Mind-boggling optical illusion at Town and Country!

How many buildings greet you with a mind-boggling optical illusion? The Town and Country Resort’s convention center in Mission Valley does!

Stand by Fashion Valley Road in front of the convention center’s west entrance and stare at the seemingly 3-dimensional pattern between the doors. Or stare via your computer or phone at my final photograph.

What’s in?

What’s out?

What is a brain to do?

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

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Restoring history at the Gymnasium in Balboa Park!

The Municipal Gymnasium in San Diego’s Balboa Park is a popular destination for local athletes playing basketball. I like to venture inside during a weekend to watch part of a game.

I often wonder if those playing hoops in the old gym know they’re inside a historically important building that was constructed for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park.

The Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries building–today’s gymnasium–still retains an indication of its unique origin. Look down as you approach the front door and you’ll see this artwork in the entry…

I learned yesterday from local architect Robert Thiele (whose many accomplishments include designing the beautiful rotunda fountain inside the San Diego Museum of Art) that big changes are coming to this historic building. Decorative elements of the 1935 Palace of Electricity and Varied Industries are being restored!

Later this summer a fantastic 12′ x 20′ cold cast bronze panel will be hung above the entrance with bands of ornament above and below. You can see the bronze panel in that very first photograph.

Several architectural visualizations show how Balboa Park’s Municipal Gymnasium will appear once the panel is installed. Grand ornamental flourishes will crown both the building’s entrance and panel. Compare the following images.

Quite an amazing difference!

I’ve asked people who might be knowledgeable if this historic building, located next to three important San Diego museums, will continue to be used as a gym in the future, but that seems uncertain at this point. If anyone has more information concerning the Municipal Gymnasium’s fate, please leave a comment!

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 photos for you to enjoy!

Beautiful mural in the Arcade Building in La Jolla.

I met the creator of beautiful murals today!

I was walking through La Jolla’s scenic Ellen Browning Scripps Park, gazing at the ocean, when I came upon a friendly artist selling some prints and a decorative surfboard. I soon learned that she is also a muralist, and that she has painted a very colorful mural in La Jolla’s Arcade Building!

So afterward I guided my feet in that direction!

Melanie Sojourner-Truth Atesalp is the artist’s name. Now that I’ve read her bio, I can see why her smile is so deep.

Her unique background and life experiences can be read at her website here. She’s all about imagination and laughter, healing and wisdom. She designed the large mural at the new SDSU Healing Garden and Meditation Space. Right now she’s concentrating on creating graphic novels and writing children’s literature.

If you like the mural you’re about to see, check out her website where there is art you can purchase!

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!

Frida Kahlo and colored patterns on a fence!

Check out this cool, unexpected art I discovered during a walk last weekend!

I was heading down Main Street in Barrio Logan when I looked up 30th Street and glimpsed this artwork on a fence!

Colorful plastic squares had been applied to a chain link fence along Boston Avenue near Interstate 5. This artwork continues for several blocks! In addition to dozens of varied diamond patterns, I spied the above “portrait” of Frida Kahlo!

I’m not sure when this art was created or by whom. It appeared to me as if it had been on that fence for years.

If I hadn’t casually glanced up an ordinary street that I was walking past, I would never have seen this.

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!

More fascinating doors around San Diego!

Here’s another batch of fascinating door photographs!

I have a little extra time indoors this wintry morning, so I’m going through some old photos in my computer. These images were collected in the past month or so during walks all around San Diego.

You might notice many of the ornate wooden doors are in a Mexican style that is popular in Southern California.

The unmistakable front doors of the iconic California Building in Balboa Park, home of the Museum of Us.
Huge door to the downtown power substation that was designed by famed architect Richard Requa.

If you want to learn more about the above building, which sort of resembles a castle, click here.

Strange service door on curved side of the Portside Pier restaurants on the Embarcadero.
Unique door to El Chingon in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Unusual door I spotted during a walk somewhere.

The next four doors were all observed on Congress Street in Old Town. I really like these…

Finally, the last two doors can be found among the International Cottages in Balboa Park…

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!

Firefighters Sculpture at San Ysidro fire station.

Over the years I’ve photographed several works of public art located in front of San Diego fire stations. This weekend I saw another example. A very cool sculpture stands near the entrance of San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Station 29 in San Ysidro!

Firefighters Sculpture is the title of this piece, which was created by Jeri Deneen in 2005. The artist is part of Deneen Powell Atelier, a nationally recognized, award-winning San Diego landscape design firm that has undertaken major projects locally and across the nation. Their work can be enjoyed at the United States Botanic Garden and United States National Arboretum, not to mention inside the San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park.

According to the San Diego Civic Art Collection web page here, Firefighters Sculpture is “formed from a two-dimensional, trapezoidal panel of weathered, Cor-ten steel perforated with laser-cut figures rendered in a graphic “stencil” style. The sculpture depicts three firemen kneeling in profile as they work together to hold a fire hose. The nozzle of the hose spouts “water” which is represented by a vertical glass shard, translucent during the day and illuminated from within at night…

To see more public art at San Diego fire stations, click here and here and here!

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 photos for you to enjoy!

Malcolm Leland’s modernist designs in San Diego.

Malcolm Leland was an influential modernist sculptor and architectural designer whose work can be seen in important structures around Southern California. He lived in San Diego for much of his life, and the city is home to several fine examples of his work.

I became aware of Malcoln Leland recently while watching a very informative San Diego Museum of Art video here. When I visited the artist’s website, I soon realized I’ve seen many examples of his work during my walks around the city!

