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route 66 adventure travel

Route 66: Part History, Mostly Romance

To hear someone mention Route 66, your mind automatically goes to a place that starts in Chicago, Illinois, then goes through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before it ends at the corner of Olympic and Lincoln boulevards in Santa Monica, California. 

Route 66 exemplifies Americana at its best, and an era that was somewhere in time. Route 66 covers a total of 2,448 miles in its entirety. Beginning in 1916, the legislation for a public highway started named the Federal Highway Act. Revisions began in 1921 and continued until 1925, when the government created a plan for a national highway to be constructed.

From 1933 to 1938, thousands of unemployed young males from surrounding states were put to work as laborers on road gangs to pave the final stretches of land that needed to be the extended highway. Route 66 helped us mobilize our manpower. 

As time went on, urban culture began to lay down its foundation that would contribute to the mystery and romance of this historical highway. Gas stations, cafes, and small general type stores popped up, providing an attentive audience for the popular highway.

By the end of the war, roadway travel along Route 66 was at its heyday. The roadside architecture represented the region that happened to be in that particular section of the highway. The material used to build the food stands, gas stations and motels included brick, wood, and stucco; many used canopies to cover the seating areas. This all added to the character of the different sections.

As time went on, Route 66 underwent many improvements and realignments to extend its usefulness and appeal. Then in 1985, Route 66 was officially removed from the United States Highway System. However, some states have adopted significant sections of the former highway into their state road networks. These sections are called Historic Route 66 and are alternate routes, but maintain much of that allure. 

Today you can still see the cocoons of what’s left of roadside motels, gas stations, and tourist-type attractions. If you truly believe, you might see a 1962 Corvette Convertible drive by and disappear into the romance of Route 66.

To hear someone mention Route 66, your mind automatically goes to a place that starts in Chicago, Illinois, then goes through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before it ends at the corner of Olympic and Lincoln boulevards in Santa Monica, California. 

Route 66 exemplifies Americana at its best, and an era that was somewhere in time. Route 66 covers a total of 2,448 miles in its entirety. Beginning in 1916, the legislation for a public highway started named the Federal Highway Act. Revisions began in 1921 and continued until 1925, when the government created a plan for a national highway to be constructed.

From 1933 to 1938, thousands of unemployed young males from surrounding states were put to work as laborers on road gangs to pave the final stretches of land that needed to be the extended highway. Route 66 helped us mobilize our manpower. 

As time went on, urban culture began to lay down its foundation that would contribute to the mystery and romance of this historical highway. Gas stations, cafes, and small general type stores popped up, providing an attentive audience for the popular highway.

By the end of the war, roadway travel along the romantic highway was at its heyday. The roadside architecture represented the region that happened to be in that particular section of the highway. The material used to build the food stands, gas stations and motels included brick, wood, and stucco; many used canopies to cover the seating areas. This all added to the character of the different sections.

As time went on, the iconic roadway underwent many improvements and realignments to extend its usefulness and appeal. Then in 1985, it was officially removed from the United States Highway System. However, some states have adopted significant sections of the former highway into their state road networks. These sections are called Historic Route 66 and are alternate routes, but maintain much of that allure. 

Today you can still see the cocoons of what’s left of roadside motels, gas stations, and tourist-type attractions. If you truly believe, you might see a 1962 Corvette Convertible drive by and disappear into the romance of Route 66.

 

hollyhock house architecture

Hollyhock House and the Genius of Frank Lloyd Wright

The Hollyhock House was just named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The mission of UNESCO is to build peace and harmony through the contribution of important information among nations of the world through scientific knowledge, communication and education to further multicultural respect and universal collaboration.

It is the epitome of creative genius — the Hollyhock House was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Originally commissioned by oil heiress Aline Barnsdall in 1919, it was named after her favorite flower, the Hollyhock.

Nestled in the hills of East Hollywood, the Hollyhock was planned as a performing arts complex and and to also serve as a home for the heiress and her children.

