Ernesto Altamirano


Attending ciclavia has become an event that I look forward to every time the opportunity is presented.  This was my second time attending this experience, so I had a good idea of what to expect, and ended up being pleasantly surprised at how amazing the day turned out.  I carpooled with a classmate to Union Station, and we met up with the rest of our classmates at the east starting point of the course.  What immediately caught my attention was the large number of people that were taking part in the event this time around.  It was astounding to see the sea of people that filled the streets throughout the course.  There were people from all walks of life there, old, young, disabled, and everyone that was present was there to have a great time.  Nothing mattered more than the experience of biking down the streets and experiencing Los Angeles from a different perspective.  I knew that the actual distance was a lot longer than what was advertised, so I came prepared.  But as we proceeded down the course, there were people in full costumes, some riding circus bikes and carrying their pets, and others on rollerblades and skateboards, and although I figured they wouldn’t make it to the sea, what mattered was being able to experience the characters and interesting sights of each unique neighborhood that lined the route, and really get a better understanding of what Los Angeles is all about. The one thing I remember vividly from this ride is the feeling of being enveloped completely by the people and bikes that surrounded me at each red light.  There were thousands of people around you, and at each red light it became very evident as everyone squeezed in to any available space while we all waited for the light to turn green again. It was a bit claustrophobic, but everyone made the best of it at each red light, and after about 10 of these, we all became accustomed to it.  I really enjoyed seeing some of the neighborhoods that I grew up in from a different view, and see just how much change has taken place throughout the years.  As we rolled into Venice Beach a couple of hours later, we were met by huge crowds that had just finished the same journey we were on.  We stopped to grab a drink, and quickly headed back towards downtown.  We knew we were going to be short on time, and soon realized we wouldn’t make it back before the streets reopened to vehicular traffic.  Having no helmet on, it felt a bit unnerving being in the same lane as traffic the whole way back.  But having a couple thousand of our newest friends in the same situation made for an enjoyable and interesting ride back home.



IM Pei is a Chinese/American Architect who is an advocate of contextual development and variation in style.  He is known for combining traditional architectural elements with modern designs based on simple geometric shapes.  Pei went on secretive trips to the Louvre Museum to get a better understanding of the space he was being asked to manipulate.  He thought that a complete overhaul was not only possible, but that it was necessary for the survival of the museum.  The Louvre Pyramid was part of the “Grand Louvre” project that involved expanding and modernizing the Louvre Museum.  The Museum had entrances that were too small, and the layout was thought to be too confusing.  IM Pei’s idea involved taking advantage of the central courtyard and making a subterranean entrance to the museum.  Pei was looking for a form that would attract visitors, and at the same time have a unique design to it.  He designed the pyramid with glass cladding so that it would not hinder views, and would also allow light to enter the open space below the pyramid.  There was opposition to this design by the public, but now it is one of the cities most beloved landmarks.  The most obvious design element is the main pyramid, but there are 3 smaller pyramids and an inverted pyramid that were placed as part of the museum renovation.  The Pyramid is enclosed by 3 smaller pyramids, and reflection pools surround the shape, which reflect the glass paneling of the pyramid and surrounding buildings in the plaza, which make for an exciting and colorful composition at night.

Geometric Hot SpringsScreen Shot 2013-04-20 at 6.31.34 PM“Geometric Hot Springs” by German Del Sol

Villarica National Park, Chile.  2003-2004

The geometric shapes that form the walkways and bath houses that line these natural hot springs reveal areas never before accesible in this landscape.

Alto de Bayna


“Alto de Bayna Lookout” by Juan Antonio Sanchez

Blanca, Spain.  2004

The angled columns, steel cable overhead, and narrow passageway leading to the edge of a cliff create tension in this rugged terrain.

Pedestrian Walkway

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 6.23.19 PM

“Pedestrian Walkway of Deer Moat” by AP Atelier/Josef Pleskot

Prague< Czech Republic . 2002

Parallel wood elements, along with a single steel rail, make a path amongst the hillsides that let visitors interact with the landscape in different ways.


Blog #4

The day began full of anticipation as i knew i was headed down to San Diego to go take a tour of the Stuart collection at UCSD.  We walked around and saw some of the pieces throughout the campus, and what caught my attention was that the pieces seemed to have certain things in common.  Some of the pieces were very angular, some were colorful, and some were abstract.  The pieces that caught my attention the most were the colorful ones.  The Sun God, Fallen Star, and Read/Write/Think/Dream all fall under this category.  They all play with light properties to capture your attention.  Colored tiles, colorfully decorated interior, creation of colors by overlapping primary colors, they each had a unique way of using color to interact with the audience.  The pieces that i would include as angular would be Untitled, Two Running Violet V Forms, and Another.  To me, these pieces had important lines running through the designs that caught your eye.   With Untitled, it was the symmetry of the fountain with the flagpole and how they were aligned.  With the running V Forms, the way the fence ran throughout the trees at distinct angles, and the contrast it created with those sharp lines was fascinating.  The abstract pieces would have to be Trees, Bear, and Snake Path.  These were some of the more interactive and interesting pieces on the tour.  These used large stones, mosaic tiles, and lead sheets placed over tree trunks to get you to walk up to them and interact with them.  Each one had its own textures and gradients that made them unique in this category.  It was great to see the pieces that we had time for, and it was also good to understand the significance of each one and how they each have their own little hideaways on the UCSD campus.


Blog #3

The day began with the scenic drive along the coast down to San Diego.    Once you pass San Clemente along the 5 freeway, your met with the ocean as you continue down closer to the city.  We all met at UCSD to take a tour of the campus, which was home to the Stuart Collection.  The first thing I noticed was the scream of fighter jets in the skies above as they departed Miramar.  The UCSD students all seemed unfazed by the loud roars of the jet engines, as they are accustomed to this on a daily basis.  We walked all around campus and briefly stopped at each one of the pieces in the collection, and our tour guide spoke to us about the significance of each piece and its relevance to their individual locations.  The ones that caught my attention were Trees, Fallen Star, and Snake Path.  Our tour guide had us stare off into the distance to see if we could spot one of the Trees from Terry Allen’s piece, and some from our group were able to distinguish the artificial tree from the rest.  As we walked up to it, you could see the texture of the lead sheets as they were nailed on the trunk, and you could hear the music that the tree plays from within.  We headed to the snake path, and started off at the head of the serpent, and followed the path down to the tail.  The texture that was created from the tiles, and the curvature of the path made it feel like we were walking on a 3D form.  As we walked down the path we could see Fallen Star sitting on the edge of a building up ahead.  This piece is very hard to miss because its not everyday that you see a house protruding from the edge of a building like that.  When we reached the roof to enter, we were met with a full on yard complete with landscaping and various plants along the edges.  When you enter the house, you can feel a bit disoriented because of the slope of the floor and the visual cues that have that effect on the visitors.  Overall the experience was great.