All posts by Rex M.

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts



The Adrienne Arsht Center for the performing arts is another beauty. The building is mostly white stone that does well in the ravaging Miami sun. The southern face however is a large bank of glass. The building is squat, yet graceful. Chiseled in low layers. The lighting design is very well done and it has some beautiful night time views.

Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall



The Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall is one of Pelli’s most delightful works. It is a light and airy pastry of a building. The ribbon of clear non mirrored glass is a welcome change. Through it the view of muted choral white walls predominates. These walls would be good at helping reduce the solar gain of the building. But if one looks closely, beyond the grace of the circular staircase, the rich colors of the interior spaces can be seen bleeding out.

Private Residence



It seems that Cesar Pelli likes his residential structures tall like he likes his sky-scrapers. Even though this structure seems at times ridiculous in its exaggerated proportions, the architect seems to make it visually appealing. The feel is very Japanese, with the large columns and low rooflines. I shudder to think of the heating bills, but I am sure with views and a structure as massive as this, heating bills are not a constraint upon the occupants. The wasteful nature of large residences does sadden me. All the time an effort spent constructing a thing, that is so much more than it needs to be.

Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care


Cesar Pelli did a fantastic job with incorporating just the right amount of whimsy into the Buerger Center for Advanced Pediatric Care. The outdoor green space gives the building a comforting feel, while the colorful overlays are entertaining to look at and functional by casting shade on the envelope. I can only imagine the how many children’s hearts this building has helped to lift in the most uncomfortable of times.

Pacific Design Center


I certainly did not expect to find work by Cesar Pelli as interesting as this. The primary colors seem to upset one’s train of thought just long enough to allow them to start looking for the finer messages in these shapes. It is a geometric cornucopia, with subtler lessons about statics and mechanics of materials woven throughout. I would love to walk around the campus to find all the hidden messages he left for those looking at how the shapes interact. I am sure the real show happens at eye level.


If you look at the tall and grand buildings built across history, it has always been those with the money and power to accomplish the structures that managed to create them. You can walk through history and see where perhaps emporers built huge places for their own burial, and then churches and city states, and now that we are in the modern age, the tall and grand buildings are being built by todays powerful. In this particular case Cesar Pelli designed designed these toweres for Petronas Oil, a state owned oil and gas company. These buildings were the tallest in the world for a time. There are many architectural features that were intended to tie into the Muslim faith of the region. Perhaps it resonates better with people there, and perhaps I am immediately critical of anything oil companies do, but I find them gaudy.

Townley’s Milk Bottle


The Townley Milk Bottle was a curiosity to me. I always wondered “what possible use is that building?” It seemed so small, locked down on an island adrift in a sea of traffic. Now of course I know that in the recent past, this intersection was much smaller, which due to the relative nature of the universe made the building substantially bigger. But time marches on, people get taller, SUV’s get bigger, and soon enough that milk bottle will be just about the size of a gallon of milk.  Actually it has been used to sell milk, beer, baguettes, and flowers, as well as serving as a  hair and nail salon. I had a brilliant friend in high school that thought it would be the perfect place to sell weed… That might have happened, who knows.  Braums now hangs its flag there, but it just doesn’t look right to me.

The McMansion



We were asked not to take any photos of this house by the homeowner, so I have offered up a picture from Google Earth. The scale of this house is remarkable, and I shudder to think at the cost of such an endeavor. While the owners seemed to be lovely people, one does wonder how long we could expect the natural resources of the earth to last if this is the type of excess that its inhabitants aspire to.  There is an interesting  article in that states that if the population of the earth all lived as we Americans do, we would need 4 earths to support ourselves.




I have worked on many homes during my career as a carpenter, but one of my favorites was a craftsman near the capitol. The homeowners loved the Proctor and Gamble house (a historic Craftsman) and wanted stair that was similar to one in that house. The stair is shown below in mahogany.craftsman-entry


Somewhere out there there is a digital tool that allows you to navigate around the house, I looked but could not find it. The windows are spectacular. Below is a picture of the stair we built for them, unfinished, and in oak.  All the boards are bookmatched (the grain is continuous as they were cut from the same piece of wood) as they go horizontally around the stair.




McDonalds had a significant effect on me as a child. I know now that they were marketing directly at my demographic, and it worked spectacularly well. Oddly enough, even with my aversion to meat as a child (I seriously hated it), I loved going to McDonalds and would always lobby for it whenever my sister and I were presented with a choice. Now that I am an adult, I don’t spend time watching television, I try to be healthy, and consequently I don’t eat McDonalds very often at all. But as a child I remember casting many a vote for the golden arches. Now that I can break it all down, I understand that it had to do with the experience, and not the Filet O’ Fish, and that the Architecture was an integral part of the appeal. That red roof reminiscent of Ronald’s red hair, and the golden arches making the “M” seemingly made out of French fries, and the low flat roof making the entire building perhaps reminiscent of one of their sandwiches. Now I mainly use McDonalds as a restroom when I am on a road trip, but perhaps I can look forward to the time I will spend there in the future… I have heard many an old man comment on the “Senior Coffee”, and I do enjoy coffee.