the story - tiles
thuesday, november 9, 2010

01.killing time before picking up mira after her work I walked along dundas street close to the corner with keel street. window by window, is passing, some very interesting furniture store are in the area BTW, and there it was: psychographs #01 familiar sight but where it is coming from? first this architecture with personality, reminded me to the passage close to the place we lived in barcelona. I am curious person and in several walks along carrer de sant pere mes alt I noticed that lot of locals are just disappearing in one of the buildings. of course I followed them and the passage and the shortcut to the much larger carrer de trafalgar and unavoidable plaza de cataluna was discovered.

03.lot of the common elements were present: narrow, secretive, dark, intimate, multitude of messages around, and tiles everywhere. very unusual in toronto architecture. this building at dundas street was probably built at the beginning of the XX century, one in barcelona at least two centuries before.

04.then in the next step one more connection was established. for twenty years I lived in downtown beograd, srbija, in one of the very rear preserved structures that survived all the war destruction over the years, built in 1912. passage that I lived in is having quite a lot of similarities with both barcelona and this, observed building today. dark, secretive, intimate and tiles inside and outside! psychograph #02

05.ceramic tiles, that's how the dots were connected. construction material invented in the dawn of civilization, but especially appreciated and used in civilizations around mediterranean. ceramic tiles are found on the interior and exterior of churches, palaces, ordinary houses and even train or subway stations. they are applied on walls, floors, ceilings... they were not only used as an ornamental art form, but also had a specific functional capacity like temperature control at homes. many azulejos [as the ceramic tiles are called in portugal] chronicle major historical and cultural aspects of iberian peninsula history.

06.the art was introduced to portugal and spain in 15th century by the moors and the craft is still in use in the arab world. experts seem to connect the techniques used and their profuse application with persian architecture, and suspect that the families of potters that emigrated to al andalus (andalusia, spain) could have influenced the development of arabesque tiling in the 14th and 15th centuries following the invasion of gengis khan in iran. 

07.the late 17th and early 18th centuries became the 'Golden Age of the ceramic tiles' and they were mass produced following great internal and international demand. above mentioned building in barcelona was from that period. at the turn of the XX century, art nouveau tiles started to appear again [and that is when the building in beograd was built]. around the 1930s art deco tiles made their appearance and become popular again and ever since no mayor architectural movement was without them. north american architecture, toronto was following that trend too of course, it was absent for many years, but rear examples like this one at dundas street is reminding us how interconnected we are and how even more connected we should be.

09.we move around the world but today we live in one global urbis. we are part of the same related civilization, collecting good experiences from each other and influencing each other, or that is how it should be. 

10.well-being of each of us, depends of social and creative respect of everybody else.

11.when I thought that this experience is over from across the street I noticed this sign in the next door store in the same building. psychographs #03 . it is obviously "the square and compasses", the most identifiable symbol of freemasonry. both the square and compasses are architect's tools and are used in masonic ritual as emblems to teach symbolic lessons. it anyhow associated to the building itself? maybe!

13.all masonic lodges are having tiler who guards the door to the lodge room while the lodge is in session. tiles connecting the dots again?


13a.13 days ago [!?] we returned from buenos aires and there it was. in the paseo de la defensa, in the court yard of the former ezeyza family house, psychograph #04 . "narrow, secretive, dark, intimate, multitude of messages around, and tiles everywhere".

this house was built in 1876 for don nicanor ezeyza. this very wealthy and influential basque family taking bask its roots to the geronimo de eceiza urrutune that emigrated to this area in 1740 before argentina independence, changed their original name to ezeyza and in 1815 took possession of 169. 000 acres in the outskirts of buenos aires. ever since they played a mayor role in the argentina history. today lot of traces to their influence is present, among others modern international airport is named ezeyza. this house is abandoned 1910 when area become unhealthy. over time it housed school of deaf and mute, "conventillo" housing over 30 immigrant families at once, and recently converted to the shopping arcade specialized in antiques.

very appropriate for the still very well preserved atmosphere of mysticism and secretive history of the place. I am not sure how and why, but further investigation I am quite sure, will connect even more dots, just by following the tiles trail. [march, 30, 2012].

a.j. []

:: select new psychograph from start up page ::

:: created by 2010 :: last time updated 30.03.2012 at 22:56:12 ::

psychograph #01
psychograph #02 - passage in beograd in 2007, my photo.
psychograph #03
passage in barcelona
passage in beograd as built in 1912, this photo was taken around 1920.
typical portuguese tiles from around 1900.
psychograph #04