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.

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A (strange) Method for Reaching Extreme Altitudes!

Art that creates an infinite reflection and contemplates the scale and structure of space and time. The two-way mirror is titled Down the Rabbit Hole (CMS Detector) by artist Adam Belt.
Art that creates an infinite reflection and contemplates the scale and structure of space and time. The two-way mirror is titled Down the Rabbit Hole (CMS Detector) by artist Adam Belt.

Do you enjoy unusual art?

There’s a cool exhibition now showing at the San Diego Central Library’s ninth floor Art Gallery called A Method for Reaching Extreme Altitudes. On display is the work of eight local artists: Adam Belt, Matthew Bradley, Sheena Rae Dowling, Andrew McGranahan, Arzu Ozkal, Cheryl Sorg, Jones von Jonestein, and Melissa Walter.

Some of the artwork is quite cosmic and trippy, while other pieces take a curious look at science fiction and our popular culture’s obsession with space travel, UFOs and extraterrestrial visitation.

If the exhibition’s name seems familiar, that’s because A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes was the title of a 1919 monograph by Robert H. Goddard, the founding father of modern rocketry.

After examining this artwork one might wonder: Exactly how did Goddard come up with plans to build a rocket? Was he actually a visitor from outer space? Is it possible? Maybe?

The fun exhibition will continue through September 16, 2018!

Inside the Art Gallery of the San Diego Central Library, where an exhibition explores A Method for Reaching Extreme Altitudes.
Inside the Art Gallery of the San Diego Central Library, where an exhibition explores A Method for Reaching Extreme Altitudes.
Visitors view artwork that concerns space travel and its effect on modern life, culture and human imagination.
Visitors view artwork that concerns space travel and its effect on modern life, culture and human imagination.
Artist Melissa Walter, science illustrator for NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, explores the threat of orbital debris by casting geometric shadows.
Artist Melissa Walter, science illustrator for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, explores the threat of orbital debris by casting geometric shadows.
This multimedia installation by Jones von Jonestein is titled The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, after a novel by science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein.
This multimedia installation by Jones von Jonestein is titled The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, after a novel by science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein.
The collage-like artwork pokes gentle fun at the notion the moon landing was a hoax, and that governments conspire to suppress evidence of extraterrestrials.
The collage-like artwork pokes gentle fun at the assertion the moon landing was a hoax, and that governments conspire to suppress evidence of extraterrestrials.
Amateurs! A dog on the sound stage! A cameraman's reflection! Wind on the moon!
Amateurs! A dog on the sound stage! A cameraman’s reflection! Wind on the moon!
Space art depicting vast clouds of glowing dust and gas. The One that Got Away, by artist Sheena Rae Dowling.
Space art depicting vast clouds of glowing dust and gas. The One that Got Away, by artist Sheena Rae Dowling.
One of several collages exhibited by artist Andrew McGranahan. His retro-futurism embraces both utopian and dystopian imagery.
One of several collages exhibited by artist Andrew McGranahan. His retro-futurism embraces both utopian and dystopian imagery.
A cool digital print by artist Arzu Ozkal. She explores how humans are guests in a universe of microbes.
A cool digital print by artist Arzu Ozkal. She explores how humans are guests in a living universe of microbes.
A flying saucer above a Lucky supermarket! Artist Matthew Bradley has fun with the popular imagination in the Space Age.
A flying saucer above a Lucky supermarket! Artist Matthew Bradley has fun with popular imagination in the Space Age.
Bright UFOs painted in the night sky above the United States Capitol dome!
Bright UFOs painted in the night sky above the United States Capitol dome!

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UFO spotted above Rotary clock at Liberty Station.

UFO spotted above Rotary clock at Liberty Station.
UFO spotted above Rotary clock at Liberty Station.

I was going through some of the photos I took while walking along the boat channel at Liberty Station.  This elegant clock donated by the Rotary Club has always struck me as odd–it stands for no reason on what is essentially a nature path among palm trees.

But something else seemed a bit weird in this pic.  There seemed to be a small dot directly above the clock.  I magnified the image and discovered a UFO!  Looks to me like a distant flying saucer!

I thought the strange dot might be an aircraft taking off from nearby Lindbergh Field, but it’s way too small and doesn’t look like any airplane.  What is it???

It looks like a flying saucer to me!
It looks like a flying saucer to me!