Photos from under the historic Cabrillo Bridge.

Few people admire Balboa Park’s historic Cabrillo Bridge from below–unless it’s a brief glimpse as they drive into or out of downtown San Diego along State Route 163.

Today I followed a dirt trail from Balboa Park’s West Mesa down to the base of the Cabrillo Bridge. I started at Nate’s Point Dog Park, descended quickly and soon found myself walking under the 40 feet wide, 120 feet high, 1,505 feet long marvel of engineering. (The dramatic main span is 450 feet.)

The very beautiful Cabrillo Bridge, which crosses Cabrillo Canyon, was finished in 1914 in time for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The multiple-arched cantilever structure was the first bridge of its kind in California. According to Wikipedia: “An initial design for the bridge was developed by Bertram Goodhue that featured three large arches. The design was to be similar to Toledo, Spain’s Alcántara Bridge. However, Frank P. Allen, Jr. convinced Balboa Park commissioners to choose a cheaper design by Thomas B. Hunter of San Francisco that looked similar to other bridges in Mexico and Spain.”

The Cabrillo Bridge with its seven arches is made of reinforced concrete. 7,700 cubic yards of it! Inside the bridge there is 4,050 tons of steel. You might notice how the bridge’s graceful design resembles a Roman aqueduct. It has a simple, classic appearance that is both iconic and pleasing to the eye.

In 1975 the Cabrillo Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1986 it was designated a San Diego Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

In a couple of my early photos, which I took periodically as I walked down the trail, you can see Balboa Park’s distinctive California Tower rising just beyond the east end of the bridge.

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The art and color of Kimono: A Living History.

A week ago, when I visited the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park, I stepped into the Inamori Pavilion. There I found an exhibit, titled Kimono: A Living History, that features exquisite kimonos that are truly works of art.

By looking at the many displays and reading signs, I learned about this traditional Japanese clothing, which is often worn during special occasions, including weddings and tea ceremonies. I learned a little about the history of the kimono, from the ancient Yayoi period all the way to modern times, and how each kimono is made and worn. I learned that a formal kimono will include a family crest, which is a stylized motif within a circle.

What impressed me most was the beauty of the kimonos themselves. Their colors often reflect the season, and the designs can be simple or elaborate, but always very pleasing to the eye. Each appears like a painted canvas. To wear a kimono is to wear a work of art.

Here’s just a little of what I saw…

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Patterned tile benches outside Santa Fe Depot.

Some very unique benches are arranged around the perimeter of the outdoor courtyard at downtown’s Santa Fe Depot. The courtyard, featuring a fountain near its center, is located directly south of the large passenger waiting room.

These tile benches present an eye-pleasing variety of colorful patterns. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice their symmetric patterns are derived from the “cross” of the Santa Fe Railway logo, which consists of a cross inside a circle.

During an architectural tour of the Santa Fe Depot that I took a couple years ago, I learned these benches were installed in the 1980’s. I learned quite a lot during that special tour! If you want to read more about the historic train station, and about the original forecourt that existed a hundred years ago, long before these outdoor benches appeared, you can find images and descriptions from that architectural tour here.

For an example of the Santa Fe railroad’s logo, check out the next photo from that tour. It was taken inside the enormous and truly amazing passenger waiting room.

Now on to the outdoor benches…

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Geometric patterns in a city.

Walking through a city is like navigating through a sea of geometric patterns!

On all sides: circles, lines, triangles, squares, rectangles!

Look up, look down. See the grates, ironwork, bricks, manhole covers. See the windows and reflections. You’ll find yourself surrounded by architecture designed mathematically.

Some of the patterns are simple. Others are complex.

When you walk through a city, what shapes and patterns do you see?

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!

Amazing life-size cardboard superhero sculptures!

Wow!

Did you step inside the Comic-Con Museum during 2019 December Nights? If you did, you saw an exhibit that was absolutely amazing!

Young artists Connor and Bauer Lee have created fantastic life-size cardboard sculptures of popular Marvel and DC superheroes, plus various Pixar and Star Wars movie characters!

I believe I recognized: Groot, Black Manta holding a mace, a tiny X-wing starfighter, Wall-E, a gigantic Hulkbuster armor (under construction), Thor’s Stormbreaker hammer, Iron Man, C-3PO, R2-D2, Baby Groot, Wonder Woman, plus other fantastic creations including several superhero masks.

