Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Archive for June, 2015

Teardrop Park


The day after seeing Four Freedoms Park, I walked along the Hudson River from Battery Park up to the High Line. There are a number of interesting bits of stonework along that stretch of Manhattan including the fort walls at Castle Clinton, the anachronistic Irish Hunger Memorial, and the carefully detailed 911 memorial. I also walked the High Line but its famous plantings were cut back and leafless. It’s a nice site, though, and I enjoyed it even if it wasn’t at it’s horticultural peak. But my favorite spot along the river front was Teardrop Park, a small park with a stone wall about eighteen feet high. Technically the wall is veneer, but it’s built with oversized blocks that make it much cooler than any typical veneer.


To my surprise, the posted park rules didn’t say anything about prohibiting climbing, so I went up it a few times. It would be too easy with climbing shoes, but in street shoes it was pretty fun.


The park won an ASLA award a few years ago. The project description called the stone ‘Alcove Blue Stone’; in the Bay Area, the stone’s trade name is Cabernet.


The diagonal courses of stone are meant to recall geological striations.


Other areas of the park use the striated stone as well.





I would have loved this park as a kid, and I heard several different kids cry when they were told it was time to leave.


A big slide with rocks to climb to reach the top, you can’t get much better than that. A great little park.

Louis Kahn’s Four Freedoms Park


In April we went to New York for a few days. While we were there I checked out Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, architect Louis Kahn’s final project. It was shelved after his death forty years ago, but recently it was brought out of the archives and brought to completion. Basically it’s a 3-walled room made of giant granite blocks at the tip of Roosevelt Island in the East River. There’s also a giant staircase that goes up to a lawn that then slopes back down to the same grade ending at a 3-walled room. Some of it feels pretty silly, but the site has a good view of Manhattan and a nice position at the tip of the island, and the detailing is very perfect and precise.



Kahn referred to the allees of trees and the raised central lawn as a garden. Not really my idea of a garden, but the goosefoot layout of the paths is borrowed from Versailles, so I guess he’s just got a different thing in mind when he says garden.


The Roosevelt aspect of the space is a quote carved on one of the blocks of granite and a large floating head that reminded me of Oz the great and powerful.


The detailing inside the 3-sided room is very tight and the joints in the paving match perfectly with the giant blocks of granite. I’m guessing the buildings wouldn’t have been visible above the granite at the time Kahn was working on the design because they don’t really seem to function as they’re intended, neither screening out the buildings nor acting as a visual plinth for them.


For some reason the joints are ungrouted. Up close you could see through the open joint between the wall blocks, an interesting detail that probably has some significance that I’m missing.


In a lot of ways it feels like a memorial to Louis Kahn rather than FDR, and I think it helps if you go into the space already revering Kahn. The New York Times loved it, calling it a ‘monumental triumph for New York and for everyone who cares about architecture and public space.’ (Over to you, Skywalker.) Personally, I’m more impressed with the execution of the design, rather than the design itself, but it’s a nice enough place to go for a view of Manhattan. There’s a video of the park at The Dirt.

— Update March, 2017 — The park is being sued for not being ADA compliant, hugely ironic considering that it supposedly honors a man who was in a wheelchair.

Paris Nante Bayonne Nice Bologna


Dufy, La Fee Electricite, Museum d Art Moderne
Musee de l’Orangerie (Monet lilies)
Jardin du Luxembourg
Galerie Maurice Garnier (Bernard Buffet)
Musee Rodin
L’Atelier Brancusi
Saint Chapelle stained glass
Monet Museum, Van Gogh Museum, Picasso Museum, Delacroix Museum, Musee D’orsay, Musee Bernard Buffet
basilica du sacre coeur, meh
Place de Vosge
musée de la sculpture en plein air
Van Doesburg house

Andres le Notre
Vaux le Vicomte
Chateau de Chantilly (north of Paris)
Saint Cloud
St. Germaine en laye
Jardin Sec Pépinière Filippi RD 613 34140 MEZE


Tuileries, Paris
Jardin de Luxembourg, Paris (Singer Sargent)
French Gardens
Le Jardin Plume 130km northwest of Paris
Monet Garden 75km northwest of Paris
Les Jardins Agapanthe
Villa Ephrussi, near Nice, formal on the water
Jardin de St Adrien, former quarry, east of Beziers
Pepiniere Filippi, Olivier Filipi near Beziers/Meze
Eze botanic garden east of Nice
Chagall Museum garden, Nice
Giardini Botanici Hanbury in Ventimiglia Italy

Fontainebleau https://www.climb-europe.com/RockClimbingFrance/Fontainebleau.htm
Blois, Ambois
Saint Nazaire

