Mastering the Art of Living: A Tribute to My Godmother

    I know my blog is supposed to be mainly about things related to art,
    architecture, and design but I would like to reevaluate that standard
    definition for a moment.

    My godmother passed away a few days ago and as arguably the most
    important person in my life, I have been spending some time reflecting
    on what made her presence so invaluable to me. Supporting me through
    every hurdle I have faced in my 26 years, my godmother was unwavering
    in her devotion and confidence in both me and the world. She taught me
    how to laugh at myself... even when I made something this ugly:

    She lived big, she loved big, and she thought big....
    So I have decided that
    Elizabeth Strahan is more than just a godmother, grandmother, mother,
    and friend.
    She is art.
    Art is bold, unapologetic, visionary, and political.
    Art is full of conviction, color, elegance, humor, tragedy, and compassion.
    Art is timeless and so is Lizzie.
    She was my person. She inspired me to start Filosofia.
    I'll miss her everyday.


I Want You Back: Remembering MJ

Sometimes there are just no words...
But thankfully in their place so many images, songs, and dances remain.
So here are some favorites.


 Miss you, MJ!


It's My Life! (Thank you Bon Jovi!)

    While I never thought the day would arrive when I would have either the
    need or desire to pay tribute to Bon Jovi...
    after a successful day getting my artist visa from the Ausländerbehörde,
    a bit of hat tipping is indeed now in order.
    Thanks to the existence of this wild haired and wild hearted rocker,
    my visa case worker has found in Bon Jovi both her idol and an unprecedented
    affinity towards his fellow American countrymen (and women).

    While I was not at liberty to document the Bon Jovi shrine that is my case
    worker's office, just imagine a room full of many many photos like this.

     So thank you, Bon Jovi. I owe you one!


The Arches of Alhambra

    While my trip to Granada and the Alhambra will get more extensive coverage
    in upcoming posts I wanted to dedicate this one to the often overlooked arches
    of the Alhambra (compared to the ceilings, which are of course spectacular
    and will have their time in the spotlight later).

    But for now let's all take a moment to revel in the sheer splendor of Arabic,
    hand-painted, hyper-patterned, muqarna fabulousness.

    We really don't make them like we used to, do we?

    P.S. Happy Summer Solstice


The Architectural Nuances of Southern Spain

    While the majority of Southern Spain suffers from the repercussions of
    massive, generic speculative developments that have since mostly dried 
    up in the face of the global economic crisis, there are still many 
    eccentric and whimsical details to be found.

    The first of such details might be this inspiringly long chimney

    or this unusual spiky sting ray concrete creation.

    The second detail could be this Jesus sign covered in ants
    which is actually the advertisement for the funeral home just inside

    or perhaps some left-over Colonial era relics in Murcia.

    A third ought to include this still untouched rock formation in Bol Nuevo.

    And then, of course, there is Granada
    in all of its romantic white stucco- Alhambra super glory...

    and the hidden surprises you'll discover sprinkled along the way.


Place Holders for Impending Spain Mega-Posts

    Dear Readers,

    My sincere apologies for my intermittent postings while in Spain.
    You have my word that I will make it up to you beginning this weekend
    when Filosofia returns to Berlin.

    Since my last post I have been busy climbing rocks

    Checking out the local fauna

    and gathering some nice photos for you.

    so please stay tuned!


For the Love of the Leg: New Ideas in Building Cladding

    Have you ever thought that maybe if buildings were clad in Serrano ham
    instead of bricks and mortar,
    that maybe architecture could finally save our souls
    (and cure our hunger)?

    Just some Spanish food for thought...


The Vernacular of Southern Spain: Part 1

Filosofia is posting from South Eastern Spain for the next two weeks
so here is a look at some of the architecture I have encountered thus far:

This house looks like it is supported by ivy.

    This is the main church in Murcia.

    This is a really nice column detail.

    This is a gorgeous Murciano window.

   This is a fountain decorated by local protesters at City Hall.

   This is where the Bishop lives.
   You may visit him if your priest contests your marriage.

    This is probably a very nice Rafael Moneo building but the Spanish
    have decided to inexplicably cover it with a giant billboard.

    And this this is a nice palm tree.



    Filosofia is heading to Spain for the first time ever tomorrow!
    Internet access will be intermittent, but until my next all-Spanish themed post,
    please accept a smiley faced slice of sausage
    and a man with some inspired facial hair as a place holder!
    (and of course my boyfriend's beard is nice too)

    Talk soon!


Ode to Juxtaposing

    Arguably the most beautiful architectural relic in Grunewald
    is currently undergoing a mysterious facelift.

    In what I hope is just some kind of foundation restoration or yard work,
    a 4 story modernist mega-tower has been added to the grounds
    to compliment the various turrets of this 17th century-ish masterpiece.

    So in homage to this perplexing juxtaposition, let's go through some of my
    other favorites from the not so distance past...

    Beans three ways

    Pumpkins three ways

    A house and a monster

    A zombie and a mayor
    A bear in a forest

    Or some fruit in the snow

    Something big and something small

    Something old and something new

                    And for the oddest musical juxtaposition I can think of....
                    Tom Jones and the Cardigans covering the Talking Heads!!
   Thumbs up!