The two brothers have been building these cardboard models for many years. I spoke to Connor briefly and he explained that they select an image of a popular character, blow it up, then begin to craft the sculpture based on that initial design. I asked how long it might take to finish the enormous, extremely complex Hulkbuster armor sculpture you see in my photos, and he said about a year.

According to the Cardboard Superheroes website: We hold free workshops for kids in an effort to promote the arts for youth as we’ve see funding for the arts being cut in school and are working to provide an alternative that is free and fun for kids.

That’s definitely a super cool and inspirational project! I’m sure young students everywhere would love to be creative and make their favorite characters with simple cardboard!

I hope local schools take advantage of what appears to be an awesome opportunity. For more info, you can contact Cardboard Superheroes at their website 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!

Light, water and beauty at Escondido City Hall.

Escondido City Hall was built in 1988. Its design remains remarkable today. Walk around the stately but welcoming building, and you’ll be greeted by light, water and beauty.

I enjoyed a look at City Hall’s award-winning architecture during my visit to Escondido last weekend. In the past I’ve been able to venture inside, and I can tell you the functional interior is just as spacious and friendly.

You can learn more about the history of the Escondido Civic Center here.

My photos include the large fountain by Grape Day Park and the fantastic open dome at the building’s entrance.

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 beneath I-805 bridge in Mission Valley.

Yesterday morning I jumped off the Green Line trolley at the Rio Vista station. I walked east over Qualcomm Way via the pedestrian bridge then continued down the little-used walkway that runs parallel to the trolley tracks.

I had never gone that way before.

The concrete walkway leads behind the Marriott Mission Valley and several large, gleaming office buildings and finally terminates by a parking lot directly beneath the very impressive I-805 freeway bridge.

I turned my camera upward and snapped photos beneath the tall landmark bridge!

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 inspired by nature . . . and UFOs!

An exhibition of truly amazing architectural designs recently opened at the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

Radiant Architecture: The Visionary Work of Eugene Ray showcases the futuristic architectural concepts of an emeritus professor from San Diego State University, who taught Environmental Design from 1969 to 1996.

Those who have driven through La Jolla might have seen the fantastic house and studio he built at 1699 Nautilus Street. It’s commonly referred to as the Silver Ship. It was erected in 1978 with the help of Environmental Design students from SDSU.

It’s no surprise that many of Eugene Ray’s designs appear a bit like spaceships. His inspiration comes not only from simple, efficient, resilient forms found in nature, but from his life-changing sighting of a UFO in 1947 when he was a boy.

According to one sign I read, many of the innovative designs synthesized “Ray’s concepts of the synergy of color, light, and sound to create holistic, healing and energizing environments.” He also sought to create modular structures, which would be affordable and easily assembled.

I was told that his organic, biomorphic designs are so futuristic, unusual and brilliant that world-famous science fiction author Ray Bradbury at one time had plans to make a movie about Eugene Ray’s work.

Here are a few photos of the original drawings, prototypes, renderings and highly creative artwork currently on display. This very cool exhibition at the SDSU Downtown Gallery runs through October 6, 2019.

James A. Perry Residence - New Orleans, Louisiana, 1968.
James A. Perry Residence – New Orleans, Louisiana, 1968.
Aerodyne Sports House - 1984.
Aerodyne Sports House – 1984.
Nautilus Street Residence aka The Silver Ship - La Jolla, California, 1978.
Nautilus Street Residence aka The Silver Ship – La Jolla, California, 1978.
Blueprint of The Silver Ship, designed by Eugene Ray, located at 1699 Nautilus Street in La Jolla, California.
Blueprint of The Silver Ship, designed by Eugene Ray, located in La Jolla, California.
Pavilion for Holy Cross High School - New Orleans, Louisiana, 1967.
Pavilion for Holy Cross High School – New Orleans, Louisiana, 1967.
Untitled, Eugene Ray, 1969 (restored 2019). Acrylic and aluminum on canvas.
Untitled, Eugene Ray, 1969 (restored 2019). Acrylic and aluminum on canvas.

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!

Radiant Spire proposed for Notre Dame.

Appearance of rebuilt Notre Dame Cathedral with Radiant Spire, designed by architect Eugene Ray.
Appearance of rebuilt Notre Dame Cathedral with Radiant Spire, designed by San Diego architect Eugene Ray.

I guess it’s too late now. Last month the French Parliament passed a law that states Notre Dame Cathedral must be restored to its exact condition before the recent, catastrophic fire.

But how might Paris have appeared if Notre Dame were crowned by a glowing spire?

