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2001.09.21 18:02
metabolic/delivery, etc.
In the recent Barbara Flanagan article in Metropolis on Venturi and Scott Brown it states:
And when Venturi envisions an electronic "facade of glittering information," the inevitable political question (what does it say and who decides?) can be a vexing one. "What the message is I don't know, and I'm not too ashamed of not knowing," Venturi says. "Content is not the architect's job."
I think Venturi here admits his most present flaw, and even goes on to make a big mistake about the future. As the architect of the first online virtual museum of architecture, I see content as very much the job of the architect.
Can it be said that precisely attacking flaws engenders paradigm shifts?
Kind-of like going into a black hole and then being in the other side.


2001.12.04 11:36
Piranesi Prison dates, etc.
I don't like having to do this (because it implies that some editor is not really doing their job), but it must be pointed out that Joseph Rykwert made (at least) one factual mistake within The Seduction of Place (2000). On page 150, Rykwert states:
"The attempt to provide a mimetic "condensation" of another place and time is not new. Centuries ago pilgrimages to remote and sacred places were replicated for those who could not afford to leave home. The fourteen [S]tations of the [C]ross, which you may find in any Roman Catholic church, are a miniaturized and atrophied version of the pilgrimage around holy places in Jerusalem."
The above is complete disinformation. The Stations of the Cross do not represent a "pilgrimage around holy places in Jerusalem." The Stations of the Cross are a ritual reenactment of what Christ experienced on the day of His crucifixion.
Interestingly, the example that Rykwert should have put forth is that of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, the church in Rome built within the Sessorian Palace, the imperial home of Helena Augusta, which today houses Christianity's most valuable relics (of the "Stations of the Cross"). Additionally, Santa Croce (which means Holy Cross) is built upon ground brought back by Helena from Golgotha, site of Christ's crucifixion. Santa Croce is indeed one of Rome's primal pilgrimage churches.



2001.12.05 20:03
virtual Gerusalemme
Images derived from a 3d computer model of the Basilica Hierusalem, the original Santa Croce in Gerusalemme are now available at Quondam.
The model is based on a plan of the basilica as featured in the Corpus basilicarum Christianarum Romae, and on a schematic reconstruction featured in Krautheimer's Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture.
Recently, architectural historian Joseph Rykwert made (at least) one factual error within The Seduction of Place (2000). On page 150, Rykwert states:
"The attempt to provide a mimetic "condensation" of another place and time is not new. Centuries ago pilgrimages to remote and sacred places were replicated for those who could not afford to leave home. The fourteen [S]tations of the [C]ross, which you may find in any Roman Catholic church, are a miniaturized and atrophied version of the pilgrimage around holy places in Jerusalem."
The above is complete misinformation. The Stations of the Cross do not represent a "pilgrimage around holy places in Jerusalem." The Stations of the Cross are a ritual reenactment of what Christ experienced on the day of His crucifixion.
Ironically, the example that Rykwert should have put forth is that of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, the church in Rome built within the Sessorian Palace, the imperial home of Helena Augusta, which today houses Christianity's most valuable relics (of the "Stations of the Cross"). Additionally, Santa Croce (which means Holy Cross) is built upon ground brought back by Helena from Golgotha, site of Christ's crucifixion. Santa Croce is indeed Rome's primal pilgrimage church.
Seeing how Santa Croce is indeed a "mimetic 'condensation' of another place and time," I am now curious if there are other earlier examples of such "reenactionary" buildings/places. Or does the Basilica Hierusalem actually set the precedent for this type of building in Western civilizations? Any clarifications or suggestions would be most appreciated.
ps
You will note that I have dated the Basilica Hierusalem as circa late 326. This indicates my contention that the basilica came into being after Helena's death (circa 1 August 326), and that the basilica was constructed (perhaps under the guidance of Eutropia) to both honor Helena as well as the relics she (Helena) had just brought to Rome. This thinking coincides with what happened at the "the house of Crispus" in Trier after his murder/death. The Imperial house at Trier was demolished, and an enormous double basilica was erected in its place (and there are still today two churches at Trier on the double basilica site).
In terms of design, the double columns of the Basilica Hierusalem seem to have been "reenacted" at the mausoleum of Constantina (today's Santa Costanza, Rome). Constantina was one of the daughters of Constantine, and the grand-daughter of both Helena and Eutropia. Continuing with the double theme, the typology of double basilicas in Christian architecture is extremely rare, and those that exist(ed) appear to have been first constructed within the decade or so before and after 326.

2001.12.23 12:00
shock in Philadelphia
"In 1750, two days before Christmas, Benjamin Franklin mistakenly attached the apparatus he used for his lightning experiments to himself instead of to his intended victim, a turkey. The jolt knocked him to the floor. We don't know how many turkeys Franklin electrocuted and cooked in his experiments, but he did declare that, when prepared by this method, they were "uncommonly tender." He wrote in his notebook that it took a lot more voltage to kill a turkey than a chicken."
from: Janice L. Booker, Philly Firsts (Philadelphia: Camino Books, 1999), p. 108.