Part of the creative genius of Frank Lloyd Wright was his spontaneity, and he encouraged that in others. He even coined the phrase, “Freedom to make one’s own form.” Although the Hollyhock House was built to its entirety in 1921, it was never quite finished.

The house took years of restoration, which included extensive research on the detailed history and exact craftsmanship so that it would be brought back to its original glory in which it was intended. Now the Hollyhock House stands with massive structural improvements to its foundation, but the design and other important details have been kept to its original integrity.

The Hollyhock House was Frank Lloyd Wright’s contribution to California Modernism. Wright had a reputation for never having the most practical choice. In staying with the integrity of the original design, a more convenient, less fragile approach could not be taken, because that would change the entire architectural feeling of that space, which would have invalidated the purpose of their intent, which was to stay 100% true to that period and design.

So through the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Frank Lloyd Wright’s genius lives on and continues to inspire. Check out Gerald’s sketch of the Hollyhock House below from his Mused book, and read more about ADG Lighting’s connection to Frank Lloyd Wright!

Hollyhock ADG Lighting

new york architecture

New York Is An Excellent Example of Diversity at Its Best

In New York City, every building has its own unique style and character, along with its special purpose for being there. Each building stands proudly along its diverse neighbors without an ounce of competition or animosity. We’ll start our discussion of New York’s great architecture with the UN Building, also known as the United Nations Headquarters, located on the East River between 42nd Street and 48th Street.

The United Nations opened its doors in 1952 and is a symbol of hope for post-war peace. Ever so fitting, it represents the very first example of International Style architecture. It is made up of three individual buildings, with a 39-story tower that houses the offices of the UN Secretariat. This building’s complexity and brilliant design is by Brazillian architect Oscar Niemeyer. The UN headquarters will always be a prominent landmark in the New York City skyline.

The Dakota is one of the most prominent and luxurious co-ops in all of New York City, and if the stunning cathedral-like structure doesn’t impress you, the stories behind the Dakota will. The Dakota was built on the corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West in 1884. This monumental building gave us the setting for the classic Roman Polanski movie Rosemary’s Baby. Although the Dakota is not a place of worship, after John Lennon died in front of the building some felt a spiritual connection to the property.

Another great example of New York’s diverse architecture is reflected with the 100 Eleventh Avenue building. A residential building resembling a tower, it stands tall at the intersection of 19th Street and the West Side Highway. French architect Jean Nouvel calls his 23-story building a “vision machine.” The way the windows are placed gives the illusion of a Gustav Klimt mosaic. 

Regardless of the taste of the individual, one can’t help but admire the creativity of these architectural geniuses. Diversity works beautifully when it’s a fair playing field, and that’s why we all love New York.

 

Palm Springs Mid Century Modern Architecture

Palm Springs Architecture Was A Classic From the Beginning

Palm Springs has the most extensive collection of modernist architecture in our free world. During its heyday, which was during the 1950s and 60s, the very elite and wealthy, which included celebrities, would have villas built in this up-and-coming paradise. So Palm Springs became a haven for the likes of masters such as John Lautner, Richard Neutra and Albert Frey, who have built their best architectural works in this area. 

‘The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

— Pablo Picasso

Features such as overhanging roof planes and shaded verandas are central to this style of architecture, as they evoke a time of an era gone by.

The Kaufmann House by Richard Neutra, circa 1946, is considered the perfect example of desert modernism. The Kaufmann House was designed for Edgar J. Kaufmann by Neutra. The interior includes five bedrooms and five bathrooms, and is in the shape of a cross with living quarters in the center. The four exterior axes create a series of outdoor areas around the property, which includes a large pool.

Of course, Palm Springs wouldn’t be Palm Springs without the mention of old blue eyes, Frank Sinatra. He commissioned E. Stewart Williams to design and build Twin Palms in 1947, which was Williams’ first project. This fabulous villa measures 4,500 square feet, has four bedrooms and seven bathrooms. The inside of the property is long and has flat, slightly sloped roofs.

