Daily Archives: October 9, 2015

The Davies

Brian and Olga Davies were great friends of ours when they lived in Eugene.  Brian taught in the Interiors program with Linda, and Olga used some of her many talents working at King Design.  Brian brought talent, insight and dedication to his work, but he always was able to keep it in perspective, and his wry comments assured me that I wasn’t the only one who found academia a bit absurd at times.  Olga may have been the liveliest and most stylish person to ever live in Eugene, and there were many parties and gatherings which wouldn’t have been much fun without her.

The great friendship extended to the next generation too.  Diego was born soon after Greta, and they were buddies until the Davies left town.IMG_1530


So it was especially cool for Diego and Greta to get together again.  They had no real memories of each other, but at a certain level, people who are little kids together always seem to understand each other immediately.  DSCF0668

Brian and Olga moved to Cincinnati ten years ago, where Brian teaches at UC.  They live in a house that is the opposite of their Eugene house in every way – instead of being a small, modern house in a big yard, their new place is a big, old urban house on a small lot.DSCF0675

Soon after arriving in Cincinnati, their son Marco was born – he isn’t pictured here because he was at sleepover when I finally pulled the camera out.  He is true wild man, bursting with energy and enthusiasm, and made me realize what a change it is when adolescence hits.

Greta and I had a wonderful time staying with the Davies – lots of food and drink and wandering around the neighborhood, but mainly non-stop conversation for a few days.  Brian and I sat up into the wee hours every night, comparing our ideas on the current state of life in academia and sharing our insights about cocktails and whiskies.  Visiting them made me realize how much we miss having them in Eugene. but at the same time it is wonderful to rediscover that with real friends you can just pick up again where you left off.


We spent some time tooling around in downtown Cincinnati, but really went to see two specific things:  the train station – which has been converted into a collection of museums:DSCF0623

and has an incredible lobby:DSCF0617 DSCF0620

And the John Roebling bridge, from the 1860s.  It’s very interesting to see the progression of bridges in the mid-19th century which led to the Brooklyn Bridge.  Plus while it’s hard to get Greta to look at architecture, she’s very happy to visit bridges.  DSCF0651



But what I continue to find most engaging in Cincinnati are the neighborhoods.  After the flatness and griddedness of the plains, being in a city where the neighborhoods, transportation routes and whole order of the city are determined by the topography (hills and water) is really engaging.  There was the Hyde Park district, where a very nice urban space is surrounded by mixed-use buildings, all within walking distance of Brian and Olga’s.  DSCF0525 DSCF0527

There was Mariemont, a John Nolen-designed planned railroad suburb from the 1920s, where some excellent duplexes on cul-de-sacs with rear alleys were designed by Grosvenor Atterbury (of Forest Hills fame).



There was the area near the university (where the architecture was superior to the chili):DSCF0416

And finally, the Mt. Adams neighborhood, atop a tall hill right next to downtown, which is apparently now a major location of gentrification and yuppie-bar-hopping:


I like street views that end in sky:

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A very livable city overall, which we could have spent a lot more time exploring.