Quondamopolis

the Donau broke


2016.02.11 18:07
BIG's concept for a spiraling-landscape tower in NYC's Hudson Yards

Yes, sculpture. Ein Gesamtkunstwerk!

2016.02.12 10:11
BIG's concept for a spiraling-landscape tower in NYC's Hudson Yards
The Big Lie will be a 3D-printed sculpture, of course, where what's 3D-printed is not only the artwork, but the track for the 3D printer to travel up the terraces as well.


2016.02.18 10:34
Rem Koolhaas to deliver keynote on day 3 of AIA National Conference
"Delirious Philadelphia" is certainly a topic to conjure with. I even wonder if that's really what Koolhaas will talk about. But, if Philadelphia is discussed in a 'delirious' fashion, then there's a whole lot of ground to cover.
Does anyone else remember the day the person Kevin Spacey portrayed in a Clint Eastwood movie visited Philadelphia? It started with "Butch Menace, please come to the information desk" being called out several times on the public address system of Philadelphia International Airport. The main objective of the visit was to inspect the other "Napoleon" at the Athenaeum. (Kevin should make a effort to visit the Athenaeum as well, because then he too would be one of the very few people in our time to have been in the presence of both Napoleons.)


2016.02.18 15:03
Rem Koolhaas to deliver keynote on day 3 of AIA National Conference
Conjuring "Delirious Philadelphia" . . . title of an exhibition, the first in over a decade . . . less than 100 days to get it all online . . . maybe, maybe not . . . we'll see


2016.02.19 10:06
Rem Koolhaas to deliver keynote on day 3 of AIA National Conference
Architecture, official magazine of the American Institute of Architects, April 1988.
Looked for my copy this morning to again see the "computer generated axonometric of the west half of Center City, which shows existing and potential office and commercial development...courtesy of...Stephen Lauf." The image is part of the "Third Comprehensive Plan Unveiled for Center City Philadelphia" news article. A very good read, and perhaps even an uncanny precursor of "Delirious Philadelphia." Subtextually, I know Center City Philadelphia was one of the first cities to exist as a 3-dimensional CAD model (1985), but was it actually the first city to so exist?
What I didn't remember about Architecture April 1988, however, was that: "This is the issue we do each year on AIA's convention locale. Doing one on New York City was a daunting prospect." Hence the large middle section of "New Yorkers on New York." I haven't read it yet, but I'm curious if it is at all anything like a Delirious New York-ten-years-later.
Philadelphians on Philadelphia 2016, who knew?
And don't forget Semiquincentennial 2026.


2016.02.22 15:44
Rem Koolhaas to deliver keynote on day 3 of AIA National Conference
2001.10.20 13:44
Re: Beauty parlor
Beauty (parlor) is in the eye of the beholder.
There is a boot-leg beauty parlor just two doors down from me. From what I can gather this is the beauty parlor of choice for Northeast Philadelphia's turn-of-the-millennium Portuguese immigrant population. (Between the mid 1980s and the mid 1990s there were over a dozen Portuguese families living on my block, and now they've almost all moved on.) When the proprietress and her family first moved here in 1992, I noticed lots of work was being done in their basement, but I only guessed they were making some kind of den or family room down there. About a year later I was eating lunch in my kitchen, and I heard someone walk in my back door downstairs. I got up to look down the steps, and there was this older [Portuguese] woman very surprised to see me. Then she simply asked, "Fixa da hair?" That's when it was all revealed to me, so I escorted the woman down to my second neighbor's back door, and said, "Here, fixa da hair."
2011.11.05 14:57
Quondam's Fifteenth Anniversary
Great Maytham in Kent of 1910 is Queen Anne, but not the Queen Anne of the 1870s. Here a great mansion of the early eighteenth century was re-created with such a plausibility of craftsmanship that after only half a century it was hard to believe it was not two hundred and fifty years old. A somewhat smaller house, the Salutation in Sandwich of 1912, is similar and perhaps even more remarkable as an example of what is almost 'productive archaeology' on the part of a man who was not, in fact, at all archaeologically minded. Such houses are the twentieth-century equivalents of Devey's in the nineteenth century, but they often have a witty originality in the handling of traditional detail that has aptly been called 'naughty' and is peculiarly personal to Lutyens.
Hitchcock, 1958
Robert Venturi, the most famous architectural thinker of his generation, was standing in the living room of his most famous house last week, making small talk with longtime Chestnut Hill friends, when in walked the most famous architectural thinker of the current generation, Rem Koolhaas.
In architectural terms, it was akin to the moment when Clinton met Kennedy, when Nabokov met Tolstoy, when Balanchine met Diaghilev. It was the young revolutionary meeting the old.
Koolhaas, 58, who became his profession's latest "starchitect" this spring with the opening of the new Prada boutique in New York's SoHo, was in Philadelphia to deliver a lecture. But first, the Dutch-born architect wanted to see the 1964 Chestnut Hill house that put Venturi on the map - and challenged the modernist hegemony. Venturi, 77, offered to conduct the tour of the home, now owned by the Hughes family.
It wasn't a complete clash of the generations, but it wasn't complete understanding, either. Venturi wore tweed. Koolhaas wore what looked suspiciously like Prada.
Venturi's little Chestnut Hill house, which is now considered a landmark of 20th-century architecture, seemed barely big enough to contain the lanky, 6-foot-6 Koolhaas, who strode into the house like a general and inspected the split staircase and the square, postmodern windows. Koolhaas spoke mainly with his eyebrows.
While radical in their day, those architectural features have now become so widespread that Venturi had to take pains to make sure Koolhaas knew how groundbreaking they once were.
"There are a lot of naughty things here," Venturi explained to his younger colleague as they walked outside to look at the chair rail that girds the exterior - a decorative touch that gave the modernist architectural establishment fits. "That took a lot of courage to do," added Venturi, who also challenged conventional thinking with his books, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture and Learning from Las Vegas.
Koolhaas, who was once compared to a motionless frog waiting to snap at a fly, assimilated Venturi's account with a barely perceptible purse of the lips.
"Did you feel it needed courage?" the Dutchman asked, after a moment.
Later, Koolhaas explained that he was a great admirer of Venturi and his partner, Denise Scott Brown. "Their interests were really revolutionary," he said. "It's baffling to me that they are treated with such skepticism."
Saffron, 2002.04.17
Yes, yes, yes to all the electronics, wall as sign, Dutch silences and possible revenge(s), but how is one to be really "naughty" these days?
Lauf, 2002.04.18

