Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tranquility at a Mid Century Modern Building and Garden in Arlington, Jacksonville


This Saturday mid century era homes were opened to be toured by mod lovers and photographers. I found the flyer the address, my only lead was a church where the tours kickstarted in the past. It was a bust and I didn't make it to the Mod Arlington tours, but at least I enjoyed tranquility and relaxation at this beautiful church.


I was told the church was considered one of the "Top 100" buildings in Florida despite being in a "state of disrepair". The owners strive to not only maintain but restore the building to its former glory. It's shaded by pines and boasts a zen garden, trail, naturalistic mod-style installations, and a "labyrinth."


The short trail takes you around the pond, when you reach the end you're facing the beautiful church and surrounded by trees. I was pleased to see undisturbed swamp land as far as the eye could see behind me at one point. Nice to see some undisturbed land in always-developing Florida.


I even collected a couple of pieces of rare Florida foliage, ours isn't brilliant solid colored beauty the Northern states enjoy. Instead the trees feel confused and shed diseased looking leaves. Better 'n nothin'!


The church boasted some peaceful sitting areas like the one above with a relaxing vase fountain.


And a lovely "zen" rock garden featuring a statue of a praying Buddha.


I meandered through hallways and peered into spaces, some boasted high ceilings and gorgeous exposed beams in a distinctly mod style. Wish I could have got inside for some shots but the doors were locked.


I do believe this is the first building of its kind I've extensively explored. I loved the abundance of rooms with open glass walls.


The hallways were peaceful to explore and gave me ideas for some mod crafts I should cook up.


This is the Unitarian Universalist Church Labyrinth. There were three posted staged to the walk:

Releasing distractions and extraneous thoughts to find your natural peace. Reaching the center where you sit and stand as long as you'd like to meditate, pray, and "receive what is there to receive" and Returning, follow the path you took in back out. "A strange sense of strengthening can occur. You take back out into the world what you received."


The rules posted suggested sitting down and "quieting your mind" before you enter. I've never been good at meditation, I'm an anxious busy-minded person. (Meaning I probably really need some meditation.) I followed their rules as best I could and gave the labyrinth a try, not feeling any immediate difference.


There were several lovely decks for sitting and enjoying the cool shaded areas as well.


And tables and benches. This space would make a very relaxing library or small school, so many spaces to sit and work in peace.


I appreciated clean, modern, natural details like this suspended branch. Beautiful shape.


On the drive home I definitely felt more relaxed than when I'd arrived, humming to myself along the way and not feeling the usual anxiety I feel driving over the Mathews Bridge (I have an unfounded fear of heights.) Maybe it was the magic of the labyrinth, but it was probably the inspiration of finally visiting a gloriously mod building.

Have you explored a mid century modern building? Do share any recommendations in the comments, I love checking out retro/mod/kitschy spots around the world.
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18 comments:

  1. That made me homesick! What a beautiful mid century church! The job I used to work at we did a lot of blood drives at churches so I saw some spectacular mid century buildings. I also some horrifying modern churches (Starbucks during church? Why yes please...WT?) Anyway gorgeous pics and I like the color of your leaf looks Northern to me!

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    1. I suppose the real issue is that we don't have a lot of deciduous trees. I'm glad I've never seen such a strange modern Starbucks church! (We did line up for donuts/coffee/orange juice after mass in a building out back that we sure as hell didn't need! I wonder if they still do that.) I did forgot to include photos of offices with doors named after famous people, the Charles Darwin one seemed odd for a church!

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  2. Wow, what a beautiful house. I want to live in there.

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    1. The church was gorgeous. I'd love to have a house like it, too.

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  3. O, what a magnificent building! You ahve some fine examples of mid century architecture over there!!! I'd totally sign up for a tour! XXX

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    1. It really was, there were other ones to visit but unfortunately I missed the tour. Hopefully they'll do it again next year.

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  4. What a cool building! I love the aspect of mid-mod architecture that blends the inside and outside spaces together via those walls of floor to ceiling windows. I'm glad someone is attempting to preserve the building.

    And if you ever happen to find yourself in Indiana, check out the architectural tour in Columbus, IN. It's the weirdest thing...a little town in the middle of nowhere that is this mecca of modern architecture. They have buildings by IM Pei, Eero Saarinen, Richard Meier, and others. It's pretty awesome.

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    1. Thanks for the tips and same here on the indoor/outdoor design elements, it reminds me of the natural minimal design elements in Japanese architecture.

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  5. What an interesting building - great lines. And such wonderful big windows. best of all - the proportions. I think I could live there! I can imagine it would be very peaceful!

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    1. It was wooded and super peaceful even being stationed right beside a busy highway!

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  6. Such a cool old building. I like the glass walls and the openness of it all. Florida is full of fun mid century architecture - I always want to stop at what my family thinks are random strange places when I visit.
    It's good you gave the labyrinth a chance. At least you tried! : )

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    1. My favorite beach Vilano beach has been restored to it's original kitschy roadship stop mid century modern glory since I started visiting it in high school. Gotta explore 'em all!

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  7. cool place. I actually would love to have a house built in that style.

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  8. A beautiful building Van. I love those metal(?) light fittings with the holes cut into them (and everything else about it!) Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I believe they were wood or metal, LOVED those too and want to make some for my future house!

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  9. This is so interesting. I have never been in a mid century residential building, but actually I think you might have piqued my interest. It is great.

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    1. This one is a church, I missed the tour of the residentials unfortunately. Will be there next year! :D And to others in the future.

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I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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