Skyscrapers and Their Environmentalist Materials

The Contrast of a Skyscraper and the Sky. Polly Nance. PhotoShop digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.  

     These are some photographs I took after going to see the newest Harry Potter movie with my husband and three year old son.  I have been fascinated by architecture ever since I took an art history course on contemporary architecture at Agnes Scott College.  My professor, Katherine Smith, opened my mind to the world of buildings beyond the superficial eye.  I wrote a paper on one of the first skyscrapers in the United States, the Reliance Building in Chicago, IL.  My hero, Joanna Merwood, wrote an amazing article the first year I wrote a paper (for a lower level course) and, by the time I was enrolled in my senior seminar course (pregnant with my second child and all), she had written an entire book on the Reliance building and Daniel Burnham and all that jazz.  Anyways, the point of all this art history talk is that she discussed issues with architecture I never knew existed.  At the time, I had been planning on writing my senior seminar paper on the Reliance Building as a predecessor to Mies Van der Rohe and Philip Johnson’s glass skyscrapers.  Merwood, however, discussed Burnham’s Reliance Building in relationship to the environmentalists who were threatened by the industrial revolution and skyscrapers, which would cause the city and views to be obstructed and claustrophobic.  The glass walls provoked anxiety because of their fragility but pleased the environmentalists because they were easy to clean and were less obstructing than other tall buildings at the time.  There is a lot more I could go into, but to save those who aren’t art historians from boredom, I will leave you to think about this in relationships to these photographs of Atlanta skyscrapers in Buckhead.  The materials employed seem incredibly difficult to keep squeaky clean, but reflect the sky and appear less obstructing to the eye and city views.

I Am Tall, Declared the Glass Curtain-Walled Skyscraper. Polly Nance. PhotoShop digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

Ground, Fence, Sky. Polly Nance. PhotoShop digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

Tea-Toned Skyscraper. Polly Nance. PhotoShop digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

The Contemporary Renaissance Window. Polly Nance. PhotoShop digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

We Reflect the Sky. Polly Nance. PhotoShop digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

Complimentary Fragments of Time and Sky. Polly Nance. PhotoShop digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

Blue and White and Tall. Polly Nance. PhotoShop digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

Blurry and Clear Sky. Polly Nance. PhotoShop digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

Madras Party of Sky and Glass. Polly Nance. PhotoShop digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

I Really REALLY Want a LensBaby Lens! Doesn’t Anyone Want to Buy Me One So I Can Create Cooler Photographs Than This?!! Polly Nance. PhotoShop digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

In Between Bars. Polly Nance. PhotoShop digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

Blurred and Confused. Polly Nance. PhotoShop digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

Elongated Cubes. Polly Nance. PhotoShop digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

Burnham’s Successor. Polly Nance. PhotoShop digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

I Am Like Optimus Prime. Polly Nance. PhotoShop digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

A Railing and Some Glass in the Parking Lot. Polly Nance. PhotoShop digital photograph. 8 x 10 inches.

14 thoughts on “Skyscrapers and Their Environmentalist Materials

  1. Thank you! I took these with my iphone… I normally don’t like photographs if not taken by new camera (or this is a new view on photography that I’m acknowledging as snobby and I’m making fun of myself) but the point is… there is a certain charm to a not pixel-perfect photograph. Anywho, I was surprised by how well these photographs turned out… they aren’t perfectly clear but I was glad I had a camera at that exact time. Thank you for your kind words!

  2. Love these, Polly! That was such an awesome class. I was just reflecting on it recently when I was reading up on Oscar Niemeyer, a Brazilian architect who was one of Le Corbusier’s cohorts. (Did we study Niemeyer in that class…? I couldn’t remember.) Thanks for the background as well–I love nerding out to modern architecture references. 🙂

    http://thegreenchest.wordpress.com/

    • Shannon! I’m so glad you comment on these posts! I need art historian perspectives sometimes! I can’t remember anything about Niemeyer… I have a memory like an ELephant and it scares most people… but I could be mistaken because we did cover a LOT of architects that semester. 🙂 But, I did however end up using Le Courbusier in my senior seminar paper (I am horrible and forget the name of the building but it was some building meant to reflect the sanitary needs from the purpose of the building within… if that makes any sense. It was contemporary looking and modern with geometric blocks of orange and red and blue and yellow and such). Thank you for commenting Shannon! You are awesome and can we please hang out sometime soon!

  3. Hi Polly, thanks for stopping by. I like this series a lot and i love what I can see of your work. I don’t have a very fast DSL connection and your blog took ages to load (well maybe 3 or 4 minutes)

    Probably not a problem for most but I thought you should know…

    • Thank you! So sorry you are having trouble viewing my blog site… I’m not sure what the problem is. I have a decent connection and don’t seem to have a problem. Thank you for letting me know though… I hope others aren’t having the same issue. Thanks for stopping by here too!

    • Ha thank you… I am fascinated by architecture for sure… I even create drawings of a Baroque Basilica and Triumphal Arch for an art history course one time… I guess you could say I love it and my eye is always observing architecture :). Thanks for stopping by!

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