Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Photo Shoot Out: Architecture

Architecture. There's a small subject. Perhaps I'm lucky that today is May 1st, which is Labor Day, and the French take not laboring on Labor Day so seriously there's not even bus service to take me around to the myriad possible sights.

My town's architecture, old, new, fabulous and frumpy.

Clermont-Ferrand is not exactly a jewelry box of medieval and rennaissance treasures, though we do have some. Most of the building is 19th and 20th century, with the latter 20th century being a time of horrible post-war dreck and an unfortunate penchant for naked concrete. Today we're more into glass & steel with a nod to the more traditional styles.

If the streets seem deserted, it's just the holiday! And the black stone is a regional specialty, quarried from our local volcanos.
In the pedestrian district in the old town. The shops are just closed for the day! They're in the same storefronts as ever, centuries after the buildings were put up. I am assured there is electricity, heat, and plumbing everywhere. The flamboyant gothic era cathedral, and the new fountain celebrating Pope Urbain the Second preaching the First Cruisade. Pretty fountain, scary thought.
In the center of town we have a huge empty square. It's useful when they bring in the huge screen TVs for everyone to watch the world cup together, or when there's a concert or something. But usually it's just rather too much flat empty space.

Two steps away in the center they've razed a whole city block to make way for something new. The archeological study is taking its time, and you can still see the vestiges of the very very old architecture of the city.
Then turn halfway back to the open square and there's the mall, recently covered over with mily-blue glass panels. Trust me, this is better than the original 1970's façade we had until last year!
These are a couple of typical homes, followed by one of the larger public housing projects. Fortunately, the French have decided that these huge housing projects do not really serve the city best. They're ugly and nobody likes to go there. They become dangerous because they group poor people together and surround them with this unpleasant environment with nothing to do, no jobs, nowhere to be but in your shoebox apartment. The trend now is toward groups of up to a dozen apartments, with balconies and green spaces. People don't feel so helpless there.

These are pictures of the public hospital site, with the general public hospital sporting an ochre finish, and the spanking new biological laboratories building in steel & glass. My hospital, the Jean Perrin cancer center, is just across the parking lot. Built in the 70's, it would be so expensive to renovate and bring up to code for overnight patient care that a new patient building will go up in our current doctors' parking lot next year. I work in an annex out back that will be razed for parking.


Chef E said...

Love the photos, the writing, the cute cats distract me, but marching on down the road with you...I always love looking up at buildings; that is when you see things one misses just walking hurriedly about their business each day...nice to meet you!

Excited about next Friday...oh and if your hungry I have a food blog as well! I am checking out your other blog too...

gigi said...

I love that one shot looking up, perfect, I felt like I was there doing so. That cathedral is magnificent. Georgous pictures.

Patty said...

I have been around, but I have never been to France. My son has been twice and he took a lot of photos.

I love these shootouts because we are seeing towns and cities from the eyes of the people who live there. That makes it so much better than brochures and snapshots taken by tourists.

Beautiful photos. I love your churches, and I could live in one of those two houses you photographed.

Thanks for a personal tour around your city.

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

Oh my Science Girl!!!! These are fabulous shots!!!
You are an awesome addition to Friday Shoot-Outs and welcome, welcome, welcome to our gang. The beauty of France is breathtaking lovely lady.
Have an extreme weekend and......

Steady On
Reggie Girl

J9 said...

I love the interplay of new and old in your photos, mostly because I love seeing the history of a place and how the current residents interpret the needs of the people! Thanks for a great tour!

Gordon said...

With your busy schedule, it must be hard to keep up with blogging.
I do appreciate your post on architecture. I always enjoy reading your comments. Scruffy says hello, with a speacial shou-out to "Pinky". He just calls him that. I think its with affection though. (in a guy kind of way)
Check out the last four posts on my shoot-out blog. Scruffy came to the rescue.
There is also some acton this week on his blog. Thanks. I enjoy chatting with you. Gordon

sciencegirl said...

Thanks, everyone! I'm glad I joined the Friday Shootouts and thus get to meet all of you. It is hard to find time, Gordon, and I'm slowly making my way to all the bloggers on the Shootout list - real treasures, all.

GingerV said...

Geez France, I love France - we hope to spend another week there next spring. I didn't know you also suffer those terrible 70s buildings. Rio is 90% these unimaginative, metal windowed buildings. Good shoot-out and I look forward to more... you should have great gardens for next week.

Elaine Dale said...

It's so interesting to see the comparison of the old and new in a city where the old is older than I'm used to. Great photos and commentary. Thanks for becoming a follower for my site!

Si's blog said...

Fascinating view or a real life French city. Thanks for the tour.

Agree with Patty. Really neat to see places from all over the world.

GigiSxm said...

ah la France! I fell in love with Paris just seeing the architecture on the way to the Champs Elizees. Thanks for the look at Clairmont Ferant. Love your photos

Butler and Bagman said...

I missed this last Friday...been busy...but it was well worth coming back to.