Friday, April 11, 2008

Away from it all: a retreat for world leaders

Forget Chequers and the Palace of Versailles. The next time Gordon Brown or Nicholas Sarkozy need a bolthole in which to recharge their batteries or a place for a private pow-wow, they might find themselves lured to a new retreat amid the pink rocks of the Nevada desert.

Donna Vassar, part of the Vassar education dynasty, has launched plans to build a $300m (£150m) private getaway for stressed-out presidents and prime ministers who want to "reconnect with their unique purpose in life".

The Universitas Leadership Sanctuary is intended as part monastery and part conference centre where the most powerful men and women on the planet can get away from it all with a combination of reading, contemplation and even a spot of gardening.

To remind them of their role as leaders of the planet, the sanctuary will be built in the shape of a four-storey globe on the shores of Lake Las Vegas, a privately-owned lake in the south Nevada desert where temperatures can reach 50C at the height of summer.

more @ guardian

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Mr. Shulman, the great architectural photographer

------------------------------------------ Mr. Shulman showing one of his first cameras, a Kodak Jr.

I have been talking to great Julius Shulman since last mounth. Yesterday I went over and took reuben sandwiches for lunch. Tomorrow he is taking me to a job site scouting, where he is photographing. He is 98 years old and working almost everyday. We already became pretty good friends. I have been taping the conversations and he has been telling me great stories and historical moments about his work, life and his architect friends.