Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Lotso touristy goodness going on with me lately:

1)  A beach vacation in Galveston, Texas, a city with a fascinating history that includes Spanish explorer shipwrecks (Cabeza de Vaca); French explorer shipwrecks (La Salle); cannibals; pirates; early Texas troublemakers; numerous hurricanes; bootleggers, rum-runners, and illegal gambling; oil riggers; doctors; artists; Spring Break college kid troublemakers; and, nowadays, Caribbean cruise-goers.  Also delicious oyster po'boys.  And don't forget the Gumbo Bar's gumbo!

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science - believed public domain image.

2)  The new Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

A very interesting building - a sort of geological-metaphor of a structure.

 Architecturally I thought it had a beautifully clear design parti and well executed pre-cast concrete panels that suggest rock strata...  not so convinced by the west-facing plaza which will, I believe, be a broiler pan for afternoon visitors in the summer.  (Plus facing nothing-much instead of the main street, making the street-facing school bus entry look like the main door.)  Also problematic, for me, are all the one-material-just-slides-past-another gaps that recur in the building's detailing.  A cleaning crew nightmare: already little kids are dropping candy wrappers down these slots.  As often happens with such complex geometries, a few intersections of materials and planes are unresolved.  But traveling up and through the vertical circulation path is a kick.  The main ticket hall is a great space.  And I love all the glimpses of the city outside.  It's a very urban building.  

Some terrific displays (visit the dinosaurs and gem hall!).   My favorite detail is probably the giant amethyst geode that the visitor can crank a mechanism to open and reveal its crystalline beauty... a perfect microcosm of the building itself.

Amethyst geode from Wikimedia

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