Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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Category — Architecture/Place/Memorial

Taliesin West


A few weeks back, I visited my brother in Arizona. a highlight of my trip was a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter house called Taliesin West, which is essentially a complex that has everything from a movie theater, art studio, and cafeteria. It served as a winter home for him and the members of his architecture apprenticeship. Frank Lloyd Wright is known as the greatest architect. He lived from 1867-1959. What made him unique is that he designed every last detail in all of his houses. Usually architects do not design furniture and colors of each and every corner of the houses they work on.

A very notable feature of Taliesin West is that it blends in with the mountain it’s on. Its main foundations are made of rock taken from the mountain and concrete. Majority of the buildings of Taliesin West are one story high (along with almost every other house in the Phoenix area). Its colors are a brownish red, brown and gray. There are a few pools and fountains scattered throughout the complex. Wright used many geometric shapes and many different colors in his designs.

Wright did not like to waste space. Doorways and hallways in his house are very short and then open up to normal sized rooms. This made the room one is entering seem a lot larger. He left corners unwalled because he felt it restrained him. Most of the rooms in the house were originally left 1/4 unwalled. Eventually he agreed to put glass windows.

Pages and pages can be written about Taliesin West but it will never compare to seeing Frank Lloyd Wright’s skills in person.


December 20, 2012   No Comments

Growing Up

I grew up in a small town outside of Boston, Massachusetts called Scituate. Before high school, I moved 4 times. I was born in Scituate, which has its own harbor, and then 6 years later moved to Weymouth. After Weymouth, we continued moving north, ending up in Haverhill, MA. 5 years after that, we crossed the southern border of New Hampshire and now live in a small town of about 7,000 called Hampstead, NH. Since I grew to age 6 in Scituate, we’ll revisit some of the sights and sounds of that beautiful little fisherman’s town.

Above is a map of Scituate. Boston can be seen to the north, and if you were to continue to the southwest, you would eventually reach New York. It is the second furthest outcropping of land in Massachusetts, with the first being Cape Cod. Fishermen, wharfs, and the US Coast Guard call Scituate home, and I remember very vividly trips down to the water to see the boats.


This is an aerial view of Scituate Harbor. I lived on small street called Egypt Lane, and I would walk around and describe the neighborhood houses to my parents. Scituate has been a port town for over 200 years, and the houses were all built to accommodate the sea captains and fishermen who used to live there. Many of the houses are quite old, and the architecture was based on the amount of money the inhabitant had. Fishermen generally lived in smaller, less spacious houses than wealthy sea captains, who had multiple bedrooms and verandas, as well as roof patios.


My upbringing here was very dependent on the sea culture. I would be taken down to the beach, and the smell of the sea wouldn’t wash off you for days. My pockets would be full of sea glass on my walk home, and the toy store in downtown was a sure stop. the lighthouse was constantly lit, and smell of saltwater taffy was in the air.

Time to go back and visit, I think.



December 8, 2012   No Comments

An Afternoon in the Garden

On what originally seemed to be a beautiful fall day, a group of friends and I decided to visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. As soon as we got there, however, the clouds covered the sky, creating a gray and somewhat eery atmosphere. We enjoyed the day nonetheless, but I found it interesting to note how the weather could significantly change our experience in the gardens. Had it been sunny and beautiful, for instance, it would have created a completely different environment; I felt like it was really able to control our emotional response, which is an important aspect of any work of art.

Regardless, I was still able to appreciate the beauty of my natural surroundings: the flowers, the trees, both individually and as a collective whole in their carefully planned-out arrangements. This prompted me to remember a number of questions we had discussed in class: what is beauty, and what does it mean to be beautiful? Is there a precise mathematical calculation behind it? Or can something be beautiful because it goes against such perfect proportions?

I also came across some interesting dome structures made from thin, interwoven tree branches. They reminded me of a bird nest, of which we saw many that day as well. This brought back the idea of the Bower birds and whether or not animals can create art. What exactly is art, then, and who is an artist? One may say no, animals cannot create art because there is no intention behind it. However, isn’t art also considered to be something difficult done well?

Overall, I do believe one can find art in nature and that it does not necessarily have to be man-made.



December 2, 2012   No Comments

Protest as a Form of Art

Hi everyone,

I hope you all are doing well. Before tomorrow’s gathering at the Symphony Space, I want to share a brief reflection on a protest that I attended on Thursday for the civilians in Gaza. With the recent surge in violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip, millions of people across the world are organizing/attending protests to show their solidarity with the people in Gaza and Syria, who are both suffering at the hands of brutal regimes. It’s interesting to note that these people are not only Muslim; they are of different ethnicities, races, and religions. The protest I attended was, needless to say, incredibly emotionally charged; my friend was very angry and upset because she was unable to get in touch with her family in Gaza due to the Israeli government shutting down all forms of communication (i.e. internet, phone lines, etc.) in the Gaza Strip. I guess the only thing that I can do is hope for peace and justice in the Middle East. As one poster said, “WE HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT OUR HUMANITY.”

