Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Parking Ticket

Well, I got a parking ticket in a bright green envelope this afternoon. I've been parking in a metered spot on the street, but last month, someone installed a shrouded meter money taker half way down the block, so I assumed that as it was covered, I didn't have to dump quarters into the individual meters any more.
WRONG. $30 ticket. I photographed the newly installed shrouded meter and the lack of signage telling us to keep those quarters cycling into the old meters. I am going to traffic court with photos and see if I can talk my way out of paying this fee. I had no idea I was making a wrong assumption as I looked at that shroud.

Up and Down the Central Staircase

Quite a wonderful day at the building. Was up and down five flights of stairs as many as a dozen times. Good for the heart and certainly replaces a walk around the neighborhood. May not be the necessary 10,000 steps, but perhaps stairs get counted twice? Here's a photo of the window at the top of the building . I show this image because you can see blue sky and clouds at the top of this central stairwell. Serena Lin Bush has already installed three cameras on the roof that will photograph the Houston sky. At the bottom of the five story staircase, she'll install as many as a half dozen flat screen monitors that will show real time photos of the sky. No one will in the basement will be without daylight and blue skies. I love the concept. She'll install the monitors next Wednesday
In any case, lots of art installing today, and tomorrow too.
This morning Geoff Winningham beat me to the site. I wasn't late. He was early. I'd also stopped by Studio Red for a bag of hard hats for artists to wear while they install. Thanks, Chelsea for leaving them by the front reception desk.
Geoff has three pieces in the building, each a photograph of Buffalo Bayou printed on aluminum. They are beautifully processed and the images change as you move toward them for a close up look or stand back to see the entire image. We hung a photo mural in the basement reception area first. I noticed that a lighting fixture has been installed above the inset, but it wasn't on, so the area is still dark and the image doesn't show well. We need the light on.
We moved up to level 4 to hang the second mural which is a beautiful image of two folks fishing along Buffalo Bayou. The main UH Downtown building is reflected in the rippling water. It's a perfectly beautiful subtle image.
Geoff's third piece is a triptych - a soft image of trees along the bayou, misty, quiet and perfect for the space we chose in the staircase of the Green Building Resource Center.
The staircase has two large windows that look out over downtown Houston and Geoff's piece almost looks like a third window. By the way, the staircase is great looking.
We are covering all the artwork with plastic until the move-in is complete, so none should get bumped, scrapped or too dusty. I noticed that there is a cleaning crew up on level four dusting the sprinkling system pipes, washing the windows, retouching walls. The installation of many, many cubicles on level 4 appears to be complete and the workers have moved down to level 3 and are assembling hundreds more. At least it seems like hundreds. I am told that 700 people will work in this building, though over a hundred will be in the field most the day inspecting. Still, there will be a lot of employees in this one space.
I have to say, it's been fun preparing for the folks who will work in this facility. In a way, my job has been like getting ready for a party. Hoping you've got things people will like or at least talk about or be surprised by. I continue to say that there will be no other public building like this one in all of Houston or perhaps the country.
Houston bought an 80+ year old building that was the first Houston Infirmary and then a rice warehouse and now a sustainable, green building for city employees. Just the fact that the city bought an old structure, saw the possibilities of building green and over time, saving tax dollars by doing so, is a story. The building 'walks the walk', so to speak.
Bob Card and his assistant Daniel Adame finished installing the first of my walls today. The piece is a bar code that reads GREEN if you can read bar code.
Bob used salvaged and recycled woods for the bar code and on the side of each piece, he labelled the type of wood and from where it came. The piece is elegant and spare and I like it in the lobby where the building's admin offices will be.
Back in the lobby all the benches in the waiting areas are being installed. And Metalab Studio's piece is taking shape near the north entrance. Finally sheet rocked so their glass installer can add in the sheet of glass upon which images will be projected. The images will come from a series of CO2 monitors. The monitors will be installed along the lobby columns. Breathe into them and see the effect of your very own CO2 on the big screen.
It's our hope that folks entering the lobby will have a good time with this piece, once they understand that they can affect the light patterns on the glass.
Jesse Sifuentes moved his two canvases into the building yesterday and was back today to begin work on the L-shaped stretcher for the mural on level 4. The 'coffee' mural is in temporary storage near Dean and Dan's work until they finish with the terrazzo at the other end of the lobby. Jesse and his brother and nephew carried four sections of stretcher and a huge rolled camvas up four flights of the exterior staircase. There is a lot going on in this building. Mark McAvoy, the new facility's administrator, if that is the correct title, is leading walk through tours for employees. I'm seeing some of the folks I've talked with about text. Hope they like the results. Hope they love the entire building. There's been such care and thought put into every part of it. Stair railings, carpet, terrazzo colors, wayfaring signage, lighting, counter surfaces. And then there's the art. Happened on these two chairs at the north entrance yesterday. Saw a bunch of lunch boxes scattered around them mid day. I think they are the same two chairs I saw on the roof over a year ago when I first visited the building. When I didn't yet have the job of coordinating this civic art effort. Kind of a nice touch that they are still on the site being used every day. Plastic does last forever.