Playing with design at the Mingei!

A super fun and enjoyable exhibit is now on display at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park!

Toying with Design intentionally coincides with San Diego Design Week 2022, which concludes today. Fortunately, however, this very unique exhibit will continue on until February 2023.

So what will visitors to one corner of the Mingei’s upstairs gallery see? Lots of clever designs! Including all sorts of inspired designs that make common functional household items as playful as toys!

I particularly enjoyed how ordinary kitchen utensils were creatively infused with surprising humor!

Check it out!

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!

Architecture delights eyes at Linda Vista library.

I took these photographs of the Linda Vista Library earlier this year. It’s about time I shared them!

Look at the fascinating architecture of this very unique building. Like many projects that were designed by local architect Rob Wellington Quigley, the geometry one encounters is unexpected and complex.

Eyes wandering over the varied exterior make delightful discoveries. Then you walk through the door into the light filled interior with its many angled beams and become even more amazed!

San Diego’s current Linda Vista Branch Library opened in 1987. When I took these photos, the green trees at the front entrance obscured some of the building. But the essential beauty of the design comes through.

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!

Will this be your futuristic “wearable” car in 2050?

A futuristic car–a new form of wearable machine–is presently on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park.

The Nissan GT-R 2050 is a full-size prototype made at Nissan Design America, San Diego. It was designed by student intern Jaebum “JB” Choi to be an autonomous, human-connected vehicle of the far future!

According to the Nissan website, The completed project runs just under 10 feet long and sits just over two feet high. The single occupant, the driver, rests horizontally in a “prone” position with limbs extended in an X-shape. The driver wears a futuristic, form-fitting suit and helmet that resembles a superbike riders’ protective helmets and leathers.

Does it come with a Bat Cave, too?

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!

Beautiful geometry at South Chula Vista Library.

In the quiet of a public library, the world’s infinite pages readily open and curious minds flourish.

Certain libraries offer even more. They are designed for the spirit. The South Branch of the Chula Vista Library is such a place. It’s an urban retreat where eyes hungry for beauty can feast!

I walked around the South Chula Vista Library last weekend. I had never visited it before.

The building’s unusual architecture became apparent as I approached from the street.

Wandering about, I was struck by the many basic geometric shapes that, joined together, help produce the library’s unique beauty. Colorful forms are contrasted with green plant life, and the many indoor and outdoor windows make the library feel like a fluid three-dimensional space that’s both intimate and part of a larger sunny world. Anyway, that’s what I felt. I felt inspired.

The South Chula Vista Branch Library was built under the direction of renowned Mexican architect Ricardo Legorretta in 1995. Learn more about the architect and his other work here.

I took these random photos…

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!

Photos of the historic Old Scripps Building.

Enjoy a few photographs of the historic Old Scripps Building, at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla.

Today the building is referred to as the George H. Scripps Memorial Marine Biological Laboratory. Located on the oceanfront campus a short distance south of the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, it stands next to a grassy area called Pawka Green.

Built 1909-1910, the Old Scripps Building was the original home of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which back then was called the Marine Biological Laboratory. The rather modest building (in which founder and director William Emerson Ritter and his wife also lived) contained research laboratories, offices, and even a public aquarium.

Today, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography has grown into a world-famous campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and is part of the University of California, San Diego.

The two-story Old Scripps Building might appear plain at first glance, but look again. The simple, elegant building was designed by none other than renowned architect Irving Gill. His pioneering Modernist designs often integrated simple lines and pure forms. In Southern California’s brilliant sunshine, his spaces are light-filled and welcoming. He also pioneered the use of reinforced concrete. This building is one such example.

In 1982 the Old Scripps Building, due to its historical importance, was designated a National Historic Landmark.

The adjacent Pawka green is dedicated to Steven Sitter Pawka, Ph.D., Scripps Institution of Oceanography coastal oceanographer and waterman. His sophisticated observations and numerical models improved prediction of coastal waves throughout the world.

