Life in gardens: Aoyama

Ecole d'Aoyama, enfants et balançoires, Tôkyô, Japon, été 1926, (Autochrome, 9 x 12 cm), Roger Dumas, Département des Hauts-de-Seine, musée Albert-Kahn, Archives de la Planète, A 55 945 XA very nice playground at a school in Aoyama, a neighborhood of Tokyo, summer 1926, by Roger Dumas, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine.

This autochrome is one of about 72,000 that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker who was committed to the ideal of universal peace and believed that “knowledge of foreign cultures encourages respect and peaceful relations between nations.”* He was also acutely aware that the 20th century was going to bring rapid material change to the world.

Accordingly, from 1909 to 1931, Kahn sent thirteen photographers and filmmakers to 50 countries “to fix, once and for all, aspects, practices, and modes of human activity whose fatal disappearance is no longer ‘a matter of time.'”†  The resulting collection is called Archives de la Planète and now resides in its own museum at Kahn’s old suburban estate at Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. Since June 2016, the archive has also been available for viewing online here.


*Collections Albert Kahn website. Also, the above photo (A 55 945 X) is © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.
†words of Albert Kahn, 1912.

Life in gardens: animal court

Jane Addams Housing fountain, via LoC“Sculpture and children in fountains – Jane Addams Houses,” between 1938 and 1940, Chicago, Illinois, by Peter Sekaer for the U.S. Housing Authority, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The Jane Addams Homes public housing project was built in 1938 under the New Deal Public Works Administration Act. The “Animal Court” figures were carved from limestone by Edgar Miller.

The sculptures still exist, although the buildings around them were razed in the early 2000s.  As of September 2013, they were in storage awaiting restoration and a new home.  They may eventually return to a place near their old location, as part of a National Public Housing Museum.

There are more photos here, at the blog Playscapes.

Vondelpark sandbox

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I really like this elegant sandbox/labyrinth arrangement in a corner of Amsterdam’s Vondelpark (spotted during a recent 24-hour stopover in the city).

I think the hedges are hornbeam supported from within by wires and posts.

There’s a brief history of the sandbox here, in the blog Playscapes.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ below to scroll through larger versions of the photos.

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