San Diego Convention Center stripped of sails!

Replacement of the San Diego Convention Center’s white “sails” is underway. The old fiberglass sails, dating from the time when the beautiful convention center debuted in 1989, have been removed.

Without the Sails Pavilion’s roof, which shelters the enormous 90,000 square foot exhibit space below, the glass walls, the supporting structures and crisscrossing cables combine with levels of scaffolding to form something that resembles an unusual crystal lattice. Which makes for intriguing photographs!

This afternoon I walked across the top of the San Diego Convention Center and took a close look for myself. As you can see, one can discern all sorts of unique patterns. The geometric complexity is a delight for the eye.

If you find yourself in downtown San Diego, check it out for yourself!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Visually interesting photos of downtown buildings.

I have a tendency to take photos of everything and anything while I’m walking. Sometimes I’m surprised at the results!

Here are some visually interesting photos of buildings in downtown San Diego. You’ll find reflections in windows, strange shadows, and splashes of light. There are unusual shapes, surprising contrasts, and a few delightful discoveries.

Every walk through downtown is an optical adventure!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A perfect summer Sunday in Balboa Park.

Musicians entertain Balboa Park visitors at the House of Hungary's festive lawn program.
Musicians entertain Balboa Park visitors at the House of Hungary’s festive lawn program.

Another perfect summer Sunday. I found myself once again in Balboa Park. This afternoon, there was no better place in the world.

Please enjoy some photos…

A warm summer afternoon. A man and his dog rest beneath a dinosaur near the San Diego Natural History Museum.
It’s a warm summer afternoon. A man and his dog rest beneath a dinosaur near the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Sunshine on the south side of the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.
Sunshine on the south side of the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.
San Diego Civic Youth Ballet had a Fairy Tale Village set up today in the Casa del Prado's outer courtyard.
San Diego Civic Youth Ballet had a Fairy Tale Village set up today in the Casa del Prado’s outer courtyard.
The laps of two Western characters await people with tired feet in Spanish Village Art Center.
The laps of two Western characters await people with tired feet in Spanish Village Art Center.
Beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival architecture at the west end of the Casa de Balboa, photographed from El Prado.
Beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival architecture at the west end of the Casa de Balboa, photographed from El Prado.
People walk past ornate arches connecting the Casa de Balboa and the House of Hospitality.
People walk past ornate arches connecting the Casa de Balboa and the House of Hospitality.
Looking through one of those arches at cool greenery between the two historic buildings.
Looking through one of those arches at cool greenery between the two historic buildings.
Folks walk down toward the Casa del Rey Moro Garden.
Folks walk down toward the Casa del Rey Moro Garden.
A beautiful view few visitors see. Part of the rear of the House of Hospitality and nearby Casa de Balboa.
A beautiful view few visitors see. Part of the rear of the House of Hospitality and nearby Casa de Balboa.
Flowers beside outdoor dining at The Prado at Balboa Park.
Flowers beside outdoor dining at The Prado at Balboa Park.
A tranquil and shady place to sit on a summer day in the Japanese Friendship Garden. I worked for a while on a short story here.
A tranquil and shady place to sit in the Japanese Friendship Garden. I worked for a while on a short story here.
The Sunday afternoon lawn program today at the International Cottages was put on by the House of Hungary.
The Sunday afternoon lawn program today at the International Cottages was put on by the House of Hungary.
Hungarian sausage and crepes were being prepared at one end of the lawn!
Hungarian sausage and crepes were being prepared at one end of the lawn!
I confess I had a tasty sausage with lots of mustard on a delectable roll of bread. But those crepes do look good.
I confess I had a tasty sausage with lots of mustard on a delectable roll of bread. But those crepes do look good. I’ll try one next year.
Ladies play cards on the grass at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
Ladies play cards on the grass at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
Folks sit under the Spreckels Organ Pavilion colonnade and listen to a free Sunday performance. Four finalists are auditioning to become San Diego's new Civic Organist.
Folks sit under the Spreckels Organ Pavilion colonnade and listen to the free Sunday performance. Four finalists are auditioning to become San Diego’s new Civic Organist.
Looking beyond the fountain in front of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Looking beyond the fountain in front of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Riding a bike through Balboa Park on a perfect summer Sunday.
Riding a bike through Balboa Park on a perfect summer Sunday afternoon.
A banner by door to the Balboa Park Visitors Center. Enjoy every little bit of summer.
A banner by door to the Balboa Park Visitors Center. Enjoy every little bit of summer.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

To read a few stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

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Photos outside beautiful new downtown courthouse.

Gazing up from Union Street at the unique new Superior Court building in downtown San Diego.
Gazing up from Union Street at the unique new Superior Court building in downtown San Diego.