Another example of modernist architecture in Palm Springs includes the Rey House II by Albert Frey. Completed in 1964, it has a simple steel structure on a concrete podium, and is topped with corrugated aluminium. It also comes complete with a sliding glass door for outside entry, and shade is provided by the overhanging roof.

These are just a few modernist villas worth mentioning, but there are more to see. They represent now only a style of an era gone by evidence that once upon a time, houses were built on a poetic notion.

 

Hearst Castle Exterior, San Simeon California

The Mysteries of Hearst Castle

Once upon a time, there was a man named William Randolph Hearst. He was a famous American newspaper publisher and business tycoon. He lived in a castle on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean in San Simeon.

The vision of Hearst Castle was the brainchild of William Randolph Hearst himself, but the genius who made it all happen was American architect and engineer, Julia Morgan. Julia was ahead of her time; her prolific career happened in a male-dominated industry during a time in our history where women were thought of as “keepers of the castle.” Well, Julia was building them! Julia designed over 700 buildings, and her most famous accomplishment was Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California.

One more note on this award-winning architect: she pioneered the aesthetic use of reinforced concrete that has proven to hold up to seismic movements that happen during strong earthquakes. She died in 1957 at the age of 85. 

William Randolph Hearst lived in the castle from 1919 to 1947, and like any other homeowner with an expendable income, construction on the property continued all the way until right before his death. He was forced to move out in 1947 because of his failing health. He died in 1951.

An interesting unknown detail is that at the time Hearst vacated the estate, it had remained unfinished. This was due to his constant design changes, so Hearst never got to really enjoy and see the entire castle in the state of completion. Although by the time he left the castle, it had contained 165 rooms and the square footage was well over 90,000 square feet. There were also 123 acres of gardens, so he did get to enjoy some of the fruits of his imagination.

As part of the process, Hearst would travel to Europe and see the ceilings from churches and monasteries. When he would see one he liked, he would have it disassembled in Europe and later reassembled in California.

Back in its heyday, Hearst Castle entertained the very elite, from Hollywood royalty to notable politicians. Hearst the man wanted to impress the unattainable, and that he did…and his castle still does today. Currently people come from all over the world to enjoy tours given at the Hearst Castle in San Simeon.

ADG Lighting was a past licensee of the Hearst Castle Collection of Decorative Lighting & Iron. Check out the atelier chrome fixtures and lamps that formerly sat at the Hearst estate.

 

mardakan castle

Mardakan Castle Is Set to Be Revamped

The restoration of the Mardakan Castle was recently signed and agreed upon between the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and the State Service of Cultural Heritage Conservation, Development and Rehabilitation, under the Azerbaijani Culture Ministry. The latter is in charge of the protocols on the restoration.

The Mardakan Castle was originally built in the middle of the 12th century by Akhsitan I, son of Manuchihr III. At that time the castles and fortresses were built to protect against the enemy. So the previous life lived by the Mardakan Castle was rich and full, and now it’s time for a facelift.

The castle was originally built in a quadrangular form, has five tiers, and the entire castle consists of six rooms. There is an inner courtyard that is huge, 28x25m, followed by a round tower that is 22 meters in height, and contains 76 stairs inside the tower. It has been suggested that as many as 108 empty wells that are located in the courtyard were used to store food. Let’s not forget the moat located in front of the castle! This body of water is said to be 25 meters in depth. These details don’t take into account the richness in heritage and culture of that medieval era. 

It’s all about location location location! This motto used in current real estate also played a part during the medieval era. These fortresses were placed in specific locations to defend vital routes against the enemy. 

In Azerbaijan there are many castles and fortresses that primarily functioned as fortresses; some of these include the Gulistan Fortress, Sabayil Castle and Ramana Tower just to name a few. Their similarities were also their differences — each contains the strong rich architecture of the medieval era, each is different in specific detail. It is obvious all stood the test of time.   

Azerbaijan is an ancient country, it’s history is rich in culture and its architecture reflects that. This restoration is important, and the end result will be fascinating.