Experience 2/12

What perfect timing to announce my second experience.  For a few reasons, this is a building I have been wanting to visit for awhile now.  Reason one – it was designed by probably the MOST famous architect – Frank Lloyd Wright.  Reason two – see reason one. FLW is NOT my favorite architect, but its pretty amazing San Francisco can boast this small, almost unknown building.  Located in Union Square (Union Square people!) , this building is an art gallery, called Xanadu, that specializes in art and antiques from all over the world.

Rumor (the internet) has it that FLW worked on this building during the same time he worked on the famous Guggenheim Museum in New York.  I posted the floor plan below, because it mimics the well known circular stair case of the Guggenheim – and because floor plans are pretty.

building – Xanadu Museum

architect – Frank Lloyd Wright

location – 140 Maiden Lane, San Francisco, CA 94108

date – Saturday, February 26, 2011

time – 2 – 4 pm

fun fact – Olivia Newton John starred in a film called Xanadu

after – lets buy some shoes.  totally kidding!  lets get out of tourist central and grab a drink!

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Experience 1/12 – results!

Wow, keeping up a blog is a lot of work.  I thought I was going easy on myself by only committing to one project a month, so I suppose I should applaude my brilliant thinking…any more posting would have been too much!  Enough excuses aside, visit 1/12 was wonderful; we had amazing warm, sunny, welcoming creative January weather.

Since this blog is about the work people produce, I dont want to talk too much about the building.  However, since this blog is also about architecture – I will share some of what I presented during our visit:

The church took three years to build and was designed by three local Bay area architects, one Italian architect and one very well known Italian structural engineer (all men). Completed in 1971, the building blends both modern and iconic religious design – which provides an effect of being lighter than air, despite its mass.  Extending 90 feet down into bedrock, four large pylons evenly distribute the weight of the sweeping parabolic roof.  The roof is composed of 1,680 pre-cast triangular coffers of varying size to support the peak (or cupola) of the structure.

The interior houses a large suspended sculpture (above the alter) weighing in at one ton, standing 15 stories high.  Stained glass introduces light in a surprising and breathtaking colorful experience.  A pipe organ with unique spanish trumpets makes a loud (and slightly eerie) sound.  During our visit, I noticed everyone’s gaze immediately reaching skyward – opening their hearts and their minds to the beauty above.

Thank you to Ricky, Tom, Stephanie and Juan for sharing your experience!

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A wonderful example of a pARTicipatory art project

2010 was a year full of ups and downs – as most years go.  I would say the highlight of my year was attending Burning Man for the first time.  All viewpoints aside, it was the best week of my life.  Full of freedom, self expression, creativity, and love – Burning Man is forever close to my heart.  I shared a project this year on the playa and participated in as many as I could get my hands on.  Seeing how this blog is about participatory art, I feel this one is extra fitting.

I camped with the Mission Country Club this year and amongst our campmates are two extremely talented, passionate, and beautiful people.  Rob and Patricia created the Zome – and lucky for me – our camp helped them build their masterpiece.

Check out the story here:


A memory I STILL draw inspiration from…

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Experience 1/12

I am excited to announce my first experiENCE of 2011.  Many of you have seen this building, its form is strange and from the exterior, it stands as a rather unique building against the city’s surrounding sea of victorians.  All thoughts and opinions (of the exterior) aside, the interior is stunning.  We will start the tour off with yours truly providing some information about the building – like the architect, the important features, and fun facts.  Then I will give you guys time to get creative – capturing your own experience – through sketches, photos, words, etc.

building – the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption

architect – Pietro Belluschi

location – 1111 Gough Street SF, CA (corner of Gough and Geary)

date – Sunday, January 23rd, 2010

time – 2 – 4 pm

fun fact – the interior rests on four large pylons (as opposed to alternating structural columns) supporting between nine and ten million pounds each

after – join me for a drink.  see you there!

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Hello world!

Indeed – bonjour, hallo, hola, and hej.  Following (loosely) the scientific method, I present to you my brand new blog in an easy to read format.

the theory: this year, 2011, I invite you – willing friends, family, colleagues, and volunteers to join me for another Megan Stevens, exclusive, participatory art project.

the prediction: we all can agree that we live in a wonderful part of the country surrounded by nature, sunshine (the occasional fog), art, and culture…but what else can we take away from our beautiful place?

the experiment: I would like to take you on a once-a-month architectural tour of a building in our humble Bay Area.  So bring your lovely selves!  your cameras, your sketchbooks, your journals.  your open minds, your pencils, your motivation.

the observation: you will get the chance to flex that creative muscle while learning a bit more about your fair city than you did before.  I would like to take your words, sketches, photos, and other images and post them here.  They can remain anonymous – but remember, this is a participatory project.  Its my tribute to the area, my friends, and the world wide web.

No “true” scientific experiment is done without research.  Keeping totally professional, mine is no different.  Amidst my Danish roots four summers ago, I studied architecture and design.  Our program required we keep a sketchbook of the places we visited and of the things we saw.  I now have a wonderful keepsake full of memories that will last forever.

So join me and become (somewhat) famous.

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