Yesterday I walked past our beautiful new downtown courthouse. The opening of the high tech half billion dollar San Diego Central Courthouse has faced several delays, but the very unique exterior has already added more character to San Diego’s gleaming skyline.

Here are some photos. The rooftop canopy is rather unusual, as you can see. The crystal-like lattice of geometric reflections and shadows that it produces delights the eye.

The new San Diego Central Courthouse is nearly completed. It stands north across the C Street trolley tracks from the Hall of Justice.
The new San Diego Central Courthouse is nearly completed. It stands north across the C Street trolley tracks from the Hall of Justice. A pedestrian bridge connects both buildings.
Flags in a pleasant breeze. The new courthouse, most expensive in California, has faced various construction delays.
Flags in a pleasant breeze. The new courthouse, most expensive in California, has faced various construction delays.
This Superior Courthouse of California is across Union Street from the old courthouse, which will be torn down.
This new Superior Court of California building is across Union Street from the old, less-functional courthouse, which will be torn down.
Fascinating reflections and shadows on glass windows beneath a projecting rooftop canopy.
Fascinating reflections and shadows on glass windows beneath a projecting rooftop canopy.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Elegant interior of the historic U.S. Grant Hotel.

The south side of the historic U.S. Grant Hotel, as seen from an upper level of Horton Plaza. The 1910 Broadway Fountain is visible in Horton Plaza Park.
The south side of the historic U.S. Grant Hotel, as seen from an upper level of Horton Plaza. The 1910 Broadway Fountain is visible in Horton Plaza Park.

During last weekend’s San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017, I ventured into one of the event’s featured downtown locations: the historic U.S. Grant Hotel. I was able to get some photos of the hotel’s elegant interior!

The U.S. Grant was built by Ulysses S. Grant, Jr., the son of American President Ulysses S. Grant. The building was designed by architect Harrison Albright and built in the same spot where Alonzo Horton had his 1870 Horton House Hotel, which was demolished.

The U.S. Grant Hotel opened in 1910. It featured a steel and reinforced concrete framework to counter the threats of fire and California earthquakes. For over a hundred years the grand old hotel has stood prominently at the center of downtown San Diego. Notable guests have included 15 United States Presidents (there are 3 different presidential suites), Albert Einstein and Charles Lindbergh.

It’s also interesting to note the very first San Diego Comic-Con was held in the U.S. Grant, back in 1970.

The east side entrance of the elegant U.S. Grant Hotel on Fourth Avenue in downtown San Diego.
The east side entrance of the elegant U.S. Grant Hotel on Fourth Avenue in downtown San Diego.
I entered the hotel from the east entrance, where many guests arrive.
I entered the hotel from the east entrance, where many guests arrive.
The elegant interior just inside the east entrance.
The elegant interior just inside the east entrance.
Large glittering chandeliers add a glamorous touch throughout the posh hotel.
Large glittering chandeliers add a glamorous touch throughout the posh hotel.
Some beautiful artwork above stairs descending to the Crystal Ballroom.
Some beautiful artwork above stairs descending to the Crystal Ballroom.
Standing in the grand lobby, looking south toward the U.S. Grant Hotel's entrance on Broadway.
Standing in the grand lobby, looking south toward the U.S. Grant Hotel’s entrance on Broadway.
The U.S. Grant Hotel's front desk.
The U.S. Grant Hotel’s front desk.
The beautiful lobby, fit for royalty.
The beautiful lobby, fit for royalty.
A small sculpture near the Broadway entrance is titled Sweet Dreams, by artist David A. Montour.
A small sculpture near the Broadway entrance is titled Sweet Dreams, by artist David A. Montour.
Even the hotel elevators are beautiful.
Even the hotel elevators are beautiful.
A sitting area near the bank of elevators.
A sitting area near the bank of elevators.
Portraits along this wall include Native Americans. The U.S. Grant Hotel was bought by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation in 2003. It is operated by Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
Portraits along this wall include Native Americans. The U.S. Grant Hotel was bought by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation in 2003. It is operated by Starwood Hotels and Resorts.
North of the elevators is this large Presidential Portrait of Ulysses S. Grant.
North of the elevators is this large Presidential Portrait of Ulysses S. Grant.
Old photo of the Horton House, which stood at this downtown San Diego location before its demolition.
Old photo of the Horton House, which stood at this downtown San Diego location before its demolition.
Headline of The Evening Tribune announces the opening of the U.S. Grant Hotel on October 15, 1910.
Headline of The Evening Tribune announces the opening of the U.S. Grant Hotel on October 15, 1910.
On display is a 1910 US Grant Hotel door knob.
On display is a 1910 US Grant Hotel door knob.
A look across the U.S. Grant Hotel lobby from the mezzanine level. Pure elegance.
A look across the U.S. Grant Hotel lobby from the mezzanine level. Pure elegance.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Colorful stained glass windows of The Abbey.