While I was at the protest, I noticed various manifestations of “resistance art” directly on the posters, the signs, and the banners. The Palestinian flag was omnipresent; a blur of red, white, black, and green permeates my memories as I recall seeing weeping old men, teenage males passionately shouting “Free, Free Phillistine, Free, Free Ghaaza,” and fiery, young girls wearing hijab (the Islamic head-scarf) thrusting their fists into the air demanding justice. I help up a sign that boldly stated, “With Justice Comes Peace-Free Palestine!” and there were dozens of other people holding up the V-sign colored in the Palestinian flag colors. Perhaps what was most striking about this protest was not  the signs brandished by the Arab community, but by Hasidic Jews who held up signs reading, “Judaism Does Not Support Zionism.”

Overall, this experience will not be forgotten any time soon. I first-handedly witnessed protest art!

November 19, 2012   4 Comments

9/11 Memorial

The 9/11 memorial showed me that Art isn’t just something for artists or “artsy people.”  I learned that art can be used to channel the public feeling or help the regular people heal too at the 9/11 memorial.

The memorial had some key themes, like absence, time, and an unwillingness to let the collective spirit of NYC be crushed.

The 2 pools in place of the towers really brought home that something used to stand there, and the fact that I couldn’t see the bottom made me think of death for some reason. The water in the pool flowed downwards into the bottomless pit that sucked it down and made me feel like I was about to fall in.The black paint is supposed to wear off and show the copper underneath, which I found symbolic- black and shiny metallic paint seems to signal new, gaping, evil shock, while copper seems more distinguished and old, like the Statue of Liberty.

The names of people who had died at the site of 9/11 were carved in the bronze on the edge of the pools; Firemen, Emergency Medical Technicians, people who had worked in the towers, and even the fetus of a woman who had been taking a stroll in the area were all represented. For some reason, the fetus being mentioned in the carving made the scope of the tragedy sink in, because not only were the people who were there died- their potential descendents died as well, in a sense.

Parts of the original towers, like the tridents, were there as well.

The Survivor Tree, a pear tree that survived 9/11, was the perfect symbol of how New Yorkers feel about 9/11- just like the tree survived and grew, so will New York City. All of the other trees in the memorial are new oak trees because the Survivor Tree is there to stand out. It was nursed back to health for 9 years before being returned to its old home. True recovery takes time.

Construction is taking place in the area as part of the memorial. The construction says that life is still being lived at the World Trade Center. I feel that this is an important message to the terrorists behind 9/11. It says that New York City is doing what New York City does- build things and rebuild on top of old things- and that they do NOT have the power to alter the way we are.

November 4, 2012   No Comments

Photo of My Neighborhood

This is a photo from my parents’ room upstairs. A large portion of Staten Island is visible as well as brooklyn and some of the city. This is where I saw the smoke from on 09/11/01

October 25, 2012   No Comments

Vietnam/World Trade Center

I remember the morning of September 11th quite vividly. I was in school and all they told us was that our parents were on their way to come pick us up, and a teacher came and told our teacher that there was an attack on the World Trade Center, and my only concern was for my friend’s mother, who worked in the towers. My father told me everything that happened on the way home. The smoke was a visible and clear sight from my house. When we visited the memorial, I felt somber and solemn, far beyond I expected to feel. I hadn’t lost anyone in the attacks on 9/11, but I felt a pain and connection with fellow New Yorkers. Furthermore, I felt power in the memorial. I felt power and assurance that we will move on from that terrible day and will grow from it. I felt assured that the deaths that took place on this tragic day were respected and the families of the victims can find comfort in that their members have been given a proper memorial/burial site.
Visiting the Vietnam Memorial, I could only think of one word as we were there: forgotten. There were no visitors at the memorial aside from our class and security was nearly nonexistent. Yes, the war was a fairly long time ago but it still took place in the lifetime of most American grandparents today. The positive to be taken from this situation is that we do move on from difficult times. We will get past 9/11 if we have not already done so, and we will grow, to some extent from the events of that tragic day so that history will not repeat itself.

October 25, 2012   No Comments

Queens, New York

I’ve been living in Queens since I was 3 years old. Since my parents worked a lot I didn’t have anyone to take me to places I wanted to go, so I had to find a way around myself. Since I couldn’t drive a car as a kid, I mainly took public transportation such as buses and trains to get where I wanted to go.


Since I mainly went to places around Queens, each city was significantly different. Flushing was where all the Asian stores were located, Bellerose was where you found countless apartment complexes and Astoria was where all the adults went to work. However there was one unifying piece of art located in each of these cities that made them cities of New York, graffiti.


Graffiti was everywhere I went. On nearly every main road or convenience store you would see graffiti. Mainly it consisted of local gang tags but every once in a while you come across magnificent pieces of art in the form of graffiti.  Three-dimensional pieces of art would spring to life on the surface of a brick wall that would seem to grab at you if you came too close.