    Loire Chateau

Chateau d’Angers
*****Palace of Fountainbleu
***Chateau de Chenonceau
***Chateau de Chambord most crowded
Castle Montresor (southeast of Tours) 20 km from Chateau de Loches
*****Chateau de Villandry dramatic gardens
*****Chateau de Cheverny (model for Marlinspike Hall)
Chateau de Vincennes (southeast of Paris)
Chateau de Langleais
Chateau de Breze, deep dry moat, tunnels
*Chateau de Blois, Gilles Clement gardens
***Chateau Royal d’Amboise riverside, crowded
***Chateau de Saumur riverside
Château d’Ussé near Saumur, low-key
Chateau de Valencay (geometric meadow)
*Chaumont Sur Loire on the Loire west of Blois, display gardens
Chateau de Loches off-route 40km south of Tours
Château de Brissac
Clos Luce
Chateau Plessis-Bourre
Abbaye Notre Dame de Fontevraud
Louresse-Rochemenier troglodytic village

An 900 km itinerary on the Loire Valley

Yevre-le-Chatel (ruin before Orleans)
Fontevraud Abbey near Saumur
Chateau de Pierrefonds 50 km from Chateau de Chantilly
Chateau Gaillard on the Seine
Chateau de Fougeres 45 km from Mont Saint-Michel
Palais de Papes Nimes/Aix-en-Provence
Chateau de Bonaguil (north of Toulouse)
Mont Saint-Michel
Chateau de la Roche Courboun (notable Le Notre-esque garden) southeast of Rochefort, north of Bordeaux
Castle Roquetaillade (south of Bordeaux)
Cathar castles

Gilles Clement gardens — Chateau de Blois, Chateau de Beauregard, Musee de Quai Branly (Paris)

https://lejardinchampetre.com/. 21 km east of carcassonne, near carrieres du roy and carriere de marbre feline marble quarries

Chateau de Melan addey/sculpture park, east of Geneva
Le Cyclop Tinguely Forest de Milly near Fontainebleau
Domaine de Kerguéhennec 140 km from Nantes
Carnac stones
Chateau le Coste, Aix en Provence
Chateau de Bosc, east of Avignon
Fondation Marguerite et Aimé Maeght, Saint Paul west of Nice
Chateau de la Napoule, west of Cannes
Venet Fonundation, 75 km west of Cannes
Commanderie de Peyrassol, 100 km west of Cannes
Erich Engelbrecht sculpture park
Despiau-Wlérick Museum, Mont-de-Marsan sculptor Despiau (Rodin assistant)

France’s 10 Best Sculpture Parks

bordeaux, wine museum, submarine base, La Grosse Cloche, miroir de eau, st émilion

auch, abbaye de flamant, Montauban (cahors), carcassonne, canal de garonne cycle path

‘Saint-Pierre, Saint-Paul & the Triangle d’Or, Saint-Seurin & Fondaudège, Saint-Michel & Capucins-Victoire, Chartrons, Bassin à Flot & Bacalan, La Bastide, St-Emilion’

beziers, fosserannes locks, meze dry garden Olivier filippi, Montpellier, arles Aigues-Mortes camargue La Digue à la Mer, Aix-en-provence, Pont du Gard, Avignon, lavender museum, Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque, luberon, colorado provencal, Verdon gorge, nice

Uzes, Orange

Saumur, Troglodyte Trail, Rochemenier village, Turquant village, Cave aux Moines, Musee du Champignon/Pierre et Lumier in Saumur

cycling the atlantic coast

Most beautiful villages of Atlantic Coast

Roussilon, Gordes, Les Baux de Provence, Moustiers Sainte Marie (Verdon), Saint Paul de Vence (Miro, Maeght Foundation, Matisse Chapel-Chapel of the Rosary), Gourdon

Digne les Bains https://www.sculpturenature.com/en/une-carte-interactive-pour-decouvrir-les-les-refuges-dart-dandy-goldsworthy/

Verdon Gorge route

Denis Augé’s stone sculptures, Aveyron, France 150 km east of Toulouse

Leger museum, Biot, France
Chagall Museum, Nice
Maeght Foundation, Miro, Vence
Rosary Chapel, Matisse, Vence west of Nice

Domaine du Rayol – Le Jardin des Méditerranées, southwest of St. Tropez

florac to millau, viaduct de millau, https://cyclinglanguedoc.com/tarn-gorge-florac-to-millau/

La Prieure https://www.climb-europe.com/RockClimbingFrance/Bouldering-France.html
Kerlouan bouldering topos

camping website

French gardens map



Camino de Santiago

museum Jorge orteiza
monastery of arantzazu
clavijo castle
santo domingo de silos


Fort of Bard, north of Turin
Museo Retico and San Remedio Sanctuary, Val di Non
Juval Castle

Col de la Lombarde

Castle of Guimaraes, Portugal
soajo and lindoso granaries, castle laboreiro, castle lindoso, aldeia lindoso
Arco da Porta Nova and Raio Palace, Braga

gascony https://about-france.com/regions/gascony.htm

Vienna — Isamu Nakajima, Josef Pillhofer
Austrian Sculpture Park, Graz, https://sculpture-network.org/en/view/location/3949
Great Piece of Turf, Durer, Albertina Museum

Arte Sella, Valsugana an analysis

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