Stained glass window and reflection in a mirror inside The Abbey on Fifth Avenue, originally the Park Place Methodist Episcopal Church.
Stained glass window, and its reflection in a mirror, inside The Abbey on Fifth Avenue.  The building was originally the Park Place Methodist Episcopal Church.

I’ve walked past The Abbey on Fifth Avenue many times over the years. I often pause to admire the monumental building’s Classical Revival style exterior and take a photo or two. But last weekend I finally ventured inside.

That’s because The Abbey was open to the public during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017. It was one of several fascinating places that I visited!

The Abbey on Fifth Avenue is utilized by Hornblower Cruises in San Diego for private parties, weddings and corporate events. In 1910, however, when its doors were first opened to welcome the people of San Diego, the building was a place of worship: the Park Place Methodist Episcopal Church. A gleaming gold leaf statue of the angel Gabriel stands atop the roof, blowing his horn, summoning eyes around Bankers Hill. Approach the building and one sees its dozen stained glass windows illustrating figures from the Bible.

Stained glass when viewed from outside a building can often appear a bit dull and unremarkable. When seen from inside, however . . . words can barely express the feeling. It’s like finding the end of a rainbow. It’s like stepping into a light-filled heaven.

Please enjoy some photos of The Abbey’s exterior and interior.

Today the Abbey on Fifth Avenue is operated by Hornblower Cruises and Events. Built as a church in 1910, the building has undergone various changes over the years. In 1984 it became a restaurant.
Today the Abbey on Fifth Avenue is operated by Hornblower Cruises and Events. Built as a church in 1910, the building has undergone various changes over the years. In 1984 it became a restaurant.
Photo of The Abbey taken from the intersection of Olive Street and Fifth Avenue in the Bankers Hill neighborhood, near downtown San Diego. A new building is under construction on its north side.
Photo of The Abbey taken from the intersection of Olive Street and Fifth Avenue in the Bankers Hill neighborhood. A new building is under construction on the north side.
Stained glass windows seen from the outside.
Stained glass windows seen from the street outside.
The 1910 Park Place Methodist Episcopal Church was built in the Classical Revival style, which is quite unusual in San Diego.
The 1910 Park Place Methodist Episcopal Church was built in the Classical Revival style, which is quite unusual in San Diego.
Gabriel blows his horn. Light reflecting from the gold leaf shines brightly like the sun.
Gabriel blows his horn. Light reflecting from the gold leaf shines brightly like the sun.
This gorgeous stained glass skylight and purple floor lights tinting the walls make a memorable dining experience at these tables on the second floor of The Abbey.
This gorgeous stained glass skylight and purple floor lights tinting the walls make a memorable dining experience at these tables on the second floor of The Abbey.
Another dome of stained glass in the ceiling.
Another dome of stained glass in the ceiling.
These doors on the second floor have beautiful floral stained glass panels.
These doors on the second floor have beautiful floral stained glass panels.
The interior of The Abbey on Fifth Avenue is a wonderland of colorful light.
The interior of The Abbey on Fifth Avenue is a wonderland of colorful light.
People pause by one of the south-facing stained glass windows.
People pause by one of the south-facing stained glass windows.
These tables along the second floor overlook a large space where people might dance or mingle during a special event.
These tables along the second floor overlook a large space where people might dance or mingle during a special event.
Stained glass shows classical columns and a cross in a crown.
Stained glass shows classical columns and a cross in a crown.
If I recall, this stained glass panel was in a door on the second floor. Those appear to be grapes.
If I recall, this stained glass panel was in a door on the second floor. Those appear to be grapes.
More stained glass behind dining tables on the north side of the second floor.
More stained glass behind dining tables on the north side of the second floor.
The many stained glass windows seem to fill the historic building with magic.
The many stained glass windows seem to fill the historic building with magic.
Close look at one window.
Close look at one window.
Christ portrayed in one radiant window.
Christ portrayed in one radiant window.
Religious figures near wine glasses hanging in a bar on the second floor. An interesting juxtaposition.
Religious figures near wine glasses hanging in a bar on the second floor. An interesting juxtaposition.
The beautiful stained glass is both mysterious and penetrating.
The beautiful stained glass is both mysterious and penetrating.
Another vibrant stained glass window portrays a risen Christ in heaven.
Another vibrant stained glass window portrays a risen Christ in heaven.
A scene from the Bible. One of many stained glass windows that fill The Abbey on Fifth Avenue with color and life.
A scene from the Bible. One of many stained glass windows that fill The Abbey on Fifth Avenue with color and life.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Art and history at the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

People walk along Broadway near the entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.
People walk along Broadway near the entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

One of the sites that I visited this weekend during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017 was the SDSU Downtown Gallery. I’d never stepped into the small art gallery before. Rotating exhibits feature the work of faculty and students at SDSU.

