came upon this coffee house, an island of calm located in a western-chinese hybrid building from the 1890's. The coffee house is in the second floor with exposed beams 'n stuff. Originally these buildings were used as guild houses or brothels and were a mash-up of the grey chinese brick and details with western arches and columns.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Birds Bath

Beautiful and benign at first glance, this birdbath takes on a slightly sinister air when you notice the birds that have linked wings waiting to ambush any unsuspecting nuthatch peacefully splashing about.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Miss Worcester Diner

Lost in Worcester ('Wooo-ster') MA, the second largest city in New England, I came across the Worcester Lunch Car #812, or as she is know to her boys, Miss Worcester Diner. Built in 1948, she didn't get far from home, as the factory was across the street. The Worcester Lunch Car Company produced 651 'fancy night cafes' between 1906 and 1957.
While never married, she still looks great for 62, and still puts out hot lunches to grateful Worcesterians.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Two by Two Silos

Part of the Los Poblanos Farm and former Dairy, these twin sentinels converse silently amongst the fracas of the farmyard.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Farm Livin'

From the dairy area of Los Poblanos in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. This is the original site of Creamland Dairies and was started by Albert Simms and Ruth Hanna McCormick, both members of Congress in the 20's and 30's. It is being renovated to extend the Los Poblanos Inn and agricultural operations.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Book Learnin'

Another meeting at the Dennis School House (a voluminous structure built in 1770) on endless revisions to their zoning code for Cottage Communities. I am not trying to make a statement about the quality of education sinking, just representing what I would see if my head was on the desk before I slipped into a drool-worthy sleep, as I did many times in my youth.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Have a Cow, Man.

North Main Street in Providence is not where you expect to find a cow, even a plastic one. It has appeared as a representation of the products served just inside at a new slider joint. The sliders are good, tho I would prefer a larger portion of the said cow, rather than the little circular veneers on buns.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I Go to Luogo

South Luogo Lane to the northeast of the Forbidden City has been around since 1267 and has recently been hip-ified. Mexican cafes, Tibetan yougurt shops, t-shirt shops with images of Comrade Obama cater to both Chinese and Western tourists. But the feeling of the place is maintained by its dimensions - 12 feet building to building and mostly one story construction.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Good Foo

AS 220 is a community arts space in Downcity Providence that is celebrating its 25th anniversary on August 14th at the annual FooFest. Foo(d) is also AS220's restaurant next to their always friendly bar.

Foo is short for both food and fool, as in "I pity the poor foo."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Drummmm drum drum-drum.

An after-hours tour of the Drum Tower in Beijing. Amazing steep stairs to the top, huge-ass drums to keep the time, and a panoramic view of the Capital City.
What I remember - an unusually large rubber ducky at the entrance gate.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Temple Grounds

Another view of the temple/scholars complex where disconsolate failed test-takers could throw themselves from the well-carved bridge into three feet of carp-infested waters.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Pagoda

Not to be confused with Abe Vigoda, the Ran Deng Sarira (Burning Lamp Buddist Relic) Pagoda is the tallest in the Beijing area (150+ feet). The base shown in this view is a Sumeru (mythic mountain considered the center of the universe) pedestal with lotus leaves. This is now to be the real center of a new city core area.

What would Abe think?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

China Moon

Moongates have always looked to me like a large ball or a very fat, very round person has crashed through a wall, ala Tom and Jerry cartoons.
This one in the Tongzhou temple complex allows for plenty of elbow room on your way to the pagoda.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Chine Ease

This temple complex was a place of great terror - Confucian scholars would come here to take their examinations. It is next to Randeng Pagoda, a 50 meter high stone pagoda that doubled as a lighthouse for the beginning of the Grand Canal.
Today there is no test required, just enjoyment.

Friday, June 18, 2010

5 Traverse Gallery

A teeny building (350 sf) that had had many incarnations, this one a very nice gallery that unfortunately had only a two year cycle of life.
May it be reborn in even greater brilliance.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Benefit of a Curve

This house on Benefit Street in Providence does not curve as I have drawn it. Sometimes I use my Iphone to help frame the sketches I am doing and occasionally it warps the photo.

I like to think that this is what the house would look like if it could dance.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Don't Stop!

Thinkin' about tomorrow, as well as not running into that nice building. Once a bank built in the 19th century and well located as a terminus for Walden Street in Concord, it now is a temple for foot shodding.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Looking for Good Food?

Then you will be happy to know that this is where they serve good food, as opposed to bad or great. I wonder if they just had the 'good' sign, then added 'food', then 'served' and finally 'here' to make their intentions clear.
I cannot verify that the food was good here, tho I can confirm that I did see food. I had a double espresso and rocketed out of there.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Smokestacked, that is. This former mill in West Concord no longer belches out smoke, jut hot air from the conference rooms of the offices within.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Nearly Brown

Actually, this fine Greek Revival is only near Brown University, but it is nearly dark grey. I just happen to think it looks better white. So there.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Two Poles Walked into a Bar

Two different place. Two different poles. Same vertical excitement.

The one on the left is in Durham NH in front of a barn/fraternity in downtown. The one one the right is near my house in Blackstone Park looking across the mighty Seekonk River to the fetchingly charming gas tanks.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Two Towers

Richmond Square is a renovated industrial office complex on the east side of Providence near the Seekonk River and my house. This was the last flurry of activity in Providence before one crossed the old Red Bridge to East Providence (different from east side Providence). The old Red Bridge was torn down and a new highway size bridge built just to the north with the intention of adding a highway through the east side, destroying untold historic properties.

Thankfully this did not happen, and we have nice places to work and eat and a bridge to nowhere.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More Fat Cats

Located next to The Tackle Shop, these porcine pussies appear to be waiting for some surplus bait to end up in their ample laps.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Two Fat Cat-a-tonics

Located in Portland Maine's gourmet gulch, this bakery oddly does not make baked good for, or out of, cats.

Monday, March 1, 2010

25th Anniversary Dance

A sketch last fall for my lovely bride of two exuberant Japanese cranes. They are said to mate for life.
How long do they live?

Friday, February 5, 2010

What's the Point?

This utility-tethered house comes to an especially sharp point on its corner. Located in Essex New Hampshire, the river, mill pond, bridge and Main Street all conspire to distort the lot that this building must fit itself into, coming to rest in the form of a rhomboid.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Parking Garage By Any Other Name

For those who don't believe a parking garage can be beautiful, behold exhibit A.
Santa Barbara has a strong design code that requires at least a basic Spanish Colonial architecture. But this excellent vehicle of design, found on the top floor of a Public Parking Garage, drove by plebeian parking spaces to swing into a more challenging but sublime resting place.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Up in the Air

From the 'let's just toss our shit up in the air' era, this decommissioned chimney makes an emphatic punctuation point in the millish town of Lowell MA - San Gimignano on the Merrimack.