Feb 142015

I have wasted many hours trying to get online at the Smugglers’ Notch resort, and I hope this blog will help save you some aggravation.  Smugglers’ Notch provides such great amenities and family friendly accommodations that it’s pretty natural to bring our “big-city” technology along to take photos and videos to share with family and friends on-line.  This is precisely where Smugglers’ Notch falls down.  They have been trying desperately in recent years to catch up with the demand for access to modern communications, but they continue to be hampered by their rural location and service providers.  This year felt worse than ever, and by mid-week I was disappointed enough to start a public conversation about it on Twitter.

Smugglers Notch is a ski / snowboarding resort in Vermont.

Smugglers Notch is a ski / snowboarding resort in Vermont.

In case you’re just investigating Smugglers’ Notch and have never been there, here’s a little background.  Smugglers Notch is primarily a ski and snowboarding resort in the Green Mountains of northern Vermont, though they offer vacations and activities all year.  They often receive awards for their family friendly atmosphere, not to mention great terrain.  The resort is a few miles south of the nearest accessible town, Jeffersonville, and it sits just north of rival resort town, Stowe.  Smugglers’ Notch recently became part of the Wyndham organization.  We’ve enjoyed taking winter vacations there for many years, and (full disclosure) my in-laws are fractional owners of a condo there.  The atmosphere is great, the staff is friendly, and the ski instructors are top notch (pun?).

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Apr 222012

Light. It’s one of those essential subjects of the practice of architecture that really energizes my thinking and my work. In this post, my first on the topic of light, I am going back to the beginning of my education in architectural design. The photos below were taken looking into a special kind of model called a “light box”. The inside of the box is assembled from white cardboard (chipboard) with the particular design to be studied.  The outside of the box is dark/black with two,or more carefully placed openings: at least one to act as a light source, and another for viewing into the box.  To test the design, the designer places his desk lamp at the light source opening and/or moves it across the opening while viewing the inside through the viewing hole.  For greater complexity, the designer can also shape the light source opening and/or add more of them.  The light box is a model and an abstraction, but it is a great way to see of the power of built forms to shape light and vice versa.

Light Box 1 - Toothy Side

This is my first light box, seen from one of two view ports.

Light Box 1 - Curved Side

My first Light Box, viewed on the curving side.













Light Box 2 - Evening

My second light box, with the light source low on the other side.

Light Box 2 - Noon

My second Light Box, with a high, direct light source.