Newsletter | Nov/Dec 2015Volume 43:6 | Search
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Comments of the Editorby Lucia Bogatay, December, 2015 | Print | Email
Thanks to my contributors, I will not be writing all of this issue myself. My pleas for copy have been answered. Nevertheless, I have just returned from a long interesting vacation in Europe which has provided plenty of topics of possible interest. Although they will read a bit like a travelogue, or “what I did on my vacation,” there are some things among them which I hope will be of interest to members.
Lutah Marie Riggs Filmby Wendy Bertrand | Print | Email
Please note that on Saturday, Jan 23, 2016 from 10-12:30am we will screen the film about Lutah Marie Riggs Film (2014) and have some discussion.
Architect Lutah Marie Riggs, (1896-1984), was educated at UC Berkeley and practiced in Santa Barbara. This is an award winning 65 minute film called "A Passion for Architecture: A Life of Design" by the Lutah Marie Riggs Society http://Lutah.org.
Mui Ho and the late OWA member Nancy Florence visited Ms. Riggs in 1982. Mui will start the discussion that will continue into our concerns about architecture today.
Location: 1605 Arch Street Berkeley off Cedar Street.
Fresh fruit, scones and morning buns from the Cheese Board will be available with coffee or tea.
RSVP Wendy Bertrand
City Slicker Farms' West Oakland Farm and Park Slated to Open in Marchby Rebecca Friedberg | Print | Email
City Slicker Farms, a pioneer of food-producing gardens in Oakland’s low-income communities, is wrapping up construction on a new permanent farm and park for West Oakland. A milestone for food justice and land ownership in a challenged community, the long-awaited project will turn 1.4 acres of formerly industrial property into a thriving green space and working farm for the neighborhood.
City Slicker Farms owns the land where the farm and park are sited. Located in the heart of West Oakland at 28th and Peralta Streets, this will be City Slicker Farms’ largest farm site, doubling the organization’s capacity to distribute food and educate community members about urban farming and gardening.
“A new urban farm and public park is a huge benefit for the West Oakland community,” said Ariel Dekovic, Interim Executive Director of City Slicker Farms. “We have secured this land to ensure that it will benefit the community in perpetuity. We have designed and developed a public park and educational farm that will welcome all. Starting today, any West Oakland resident who wants fresh, healthy food or wants to learn how to grow it will be able to do that in the heart of our city.”
The design process was highly collaborative. Lowney Architecture and CMG Landscape Architecture worked closely with City Slicker Farms staff on the design. Furthermore, several community meetings encouraged the local community's involvement in the design process. This ensured that their needs would be met and that they would have a strong sense of ownership of the project when complete.
About City Slicker Farms:
City Slicker Farms supports food self-sufficiency by creating organic, sustainable, high-yield urban farms and partnering with residents and institutions to transform outdoor spaces and yards into food-producing gardens. These spaces provide healthy, affordable food and improve the environment. City Slicker Farms prioritizes people who have the least access to healthy food. The farms and gardens demonstrate the viability of a local food-production system; serve as community space; empower children and adults who want to learn about the connections between ecology, farming and the urban environment; and support tools for self-reliance and empowerment.
It's not too late to contribute! Community build days are coming up, and if you prefer not to swing a hammer, please consider donating funds.
Lucia Travels to the Czech Republicby Lucia Bogatay | Print | Email
The day following the OWA Annual Meeting, which was held in my living room on October 20, I leave for Europe, where my vacation begins with a ten days’ visit in with friends in Kralupy na Vlatava, (“Kralupy on the river Vlatava,” known as the Moldow in German) a small town Northwest of Prague.
This hospitable family is composed of Lenka Capekova, Jaroslav Capek, their four year old child, Eduard, and an hyperactive German schnauzer named Fussey. Lenka’s mother Ivana died last winter. She was a good friend, and had such a powerful personality, it is hard to believe she is gone! She used to be my enthusiastic tour guide for architectural gems of the Czech Republic. However, Lenka and Yarda seem happy to take over her role as guide. It seems a nice diversion for them, and as always, they have planned tours of interesting castles and constructions in North and East Bohemia.
The smallish country town of Kralupy na Vlatava was badly bombed in World War II, and many of its older buildings were in need of extensive repair and rebuilding, affordable and perfect projects for a Contractor/Engineer like my host! Jarda bought half of a group of Farm buildings, and part of a terraced orchard. He has done a lot to the house, making it comfortable, adding a winter garden, and building it a garage. An adjacent wing is unfinished, and would be a place for his mother, or Lenka's father if either were in need of a place to live.
Between the small rural villages the rolling farmland extends in large uninterrupted swaths which my hosts say is the result of collectivization during the Communist era. It is now more efficient to farm, so no one seems to want to restore the old boundaries. This character is really obvious from a plane, and contrasts with Bavaria where the old land divisions are still in place. However, the inefficient old road system appears to be unchanged in Central Bohemia, with the exception of the addition of roundabouts which make the many small intersections much safer. Roads still go through the middle of towns, and wander along old boundaries with fruit and nut trees on both sides. Although I have been a passenger many times while traveling through this countryside to get from Krallupy to Prague (30 minutes away), I would need a GPS and a lot of luck to find my way alone!
Grabstejn and the Hotel on Ještěd Mountainby Lucia Bogatay | Print | Email
There were some dramatic moments once it was completed, when the building swayed in the strong winds which threatened to destroy the tower. The team resolved this awkward difficulty by adding a 1300 pound ballast weight and a vibration damper. This seemed to fix the problem since Ještěd still stands proudly to the present day.
The tower was opened with great ceremony on the 21st of September 1973. It is 308 feet from the foot to the tip of the antenna and it was designed to withstand the truly extreme climatic conditions at the top. On the lower of the two floors there is the machine-room, technical equipment and operations room. Above these there is a look-out terrace, a buffet, a restaurant with cafe and a hotel. The upper part houses the communications equipment. The top contains a tubular construction on which is mounted a 56 foot-long antenna.
The Hospital of Kuksby Lucia Bogatay | Print | Email
Our complete tour ends with a tour of the crypt of the hospital founder and his family. Only four of us have opted to see this last part of the tour, a cold, dark domed space under the chapel where ancient decaying wood coffins and catafalques have been faithfully preserved without repairs, or even dusting. Indirect light sources high up in the dome provide only a dim light, augmented by those of us with flashlights. A small window on axis allows a view into the crypt, so we are often aware of silhouetted forms of people peering down at us. A visit to this spooky place is perfect for today, which happens to be Halloween!
The Benes Villa at Seimovo Ustiby Lucia Bogatay | Print | Email
Lenka’s charming older son Marek, who is 20 years older than his half-brother Edu, works for the Czech President’s office in public relations. He has planned two visits for us to two publicly-owned Presidential villas which are sometimes open to the public. On special days when the public is allowed to visit them, Marek has made us reservations to get in early due to his privileged status, helping us to avoid the crowds.
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