Graffiti is a free form art. There are no rules, no procedures to follow. Just an artist, a few spray cans and a brick wall. The possibilities of graffiti were endless.  It’s amazing to see an artist’s image in their head come to life on regular pavement you would walk on everyday without noticing it.


I believe graffiti represents Queens because of the fact that it can make something so ordinary, magnificent. You’re literally walking one day not noticing anything special about the pavement your stepping on. Then the very next day you’re gazing in awe at the beauty of a graffiti artist.


October 22, 2012   No Comments

Vietnam War Memorial and 9/11 Memorial

We first visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial; a memorial tucked between two large buildings on the southern tip of Manhattan. It was a memorial that I, quite frankly, never even knew existed. When we first entered the plaza in which the memorial was situated, we were met by a large map that detailed landmarks and major locations and battles of the Vietnam War. We then continued down The Walk of Honor. Along this walkway that lead to the memorial, on either side, were listed the names and ages of the 1,741 New Yorkers who died in Vietnam. After proceeding to the end of the walkway, we finally arrived to the memorial itself.
I found the memorial to be quite interesting. Firstly, there was the ability to actually walk through the memorial. There were two rectangular arches that allowed passage from one side to the other allowing quick access to and views of both sides of the memorial. The materials used for the memorial were also interesting, namely the glass blocks. These glass blocks were in essence individual units that came together to make a larger, singular memorial. Also, the glass used was not transparent. Rather, the glass was a very opaque green; almost giving the sense that it was hiding something deep within it’s confines.
The part that I found the most interesting, however, were the actual letters written between soldiers in Vietnam and their families back home etched into the glass of the memorial. Many of them spoke of the horrors of the war, the terrible sights, sounds and smells, the constant fear, and confrontation with death. But one letter stood out the most to me. Or rather just one phrase: “Don’t be a hero.” It’s a phrase I’ve heard from my dad so many times used in so many scenarios that it almost seems like a joke when he says it sometimes. But to see these words used in such an extreme context- a mother whose beloved son is thrown into the clenches of a gruesome and deadly war- really struck me. It made me think of how lucky I am, living safely as I do, and not fighting in a terrible war with my life on the line, as did so many young men, many even younger than me, did before.

We then visited the 9/11 memorial. It was interesting to immediately see the contrast between the two memorials, the first a seemingly abandoned plaza hiding at the shy edge of the city between buildings, a highway, and a heliport, and the second bustling with activity of those coming to pay their respect, the intense security, and the bustle of the city that surrounds the memorial. Once we past security, though, the atmosphere was much more calm and quiet. And very somber. People walked around slowly and quietly around the plaza and memorials. To add to that feeling, it was a particularly grey day.
To juxtapose this silence, however, was the roaring of the water flowing from the two pools. I found this quite remarkable. The water that started at the top of the pool seemed so placid, yet as it trickled over the edge the splashing sound resonated quite loudly. It then fell into what seemed like a bottomless pit, as the angle of the viewer cut off the pit that lies in the center of the pools, and throws off any perception of its true depth.
The pools themselves are also quite large, and I find that their size and placement in accordance to the two towers is very impactful. I can’t honestly say that I remember the twin towers, but this representation clearly implies that they were quite massive. In addition, the name of every person who perished in that terrible tragedy is etched deeply into a sheet of thick metal. To see name after name after name, of every man woman, and even unborn child going on for what seemed like forever, with the occasional flower placed here or there was deeply moving. I can’t say I really remember the twin towers as they stood, nor do I have any personal relationship with anyone involved in the terror attacks of 9/11, but I still felt a sense of loss; a terrible pang deep within my heart.
But despite this loss, hope was still alive. I thought this was well personified by the survivor tree. Although damaged in the attacks, the tree survived, and was nursed back to health. I had previously visited the 9/11 memorial, and the survivor tree seemed to be terribly damaged, held together by ropes and cables. Yet on this day, the tree seemed vibrant and full of life, and a shining symbol of the future.

October 16, 2012   No Comments

Coney Island

There isn’t much art in the area of Brooklyn where I live and have lived since birth. There’s a bunch of houses, apartment buildings, shops and synagogues. Nothing stands out as artistic besides some of the nicer houses so I decided to take a trip to Coney Island, ten minutes away from home.

When tourists think of the Brooklyn, they think of Coney Island, which is home to the Brooklyn Cyclones, Astroland (now called Luna Park after some transfer of ownership) and of course the eighty-five-year-old wooden coaster called the Cyclone. The skill and originality of the roller coaster design along with its popularity make up one of the most significant symbols of Brooklyn, enough that it became an NYC landmark. I wonder if anyone would consider a roller coaster art. Nevertheless, I feel the whole design of the park and its colorfulness would make it art.

An attempt at taking a picture of the park from the Wonder Wheel through the fog


Wonder Wheel – The scary old Ferris wheel


Luna Park Entrance

The Cyclone


October 4, 2012   No Comments