Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Californian art

Did you know that California is a great destination for art and architecture lovers?

Even if you don’t know the difference between a California bungalow and a Bauhaus box, you will like visiting some of California's most unforgettable bridges, buildings, and other structures. Cross an iconic span (Instagramming the whole way, of course), walk through an opulent castle, and see hipster 1950s chic. Tour these impressive sites, like the state capitol in Sacramento, and you will be saying 'double-domed rotunda' in no time. 

Some of the must-visit architectural treasures in California are:

Sundial bridge, Shasta Cascade: A functional work of art, the remarkable bridge, designed by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, spans the tree-lined, trout-filled Sacramento river in Redding’s Turtle Bay Exploration Park. The 700-foot/213-meter-long span is undeniably striking, with its glass block walkway and soaring white tower and suspension cables forming a functioning sundial—a nod to human creativity and ingenuity, both important themes of the 300-acre park.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco: With towers soaring 746 feet/227 meters into the sky, its span arcing across the mouth of San Francisco bay, and all of it painted fire-engine red, the golden gate bridge is, quite simply, amazing. if you’re scratching your head as to why a bridge called “Golden Gate” is in fact red, here’s why. It’s generally accepted that the mouth of San Francisco bay—the narrow strait that the bridge spans, was named Chrysopylae (Greek for “Golden Gate”) by early explorer John c. Fremont. (Captain Fremont thought the strait looked like a strait in Istanbul named Chrysoceras, or 'Golden Horn') so it makes sense that the bridge is named after the expanse of water that it crosses. 

But what about that crimson color? Call it an unexpected surprise. When the steel for the bridge was first installed in place, it was only covered with red primer. A consulting engineer liked it, suggested the color be kept, and helped develop the bridge’s final paint color

Mid-century Modern Design, Deserts: Filled with distinctive post-world war II buildings designed by leading architects of the time, Palm Springs is America’s mid-century modern mecca. Right off the bat when you arrive in town via state highway 111, the soaring roofline of the tramway gas station (designed in 1965 by mid-century master Albert Frey and now the Palm Springs Visitors Center), it’s clear that mod dominates the local landscape. even Palm Springs City Hall, all sharp angles, bold cut-outs, and circles, has distinctive mid-century modern styling.

The Getty Center, Los Angeles: perched in the hills above west Los Angeles, the Getty Center looks like a modernist city on a hill, a collection of dramatic buildings housing galleries filled with modern masterpieces. To reach this complex designed by renowned architect Richard Meier, ride a tram from the parking lot up to the snow-white Getty Campus, with buildings clad in travertine mined from a quarry outside Rome. 

Inside the galleries, see European masterpieces, decorative art, and photography. And it’s all free—a gift from philanthropist J. Paul Getty. (there is, however, a fee for parking.) for all of its art, the Getty is equally stunning outside. Broad courtyards with fountains, leafy bowers and the Grand Central Garden is a living work of art, with outstanding views stretching from Mount Baldy to Santa Catalina island. Watch the sunset from elegant the restaurant at the Getty for a memorable splurge. a variety of free self-guided and guided tours enrich your visits, and spirited family programs—like jousting workshops—can turn your kids onto art too.

State Capitol, Sacramento: With its noble columns and snappy cupola, all painted wedding-cake white, California’s state capitol building looks like a mini replica of US Capitol in Washington, DC. Take a free tour to learn about the 1869 building’s architecture and history, and to appreciate extensive restorations in the offices of the secretary of state, treasurer, and governor. 

This is very much a working capitol building, and, if legislators are in session, ask about access to public galleries to watch bills being debated or votes being cast. Outside, stroll through the adjacent 40-acre Capitol Park, where you can admire trees from around the world, and visit the sweetly scented international world peace rose garden. Take note of the civil war memorial grove—in 1897, saplings from famous civil war battlefields were planted here.

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