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!

An idea for San Diego-Tijuana World Design Capital in 2024.

Last Saturday, at the conclusion of the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Open House tour of the Design and Innovation Building at UC San Diego, our group listened to a talk on the second floor concerning San Diego-Tijuana’s designation as World Design Capital in 2024. (Wow, that’s quite a sentence!)

Needless to say, it’s super exciting that our two-city cross-border metropolitan area has received such a distinguished award. Read more about the many efforts that were undertaken to achieve this recognition here.

As World Design Capital, San Diego-Tijuana will not only showcase our region’s optimistic culture of progress and innovation, but it will be a chance for people in the community to come together and catalyze positive change!

As I listened to the talk, full of high-sounding jargon, outlining future events for professionals, I wondered what would excite ordinary people (like me) and spur greater involvement from the public. And an idea popped: why not have a big, fun, family-friendly World Design Fair event in Balboa Park? Something akin to the parkwide, very popular Maker Faire?

Designers, inventors, educators, planners, makers, futurists, environmentalists, kids, scientists, students, museums, civic leaders, dreamers . . . all coming together to celebrate, share ideas, learn and have fun!

And on top of that, it’s our amazing, beloved 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!

Exhibit of 19th century patent models at UCSD.

Anyone interested in inventions, technology and history would love an exhibit now on display at UC San Diego. The fourth floor of the Design and Innovation Building is where you’ll find Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention.

The exhibit features 19th century patent models from the collection of the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware.

Some of the artifacts might appear primitive and quaint to those who live in the 21st century, but they’re a reminder that unlimited human imagination and generations of visionaries, experimenters and builders have produced the complex technology that we take for granted today.

I walked around the exhibit last Saturday, peering into various glass display cases and reading signs that detail the history and progress of American invention.

I learned that by the late 1860’s, during the golden age of American invention, more than 13,000 patents were issued every year. But as applications continued to increase in number, the resulting deluge of patent models became difficult to cope with. After a change in regulations by the Commissioner of Patents in 1880, models eventually became a rare part of the patent application process.

Inventors highlighted in the exhibit include women, immigrants and people of color, and there are descriptions of struggles through the years for equal recognition and opportunity. Many of the inventors were “everyday” people inspired by a really good idea.

Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention is open through November 6, 2022. Reservations are required. You can reserve a tour by visiting this page.

I took a few photos…

The spirit of ingenuity characterizes America…
Patent Model – Life-preserving state room for navigable vessels. Patent #20,426.
Patent Model – Improvement in electro-magnetic induction-coils. Patent #138,316.
Women invented in industries ranging from agriculture to shipping…
Patent models by 19th century women inventors.

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 tour of UCSD’s new Design and Innovation Building.

Last Saturday I enjoyed a tour inside the new Design and Innovation Building at UC San Diego. The special tour, part of the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s annual Open House event, was one of many opportunities for the public to go “behind the scenes” at fascinating places around the city.

The Design and Innovation Building opened late last year. This great article describes the building as “A place where disruptive ideas come together to spark learning, technology, collaboration and new ventures.”

Inside the building it feels very spacious. Hallways are lined with large inside windows, allowing one to see activity in classrooms and labs and practically everywhere you turn. From the third floor you can look up through part of the ceiling to see the fourth floor. Even during the tour when the building was quiet, I had the feeling that I was moving freely through an incredible, connected, creative space.

The floors, from first to fourth, are called: The Basement, Maker Space, The Design Lab and the Entrepreneurship Center. Our student tour guide described how ideas proceed upward through the building, forming in The Basement, undergoing design and testing in the Maker Space, then rising to the Entrepreneurship Center where products can be brought to market. The Design Lab is where “faculty from the arts, humanities, engineering and the sciences join forces to solve complex issues related to education, health, mobility, communication and urban planning.”

The building will eventually include a good old restaurant on the first floor, but above all it was designed to inspire innovation.