2016.02.25 20:09
Rem Koolhaas to deliver keynote on day 3 of AIA National Conference
2002.06.18 17:49
Mount Pleasant (and a room of ill-repute)
One of the 88 Houses of Ill-Repute uploaded today at Quondam is Mount Pleasant, a very fine Georgian Country Estate in what is today Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. In preparing this webpage I did a web search on Mount Pleasant to see if there were any interesting facts for inclusion with the Quondam presentation. As it happens, John McPherson, the first owner of Mount Pleasant (1760), was known for having only one arm, and that a one-armed ghost is sometimes seen at Mount Pleasant. I've been at Mount Pleasant a few times myself, obviously to take pictures recently (1998), but also as a student because we once had a project, a house for a scholar, whose site was just beyond Mount Pleasant's formal garden in the back. While the gardens are 'pleasant', I kind of remember that there was also something creepy about the place. If memory serves me correctly (and here I'm going back to Spring 1977), either I or someone else in the class saw a man in the gazebo which led from the garden to the project site, and then the man, who looked like a bum (and there often are bums that live in Fairmount Park), seemed to disappear, or at least he was very quickly gone. I'm now remembering that it was me that saw this man. I was alone doing 'site analysis', and when I noticed the man was gone, I went to see where he went, and there was no trace of the man. I can even kind of remember his face--he was looking right at me when I noticed him. And now if memory serves me correctly, I noticed that the gazebo was no longer there in 1998.
At the 'ghost' website there was also a story about a room within the Philadelphia Museum of Art. For those that do not know, the PMA has a quite impressive collection of period rooms, and apparently in one of the Elizabethan rooms a German woman/visitor was slapped in the face while no one else was in the room. She reported this the a security guard, and the 'slap' was verified by a security video tape. Although the video tape verification sounds dubious, as I don't remember seeing security cameras throughout the museum, the story in general somewhat coincides with another story about a specific Elizabethan room within the museum. In the book Triumph on Fairmount is the story that the founding director of the museum, Fiske Kimball, when he gave a tour of the period rooms, would refer to one of the Elizabethan rooms as "where Queen Elizabeth I was conceived"--apparently the walls of the room came from the house where King Henry VIII used to 'meet' Anne Boleyn.
So, is Anna Boleyn today a slap-happy ghost in Philadelphia? Or, is Henry VIII perhaps reenacting some rough sex? Or, is QEI demonstrating some pre-natal dislike of Germans? Or is all this a too weird wavelength???


2016.02.28 08:58
Dean Frederick Steiner leaves UT Austin for Penn Design due to new "campus carry" gun law
Austin is 900,000 people within 264.9 square miles. Philadelphia is 1,500,000 people within 141.6 square miles. Relative to density, the violent crime rate of Austin seems rather high.


2016.02.28 09:41
Dean Frederick Steiner leaves UT Austin for Penn Design due to new "campus carry" gun law
Philadelphia is not made up of two counties (Philadelphia is both a county and a city within Pennsylvania), and the population of Philadelphia is 1,560,000 within the 141.6 square mile city/county.
I've lived in Philadelphia practically my entire life, now 60 years, and I've never been a victim of violent crime, even though for 20 of those years I lived within the police district with one of the highest crime rates throughout the city. And I know for sure there were guns on the block where I lived because I heard them being shot on New Year's Eve. And I know there are guns on the block where I live now, even though it's a little pocket of Philadelphian Arcadia.
The point being, there are guns all over the place in the USA, now including UT Austin's campus buildings.

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