August 30, 2012

Pasadena Museum Architect, John Kelsey, 1925-2012

photo: Hometown Pasadena
Earlier this month, John Kelsey, one of the designers of what is now the Norton Simon Museum, died at age 86.  I still remember the first time I came across the museum not long after I moved to California.  Here was a 60's modernist building whose design was far from dated and despite it's not-so-functional location, blended nicely along Colorado Blvd. and juxtaposed against the soft dip along the road.  The dark brown exterior and low-slung height made the building one with the grounds without a hint of pretension or grandeur.  Looking at the building, you can't help but sense a hint of mysteriousness as to what the museum holds.  This goes counter to many of the newer museums built in the last two decades where size, design and sometimes outlandishness trumps functionality.  And once you enter this museum you're pleasantly surprised by the scale of the interior, wondering how you were deceived before you walked through the front doors.

August 23, 2012

Catania Pasadena

Remember the long-suffering development at the corner of W. Green St. and S. St. John?  You know, the eyesore that was draped in loose tarp for the longest time?  Well, it's finally finished.  I can't tell if it's still the original developer, JSM Construction, who finished the project (it stalled because they ran out of money), but the building is looking pretty nice.  Yogaworks just opened in one of the commercial spaces below and you've got Ralph's right next door if you find yourself short on milk.

One thing that surprised me, though, is the units are available for lease, not purchase.  There are 33 units up for rent, with sizes ranging from 2,100 to 3,000 square feet...quite big!  Rates start at $4,200 per month...quite expensive!  This is definitely the upscale alternative to the neighboring Westgate development.  I guess, I shouldn't be surprised that this building went rental.  Right now there is a lot of high-end condos on the market around the Pasadena area and it will take a little time for the market to soak it all up.