The building in which the gallery is housed, located at the corner of Kettner Boulevard and Broadway, served as the 1911 Station B power plant of the San Diego Electric Railway. The historic railway, which served a large area of early San Diego, was established by John D. Spreckels.

According to a short tour and handout I was given, a circa 1900 building at this location served as an earlier San Diego Electric Railway power house, railcar barn and paint shop. Some enormous doors still exist in the building today where train cars would enter and exit. I also learned the extravagant 1897 Los Banos bathhouse stood at the building’s northwest corner–but there remains no trace of that historic old structure.

In 1921, San Diego Consolidated Gas and Electric Company purchased Station B, and two additions to the building were subsequently made. The additions were designed by famed architect William Templeton Johnson.

Today the original Station B power plant contains powerful works of art, and forms a section of the base of the skyscraping Electra Building, a modern residential development built in 2008.

Please enjoy some photos of the gallery and the historic building.

If you love art and find yourself downtown while the gallery is open, swing on by!

I took this photo at another time. Now part of the high-rise Electra Building, this used to be the 1911 Station B power plant of the San Diego Electric Railway.
Now part of the high-rise Electra Building, this originally was the 1911 Station B power plant of the San Diego Electric Railway.
Historical ornamentation above the front entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.
Historical ornamentation above the front entrance of the SDSU Downtown Gallery.
Walk through these beads to enjoy a small but dynamic art gallery in downtown San Diego.
Walk through these beads to enjoy a small but dynamic art gallery in downtown San Diego.
Works on the gallery walls were produced by faculty and students at San Diego State University. Exhibits change every few months.
Works on the gallery walls were produced by faculty and students at San Diego State University. Exhibits change every few months.
Description of current gallery exhibit by faculty and students of San Diego State University. Every Which Way investigates artistic experience and human movement.
Description of current gallery exhibit by faculty and students of San Diego State University. Every Which Way investigates artistic experience and human movement.
Visitor to the gallery checks out thought-provoking artwork.
Visitor to the gallery checks out thought-provoking artwork.
Fear/Less, 2016, by Troy Guard.
Fear/Less, 2016, by Troy Guard.
Works of human imagination along one wall.
Works of human imagination along one wall.
The serigraphs on this wall were made by students in the SDSU Graphic Design program. Imagery depicts ocean and desert ecosystems as migratory environments.
The serigraphs on this wall were made by students in the SDSU Graphic Design program. Imagery depicts ocean and desert ecosystems as migratory environments.
More eye-catching works of art.
More eye-catching works of art.
Some of the pieces are quite unusual and creative.
Some of the pieces are quite unusual and creative.
A short talk begins in the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Just one fascinating tour during the San Diego Architectural Foundation's OPEN HOUSE 2017.
A short tour begins in the SDSU Downtown Gallery–Just one fascinating tour during the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s OPEN HOUSE 2017.
We are shown various photos, including Station B behind Santa Fe Depot in the 1960s. The smokestacks were removed in the 1980s.
We are shown various photos, including Station B behind Santa Fe Depot in the 1960s. The smokestacks were removed in the 1980s.
Old photo of Los Banos, a bathhouse which was located just south of Santa Fe Depot. The neo-Moorish structure designed by William S. Hebbard and Irving J. Gill opened in 1897.
Old photo of Los Banos, a bathhouse which was located just south of Santa Fe Depot. The neo-Moorish structure designed by William S. Hebbard and Irving J. Gill opened in 1897.
One of the enormous, heavy doors is opened from inside the historic building. I was told these were used for a railcar barn. Was coal for the power plant unloaded here? I don't know.
One of the enormous, heavy doors is opened from inside the historic building. I was told these were used for a railcar barn.
Our tour walks along Broadway side of the SDSU Downtown Gallery building.
Our small tour group walks down the sidewalk along the Broadway side of the SDSU Downtown Gallery building.
Now we are at the southeast corner of the large Electra Building, which rises above the historic San Diego Gas and Electric building.
Now we are at the southeast corner of the large Electra Building, which rises above the historic San Diego Gas and Electric building.
A symbolic painting inside the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Waves Inside, 2016, by Alison Zuniga.
A symbolic painting inside the SDSU Downtown Gallery. Waves Inside, 2016, by Alison Zuniga.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of fun photos for you to share and enjoy!