I was excited to discover a museum-like room on the fourth floor of the building, with a gallery full of inventions! The exhibit is titled Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention. It was so cool, I think I’ll post a separate blog concerning it!

Now, to give you a taste of what our tour group saw, on with the photos…

Looking into a classroom on the first floor of the Design and Innovation Building.
Bits of stimulating art on the first floor.
Looking down from the second floor.
A room where there are seminars open to the public. At the conclusion of the building tour, our group heard a talk here about the selection of San Diego-Tijuana as 2024 World Design Capital.
We walk out onto the second floor terrace, with great views across UCSD, including the nearby trolley station.
Walking through the Maker Space on the second floor.
Display includes rapid prototyping.
I took this quick pic as we moved along.
Windows into the future.
A metalworking shop, if I recall correctly.
Tables where people with unique ideas can freely interact.
Gazing up from the third to the fourth floor.
One fascinating room at the Design Lab: Speculative Ecology and Bioarchitecture.
A room on the fourth floor where students can speak to entrepreneurs.
Social Contract on a fourth floor wall. I am joining an inclusive, collaborative community of partners. Together we will extend and expand the innovation economy in San Diego…
Nearby post-it dreams. Seeing beyond the horizon…Curating your knowledge and influence to create or envision something new…Solve problem in a new way…Opportunity and solutions with flare…

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!

Open House tour of San Diego’s Waterfront Park.

Last Sunday I enjoyed a fascinating tour of Waterfront Park in San Diego. The special public tour was part of the 2022 San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Open House event.

Our small group was guided by Glen and Jeff of Schmidt Design Group, landscape architects who worked on the Waterfront Park project almost ten years ago. The park opened to the public in 2014. (I was there for the big grand opening! You can see many photographs taken during that historic day by clicking here!)

As we walked around the beautiful park, where two large parking lots originally existed, we learned so many facts I failed to jot many down!

I did note that the two stretches of fountains on either side of the County Administration Building together are 830 feet long. The fountain design was tricky, because the water in the basin where children jump and play could be only one inch deep, due to safety concerns. The fountains utilize an 80,000 gallon water tank, and the 31 jets spray water 12 to 14 feet high.

The fountains were to be set in marble, but to save tens of millions of dollars, specially applied concrete made to look like marble was utilized instead.

The parking garage under the south end of Waterfront Park is below the water table (San Diego Bay is a block to the west), and consequently various innovative measures were taken to keep water from seeping in. I was surprised that, like the nearby County Administration Building, piles were driven 100 feet deep into bedrock to support and stabilize the structure!

The “hill” with a slide in the wonderful, very popular playground was built up with high density foams blocks. (The same hill referred to as Tony Gwynn’s opposing “pitching mound” when the park’s sculptures by Niki de Saint Phalle debuted back in 2015. See those fun photos here!)

One bit of information really surprised me. There had initially been plans to install Dr. Seuss sculptures around the playground! The Grinch and his dog Max were to stand atop the hill. The Cat in the Hat would welcome kids near the fountain area. Our group didn’t hear why that plan fell through.

We did learn how, during Waterfront Park’s construction, large old palm trees and the San Diego County Law Enforcement Memorial were moved. We saw the bits of shining, sparkling mica that were placed in the concrete around the memorial.

We learned how the large garden at the north end of the park was designed to be a beautiful, contemplative area. And, indeed, it is.

The garden is divided into three sections. The north “grass” or “meadow” garden with 15 varieties of grass; the middle Mediterranean garden with sages, rosemary, lavender and Torrey pines; and the south “tropical” or “diversity” garden, with plumeria, bird of paradise and many other lush plants.

Irrigation for the park requires 8 million gallons per year! But this free, very popular “water park” serves hundreds of thousands of San Diego residents every year, many arriving by trolley from less affluent neighborhoods.

