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The Noyes Armillary Sphere Described In The Historic American Buildngs Survey #532
|| 2/9/2010 || 2:00 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

National Park Service Photograph of the Noyes Armillary Sphere in Meridian Hill Park in the District of Columbia taken in the 1965

National Park Service Photograph Courtesy of the Library of Congress

According to page 39 of the Historic American Buildngs Survey #532 published in 1987 [PDF via the Library of Congress]:

The sculpture which contributed most sucessfully to the architectural design [of Meridian Hill Park] was the 6′ high armillary sphere. Money for the construction of the sphere was donated by Bertha Noyes, a well-known Washington artist and founder of the Washington Arts Club, in memory of her father and her sister. Paul Manship had constructed a model for an earlier proposal for an armillary sphere. For lack of funds, that sphere was not realized, later when the Noyes Armillary Sphere was constructed by Carl Paul Jennewein, he based his design on the earlier Manship model. The sphere was located in the exedra on axis with the cascade, south of the reflecting pool. This location was proposed by Ferruccio Vitale, and the foundation was designed by Horace W. Peaslee. Congress approved the location within Meridian Hill Park on June 10, 1932, subject to the final approval of its location within the park by the Commission. The sphere, which was of great interest conceptually as well as visually, was described by historian James Goode as follows:

In spite of its seemingly contemporary design, the armillary sphere is, in face, an ancient astrological instrument. The armillary sphere was frequently used in Europe in the seventeenth century to illustrate the Ptolemaic theory of a central earth; it used metal rings which illustrated the nine spheres of the universe. The usual device, a skeleton of the celestial globe with circles arranged into degrees for angle measurement, represents the great circles of the heavens. The latter includes the horizon, meridian, equator, tropics, and polar circle. The Noyes Armillary Sphere includes a series of bronze rings on which are also found the symbols of the zodiac and the hours, given in Roman numerals. A bronze arrow forms the axis, and, in the center, a small winged genie greets the sun. (James M. Goode, The Outdoor Sculpture of Washington, D.C., The Smithsonian Institution Press, 1974)

The armillary sphere suffered serious damage during the late 1960s and was removed for repair. Its whereabouts is presently unknown. The armillary sphere was worked in bronze, and placed on a green granite pedestal. Other significant park embellishments were wrought in iron. For example, at the north end of the park, a wrought-iron fence is decorated with small armillary spheres, reflecting the significance of the Noyes Armillary Sphere.


This article and photograph was obtained from the Library of Congress and is in the public domain. They are being republished here under the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law in order to advocate for a replacement armillary sphere in Meridian Hill Park.



Photos from the Metropolis Now! closing party at the Meridian International Center
|| 9/10/2009 || 11:54 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Earlier this evening I had the opportunity to attend the Pink Line Project-sponsored closing party for the exhibition “Metropolis Now!” at the Meridian International Center. I was on hand to help my friend Robin setup for his special VJ set and had an overall great time.

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Meridian Hill Park Hexagon Tessellation
|| 8/2/2008 || 1:59 pm || Comments Off on Meridian Hill Park Hexagon Tessellation || ||

: saved at 15,000 X 10,000 :

This is the first time I’ve made a tessellation using hexagon as the basis for the pattern. Normally, I simply use a square because its the easiest to tessellate. The last map I made using Photoshop was Clayton Quilt #3, which was constructed using one square tile six times and did not exhibit radial symmetry like most of my other Qulit projection maps.

This time around I used center portion of the source tile that I used for Meridian Hill Park Quilt #4 and to switch things up a bit, I cut out a perfect hexagon from the the tile instead of using the tile’s square shape as basis for the tessellation. With one hexagon cut out, I merely duplicated it and moved it around to create the irregular tiling above. The difficulty was that I had to adjust the hexagon tiles so that they were not overlapping. It wasn’t that difficult per se, but it took awhile to get them all lined up perfectly. I am quite pleased with the result and figure that I will use this process again sometime in the not-so-distance future.

View the Google Map of Meridian Hill Park in Washington, DC.

: detail :

View the rest of the map’s close-up details:

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Meridian Hill Park Quilt #4
|| 7/26/2008 || 4:08 pm || Comments Off on Meridian Hill Park Quilt #4 || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :

I’ve been doing some research on an old sculpture that used to be in Meridian Hill Park that will be featured in an upcoming posting. In preparation, I decided to make a quilt projection map of the park using the newest available imagery. Unlike the previous three, which were some of the first to use my recursive tessellation technique, the newer imagery captures less of the area surrounding the park and more detail of the park itself. This is simply due to the fact that the newer imagery has a high spatial resolution than the older imagery, which correlates to more detail, but less geographic coverage. Since the aerial photography was taken in the early spring, the fountains were still in their winter slumber and I imagine that if it were taken in the summer the coloration would be vastly different.

When constructing this map, I used my new technique hypothesized in May and first rendered a hexagon tile and then took a portion of that tessellation and used it here. The result, which I am seeing for the first time, is that you can see the hexagon shape around the center of this square quilt projection map quite easily. From my understanding, depending on the location of the recursive sampling within the first map, I’ll be able to see it’s respective geometry embedded in the second map. However, I think it’s nearly impossible to fully gage the geometry of the original map after two recursions because each subsequent sampling makes it more difficult to see the geometry present in the previous map.

View the Google Map of Meridian Hill Park in Washington, DC.

: detail :

View the rest of the map’s close-up details:

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Meridian Hill Park Quilt – 1st Derivative #2
|| 1/16/2006 || 2:15 pm || Comments Off on Meridian Hill Park Quilt – 1st Derivative #2 || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :

This map is the final iteration of the series. It shows the most fractalized version of the geography yet. However, I could still make another version. Regardless, these are quite stunning!

: detail :

View the rest of the details:

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Meridian Hill Park Quilt – 1st Derivative
|| 1/15/2006 || 1:50 pm || Comments Off on Meridian Hill Park Quilt – 1st Derivative || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :

Using a portion of Meridian Hill Park Quilt, I created this derivative map that appears to look like a fractal.

View Details:

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Meridian Hill Park Quilt
|| 1/14/2006 || 8:20 pm || Comments Off on Meridian Hill Park Quilt || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :

Meridian Hill Park is one of my favorite parks in Washington, DC.

View Details:

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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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  • thank you,
    come again!