The Radiant Spire is a fantastic concept created by architect Eugene Ray, who from 1969 to 1996 headed the Environmental Design program at San Diego State University. In 2019, with the help of architect Joe Cordelle, he designed a geodesic structure that unites a cone and sphere, and which radiates light.

I saw these images today while visiting the exhibition Radiant Architecture: The Visionary Work of Eugene Ray at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. As a proposal the Radiant Spire is inspiring and very beautiful.

But, alas, it will remain an idea.

Description of Radiant Spire for Notre Dame Cathedral. The elegant structure evokes an exuberant spirituality reaching skywards...
Description of Radiant Spire for rebuilt Notre Dame Cathedral. The elegant structure evokes an exuberant spirituality reaching skywards…
Elevation view of proposed spire for Notre Dame.
Elevation view of proposed spire for Notre Dame.

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!

Art from the Mingei at Central Library gallery!

Belly Warmer, 1973, sterling silver, leather, wood. Arline M. Fisch.
Belly Warmer, 1973, sterling silver, leather, wood. Arline M. Fisch.

While the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park undergoes it’s monumental renovation and expansion (read about that here), select pieces from their permanent collection are on display at the San Diego Central Library’s Art Gallery.

The title of this exhibition is Crafting Opportunity: Mid-Century Work from the Collection of Mingei International Museum. Head up to the Central Library’s 9th floor gallery and you’ll discover unique and experimental pieces by noted artists and craftsmen, many of whom are from the San Diego region. You’ll see beautiful ceramics, fashion, metalwork, furniture and a surprising variety of other objects. Some of these pieces, representing the post World War II designer-craftsman movement, are on public display for the very first time!

I walked to East Village early this afternoon to see for myself!

Make sure you check this exhibition out before it ends on July 28, 2019.

A look at the current exhibition in the San Diego Central Library's art gallery. Crafting Opportunity: Mid-Century Work from the Collection of Mingei International Museum.
A look at the current exhibition in the San Diego Central Library’s art gallery. Crafting Opportunity: Mid-Century Work from the Collection of Mingei International Museum.
Vase, c. 1959, glazed stoneware. Harrison McIntosh.
Vase, c. 1959, glazed stoneware. Harrison McIntosh.
Owl, c. 1960, glazed stoneware. Marg Loring.
Owl, c. 1960, glazed stoneware. Marg Loring.
Untitled, c. 1965, mosaic and enameling. Ellamarie Woolley.
Untitled, c. 1965, mosaic and enameling. Ellamarie Woolley.
Plate, 1979, stoneware, porcelain. Peter Voulkos, who was drawn to the Zen notion of looseness of form and unpredictability.
Plate, 1979, stoneware, porcelain. Peter Voulkos, who was drawn to the Zen notion of looseness of form and unpredictability.
Bowl, 1954, glazed earthenware. Laura Andreson.
Bowl, 1954, glazed earthenware. Laura Andreson.
The Superior Masculine Mind, date unknown, glazed stoneware. Beatrice Wood, whose work often contains a playful feminist angle.
The Superior Masculine Mind, date unknown, glazed stoneware. Beatrice Wood, whose work often contains a playful feminist angle.
Weed Pots, c. 1965, glazed stoneware. Wayne Chapman.
Weed Pots, c. 1965, glazed stoneware. Wayne Chapman.
"Happiness" Yardage, 1967, machine-woven, hand-screen printed linen and wool. Jack Lenor Larsen, whose signature pattern remained in production for decades.
“Happiness” Yardage, 1967, machine-woven, hand-screen printed linen and wool. Jack Lenor Larsen, whose signature pattern remained in production for decades.
LCW (Lounge Chair Wood), c. 1946, molded plywood. Charles and Ray Eames, who famously revolutionized industrial design by introducing molded plywood.
LCW (Lounge Chair Wood), c. 1946, molded plywood. Charles and Ray Eames, who famously revolutionized industrial design by introducing molded plywood.
Untitled, 1969, enamel on steel. Kay Whitcomb.
Untitled, 1969, enamel on steel. Kay Whitcomb.
House of Cards, c. 1960, printed paper. Charles and Ray Eames.
House of Cards, c. 1960, printed paper. Charles and Ray Eames.
Helmet, 1970-71, silver, leather, rosewood, moonstones, rabbit fur. Marcia Lewis.
Helmet, 1970-71, silver, leather, rosewood, moonstones, rabbit fur. Marcia Lewis.

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!