Lastly, we learned how the County of San Diego will soon be removing the garden, and replacing it with a dog park, basketball and pickleball courts, and other recreational amenities. I suppose the change is both sad and exciting. As they say, there are two sides to every coin.

I’ll be watching the progress of that project and will probably be taking photos in the future!

This is where the proposed Cat in the Hat sculpture would have stood!
Donal Hord’s iconic Guardian of Water sculpture stands in the background. Learn a little more about it here.
The present location of the San Diego County Law Enforcement Memorial.
Part of the Waterfront Park garden. The large garden will be removed to make way for sports facilities.

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!

Nature’s beauty and Hubbell art at Briercrest Park.

One of San Diego’s most beautiful community parks is located in La Mesa. It’s called Briercrest Park.

I toured Briercrest Park yesterday during the 2022 San Diego Architectural Foundation’s annual Open House event.

The winding paths I walked along were shiny wet from a recent rain. The grass was green. The air was fresh, the sun peeking out from behind clouds. Surrounding nature smelled so good. I felt at peace.

I soon learned that feeling was by design.

Our tour group gathered by an amazing mosaic labyrinth created by renowned local artist James Hubbell. His architect son, Drew, was on hand to tell us about the Hubbell created public art around the park. Glen of Schmidt Design Group, the landscape architect who designed the park some 20 years ago, was also there.

Well, you can see in my upcoming photos what an extraordinary place this is.

I’ll let my photo captions explain some of what I learned.

Walking into the park by one pathway from Wakarusa Street.

The above map near one entrance contains information about Briercrest Park, which was designed to emphasize the “healing and restorative values of green park space in an urban environment.”

The site, originally a reservoir, features a central wetland where water runoff collects. Turf mounds radiate outward from the watery center, like expanding ripples. Gentle bridges add a scenic touch. Native drought tolerant plants and trees are lush, providing refuge for the spirit.

Kids are encouraged to meander about, explore the fun playground, art and nature. Who knows what they might discover?

This butterfly glass mosaic was assembled by Emilie Ledieu, one of the artists in residence at James Hubbell’s Ilan-Lael Foundation, located near Santa Ysabel, California, in the mountains east of San Diego.
One plaque on a park bench. Live Well – Love Much – Laugh Often…
Many benches in the park were designed to accommodate people in wheelchairs.
An herb garden, maintained by a local gardening club, provides a sensory experience. I smelled sage.
The playground has numerous fun elements, including these critters.
Path by the central wetlands, with lots of greenery and boulders and stone benches for meditation.
An area of open grass. The unique restrooms are in the distance.
Hubbell mosaics can be found on three sides of the beautiful structure, said to be the only park restrooms in San Diego with stained glass!
Organic mosaic above and around drinking fountains appear a bit like a watery landscape.
Mosaic on one side. The vertical blue lines are like cascading water.
The other side. The flowing mosaic almost seems to have the shape of a heron.
Stained glass window seen from inside the men’s restroom, made with durable resin.
Tiles around another small garden space created by local school children.
The very beautiful Hubbell labyrinth. One begins at water, passes through space, and arrives at the bright flaming center.
Tables set up for the Open House tour visitors. That’s Emilie the artist in red. People could help build two small mosaics!
One of the small example mosaics in progress.
A smile!
This looks like a very cool book concerning the history of this neighborhood. La Mesa’s Severin Grossmont Hills and Vicinity.
We have gathered near the labyrinth for a talk at the beginning of the tour. Look at that sunlight in trees.
That’s Glen Schmidt on the left and Drew Hubbell on the right, standing near a small climbing structure.
Glen, the friendly landscape architect, explains concepts behind Briercrest Park’s creation.
We look at one concept image board. Emphasized are accessibility, the senses, nature, serenity, and even music! I didn’t photograph it, but one area is equipped with outdoor chimes and other musical instruments to freely play.
Drew Hubbell leads the way.
We stroll through a very beautiful 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!

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!