Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Too Cool for School

I've already demonstrated why South Pasadena High School looks less like an average institution of learning and more like a think tank for otherworldly cold fusion supergeniuses who also happen to have impeccable design sense.

Or maybe it's just me.

Here's the school from another angle ... providing the inspiration for all those nuclear physics whizkids to minor in noir filmmaking. I know there was some controversy when the city chose this (ultra cool, so much cooler than any school I've ever seen) streamlined art deco design, but I'm thankful they did.

17 comments:

Yakpate said...

Breathtaking shot! I love that soft, biomorphic shadow wrapping around the angular lines of the building, like imagination intruding on intellect. Wow, do you ever have an eye!

Dixie Jane said...

Yes, a cool school. And it is a far cry from the institution I attended. But I suspect the algebra. geometry and Latin would still be just as hard. For me, anyhow. However, it looks like the famous Oscar was made from the same material. It couldn't help but produce some outstanding students.

Judy Williams said...

That shadow!!! AUGHHH

The starkness of the solid building juxtaposed with the almost whimsical shadow that is fleeting and opaque. The solid lines and hard surface as the backdrop for the outline of the leaves. MAN - that is wonderful. And to top it off, there is a turquoise flare in the background. This image has it all.

Susan C said...

I'm trying to figure out what kind of tree is in the shadow. It looks like a deodara.

Whatever it is, its shadow is beautiful.

San Diego Farmgirl said...

What a contrast, that wall with the delicate leaf shadows!

You could build the coolest building in the world, and every high school kid would just shrug and roll their eyes in response. I think most of them will appreciate this more when they're older! haha

altadenahiker said...

Dr. Know.

Hilda said...

Ooh, love the shadows! It looks like a fortress from this angle! Or maybe a rocket hangar…

Virginia said...

Oh I'm all about this great angle and light and shadows you captured. Gorgeous. Why does it make me think of Academy Awards and red carpet????
V

Margaret said...

I actually like the street lights on Fremont and the way they add a dash of color to the picture. Go Tigers!

Ohhh. My WV is conmen. How foreboding.

Wayne said...

I'm convinced that I'd have done much better in high school if it had been an Art Deco design. My high school predated Art Deco by a couple of decades.

Ken Mac said...

i half expect an alien to come crashing thru the wall!

Petrea said...

I had so much fun with your first paragraph I don't need a picture! But I love it all the same.

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

I'm attracted to art that uses shadow as part of the medium. My guess is a sycamore tree. Still not sure where I stand on this design.

The mans calling....got to get back to work

Cafe Observer said...

Well, why do you think they remodeled the joint a few years back.

alex said...

I actually went to SPHS when the renovations were in full swing (I had classes in makeshift bungalows for a good two years from 2000-2001:). Before the construction, our high school was in horrible shape. I remember being in a geometry class when a paddle flew off a rotating ceiling fan, hitting a wall. I remember actually liking the temporary classrooms because they had air conditioning and intact ceiling tiles that wouldn't fall down.

This photo of the science wing is actually one of the few original structures that have been renovated rather than completely torn down and rebuilt (the other originals being a small row of classrooms across from the cafeteria, the auditorium, the main gym, and a small portion of the library). I've always been amused by the fact that this building has no windows!

When the construction was finally finished, one of my classmates called the campus "cantaloupe city" due to the peach color. Most parents balked at the color scheme more so than at the art deco, since the community probably expected more conservative palettes based on how our other schools are painted. But it certainly adds flair to the drive down Fremont Ave.

Laurie said...

Hey everybody,

Welcome, Alex! Thanks for the insider story! You know it's time to refurbish a building when ceiling fans are cracking off and hurling across the room...

Altadenahiker, Dr. Know is truly inspired. Well done, my dear. And Farmgirl, you crack me up. Agreed!

I always notice that shadow when I drive by, and I think the dramatic lighting is just so fabulous. My high school looked like something even a government building or adjunct of RAND Corporation would have found too beige and institutional. For me, this design is magic and beauty and unusual coolness.

Thank you so much for all the nice comments and kind words today. Until tomorrow...

Andrew said...

This is really awesome pictures....take care..

Thank you..
___________________
Andrew
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