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In a Strange Land

January 21, 2008

Call it fate, call it what you will. I’ve been wanting to make an entry about Emeryville since the conception of this thing, but was waiting for the right moment. A recent “homework” assignment finally gave me an excuse to go buy a new digital camera (after its predecessor went MIA in a cab one drunken night *ahem*) and I knew immediately that my photo-documentary could somewhat revolve around this strange little city by the bay that I’ve come to love, in a way.

A tiny alcove in the shadow of the Bay Bridge- surrounded by Berkeley, Oakland, Alameda, and the Pacific Ocean- Emeryville to me has always been ‘the home of IKEA’ that you don’t give a second thought to as you travel on your way to bigger and better things. A random twist of fate has led me to Emeryville as the beginnings of my ‘career’ and it will therefore always have a tender spot in my heart. Entries on my favorite haunts are sure to come- but for now, a selection for you:

Emeryville is the center of much ‘redevelopment’ and has become a hotbed of modern architecture. This is right across the street from our office and I always ponder its existence as I walk by. I wonder what it would be like to live in one these…


I love the red ‘alleyways’ between each mass of this multi-use building. But, due to it’s plain ol’ gray facade, is not something I would tend to notice much. Maybe that’s the point? Either way, I was thankful for being ‘assigned’ to look up and around at the things around me.

These are close-ups I took of someone’s bamboo, which lined their ground-floor balcony. A lot of Emeryville features green/sustainable design- including landscaping- and much of the area is covered in native beach-growing reeds. Although not native, per se, Bamboo is one of the most sustainable plants and I love that it’s being incorporated into modern design so easily… The one yellow stem in these pics were reminiscent of Van Gogh’s “Irises” …

Much of the area’s origins are industrial, creating a weird juxtaposition between the new development and the neighboring remains of warehouses and manufacturing plants. At night, it’s very quiet and lonely feeling, but not in a sad way…

Emeryville is also full of juxtaposed lifestyles. Due to the industrial roots, there’s a lot of low income housing and I still have not gotten used to the fact that a StarShmucks could fit in nicely on one block, and would probably need bars on the windows on the next block. (Indeed, evidently San Pablo Ave. is one of the last places around where you can pick up a legit hooker). Needless to say, it has been a telling experience for my maturation.


For some reason, I really love this picture, taken outside of my office, for its organic vs. manufactured shapes. One day my colleague pointed out to me that the grounds keeper was actually able to, via tying the branches together, make the trees fuse together. They have fascinated me ever since!

The industrial thing has worn off on the interiors slightly…. geometric shapes much?



I’m always a sucker for pink clouds….

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 21, 2008 7:11 pm

    ooh, those pics turned out real nice and a great write-up to go along with em. i wish my assignments would let me go and be creative like that.

  2. January 24, 2008 11:21 am

    emeryville looks like the netherlands. colorful modern architecture designed to utilize space as much as possible. i don’t remember what it was like pre-bay street.

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