In the past few weeks I’ve revisited places where his often iconic mid-century modern designs can be found. In many instances his elegant designs were used to create stylish decorative elements. Most of his work is in pre-cast aluminum and concrete. I took photographs in Balboa Park, Fashion Valley, and San Diego’s downtown Civic Center, which I’ll now share!

First up are his organically intertwining aluminum gates, and his gracefully shaped concrete columns and the archlike fascia above them at the San Diego Museum of Art’s outdoor May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden and Court…

Next, check out his beautifully ornate fascia along the rooftop of the Elmer C. Otto Center at the San Diego Zoo…

Next are his façades on several sides of the JC Penney building in the Fashion Valley shopping mall. They were made using panels molded out of copper sheets.

Originally water tricked down the sculptural panels, which were meant to oxidize and turn turquoise. But maintenance problems shut the unique fountains, and the panels were painted over. You can still see a little bit of copper orange in my photos…

Next is Malcoln Leland’s “Bow Wave” bronze sculpture fountain, in downtown’s Civic Center Plaza near the Community Concourse building.

In my photos the water feature is off. When on, the sculpture appears to be a ship’s bow moving forward through a spray of water. Leland’s once controversial sculpture is now much loved, and is listed in the Smithsonian’s inventory of art.

The previous photo was taken from the Civic Center’s multi-level Evan V. Jones Parkade parking garage, which features more instances of Malcolm Leland’s work.

Decorative panels around the perimeter of the parking garage and forming arches inside the garage were designed by Leland and made from pre-cast concrete.

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 photos for you to enjoy!

Fantastic architecture at Oceanside Civic Center.

Uniquely beautiful civic centers can be found all around San Diego County. I’ve photographed many of them. But the Oceanside Civic Center might be my favorite.

I walked randomly about the Oceanside Civic Center complex last weekend and was amazed by everything I saw.

As you can see from various plaques I photographed, the original Oceanside Fire Station (also called Oceanside Engine House and Police Station) was built in 1929/1930, and the original City Hall and Library were completed in 1934. They were designed by Irving Gill, a renowned San Diego architect who is now a recognized major figure in the modern movement. His welcoming simplicity, unadorned classic lines and graceful arches have appeared in various places on my blog. His style has been described as cubist. You can see that signature style in these photographs as well. Designing buildings for the City of Oceanside was the final monumental project of his career.

As you can see on another plaque, a City Hall renovation was completed in 1957, and as you can read in this article, a large new Oceanside Civic Center and Public Library were completed in 1990. The large complex “designed by Charles Moore emulated the styling of Irving Gill (with) the white arches and simple architecture…Moore remarked about Gill’s legacy: “We use his plain white walls, his unadorned concrete arcades, disciplined fenestration and flat roofs as our architectural vocabulary, and then allow ourselves the exuberance of bright colors with tiles in niches at the entrances, in the jambs and soffits of deep set openings, and through the contrast of palms and broad-leafed plants surrounding our structure.”

The Oceanside Museum of Art, with its exquisite 1972 Opus sculpture by James Hubbell situated near the entrance, is another beautiful part of the large civic center complex. It occupies the original City Hall.

In the same article, you can read that “After renovation of the interior of building, the Museum of Art opened to the public on October 6, 1997. In 2008, a new addition to the Oceanside Museum of Art was dedicated in 2008. The contemporary, three-level 15,000 square foot addition designed by architect Fredrick Fisher sits alongside the historic building designed by architect Irving Gill, who redefined the architectural landscape of Southern California.”

Should you ever visit Oceanside, California, look for the big colorful fountain at the corner of North Coast Highway and Pier View Way. Then take a stroll through one of the most fantastic civic centers you’re likely to ever see!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

The unique bridges of Torrey Pines State Beach.

If you’ve walked along or driven past Torrey Pines State Beach, your eyes have probably lingered on two very different, uniquely picturesque bridges.

The North Torrey Pines Road Bridge, which crosses the narrow ocean inlet to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, was completed in 2005, replacing a 1932 structure that was neither earthquake-proof nor environmentally friendly. The new 340 feet long bridge was designed with only four columns, which allows for better natural tidal flushing of the lagoon. The graceful design has won numerous engineering awards.

As you can see in my photographs, the bridge fits in beautifully with the nearby beach and eyes are drawn to the sand and bright water. Next to the bridge is a preserved concrete chunk of the old bridge it replaced, with the original date of 1932.

The second, more elaborate bridge whose arches have a uniquely Gothic appearance is 553 feet long and crosses the railroad tracks at the north end of Torrey Pines State Beach. It has been variously called High Bridge, the Sorrento Overhead, or North Torrey Pines Bridge. Built in 1933, it facilitated increasing car traffic along the coast highway just south of Del Mar–part of the main route that connected San Diego to Los Angeles.

High Bridge was built to replace a railroad underpass located a short distance to the south. The original road was winding, steep, and the railroad’s wooden trestle was susceptible to flooding.

The picturesque but aging High Bridge was retrofitted between 2011 and 2014, thereby avoiding a proposed replacement.

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 photos for you to enjoy!

The colorful new Cesar Chavez Park Mural.

During my walk last weekend through Cesar Chavez Park, I was delighted to see a bright new mural painted on the long wall behind the park’s expanse of grass.

When I approached the mural, I noticed it was painted by Pandr Design Co. In my previous blog post you saw another mural that these artists recently painted! That one is on Market Street in downtown San Diego!

This new Cesar Chavez Park Mural was commissioned by the Port of San Diego. According to a nearby sign, this artwork brings color and inspiration to the park, creates a sense of place, and enhances the cultural richness of the Port’s waterfront.

It does!

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 photos for you to enjoy!