2002.02.08 16:47
Cuban's fox(y shock?)
Here's a bit of a shock I want to share. I've read How Architecture Got Its Hump over the last Wednesday to Wednesday week, and in chapter 5, the last chapter, I was shocked to read on page 152:
"Are Gehry and Rauschenburg's binoculars in Los Angeles the upturned result of sculpture freed from a toothpaste image of softness? Just what have these installations got to do with architecture's own program?"
I'm thinking, what a shocking mistake, and what a disgrace for both the author, Roger Connah, and the editor at MIT Press. The binoculars are not Rauschenberg's, and I won't even bother to write the name of the binocular's correct artistic father. Isn't such a printed mistake from the most respected architectural editor of books something to be concerned about? Is it actually true that no one really reads these kind of architecture theory category books that for the most part are just words with very few images?
For a moment there, I was just in the mood to write How Architecture Got Its Lacunae, and every line in the book was going to be a big, fat, fucking mistake! Oh, I'm suddenly so overwhelmed.


2002.07.25 18:57
9/11/84
12:35 9/11/84
So that's the way things are going to happen sometimes. It didn't seem dangerous but it turned out to be. Go on and on? NO!!! It isn't worth IT. The dreams too are getting scary and they repeat. We've all heard too much about that kind of stuff though. It's funny how it isn't something that can be picked up just any old time and work o.k. IS SYMBOLISM THAT EASY??? Is it really something that can be picked up out of airwaves? **WaVeS iN tHe AiR** worth: answer to the fourth dimension might be accelerated by the fact that time can be explained by using a line and a plane. (It could be B A point and A line 4 that MATTER.) Mistakes are not the things to worry about anymore; it's now the accidents. It's as clear as male and female. We all know the difference and differences exist because you are either a boy or a girl {up a number of floors . . . out a number of windows . . . (U find) even odd different orientations where the difference isn't the attraction.} Just remember that when you go to the extremes it is as cold as it can get at either end and around the center around is the heat of heats. If you just blink and wait it is very easy just to turn you off. Whether it belongs here or not is just another question you might ask because you believe that what is established is the way to judge. He said, "The habit of saying prayers to one's beliefs." Slanted or not really doesn't mean anything. Lucidity can go with productivity when the epitome is not stupidity. pitypitity shitishitity Golligoulawamm Funny how the last stuff can either mean it or not. Certain things are expected (2 b) sure. It follows then that uncertain things should be unexpected. Did you know Europa had a brother? I wonder if the two of them got along. Ad carceres a calce revocari * day in {night in} day out {night out} * There are already so many stories and there is a new one about curbing a dog named Hecuba in Denmark. It should be dark so certain aspects could be hidden. Not everything is pleasant. Not everything is the way it appears in the darkness.
13:37 9/11/84
Ad carceres a calce revocari means to be called from the finish line to the starting gate, ie, to have to start all over again.

2002.07.29
Kahn buildings to photograph
1. back of Ahavath--make note of the mistakes in the Complete Works p. 11.
2. Pennypack Housing--also a mistake in the Complete Works p. 11.


2002.08.09 17:27
killing two birds
Nic,
I'll tell you want I (kinda) know. The Immaculate Conception, while long a part of Christian theology, did not become 'dogma' until the later 19th century, I believe under the same papacy that gave us Papal Infallibility(!).
Basically, the theology of the Immaculate Conception explains Mary as the new Eve, since Eve was the only other woman to have ever been 'conceived' without Original Sin, yet Adam and Eve's fall is what 'created' Original Sin. Mary's Immaculate Conception is the first step in 'breaking the cycle' of innate sin, and thus also the first step toward (ultimate) Redemption. This theology is essential for Christianity being directly tied to (the very beginning of) the Old Testament.
The Incarnation is what occurred right after the Annunciation (both feasts celebrated on 25 March, ie, nine months before 25 December). What I find interesting about the Annunciation/Incarnation is that the Gospel text is explicit about Mary's compliance. I was doing research about the Annunciation in the mid-1990s when the issue of date rape was very topical. It occurred to me that God, via the Angel Gabriel (I think that's the right Angel) had asked Mary first, and that she then basically answered yes. And when Mary complied is exactly when the Incarnation (literally the becoming of flesh) occurred. ([co]Incidentally, Athanasius, the same Bishop that was twice exiled to Trier, was the first great theologian of the Incarnation.)
I don't know if any of this answers why God did it the way He did, but I hope it at least points in the right direction as to how Christianity as a theology has to perform and abide by some pretty strict 'ground rules' as laid out in the Old Testament.
Steve
ps
The only ire I experience over the mistaken understanding of the Immaculate Conception is when I find the mistake in (architectural) texts published by academic presses. Aren't academic presses supposed to represent the highest standard of editorship? I have compiled what is a growing collection of instances where the mistake occurs, and Peter Eisenman and his related publishing entities account for at least three examples.


2002.08.11 10:44
Kahn and Wright
Here is excerpt from Louis I. Kahn: In The Realm of Architecture (1997) with some commentary following:
on pages 79-80: Documented evidence of ties between Wright and Kahn is slight. His connection with Henry Klumb (1904-1985), a former associate of Wright's and a staunch supporter of his ideals, is noted in chapter 1. In 1952 Kahn and Wright both attended a convention of the American Institute of Architects, in 1955 (as previously noted) Kahn praised Wright's early work, and when Wright died in 1959 Kahn wrote in tribute [published in Architecture Record], "Wright gives insight to learn / that nature has no style / that nature is the greatest teacher of all / The ideas of Wright are the facets of his single thought." Scully recalls that later that same year Kahn made his first visit to a Wright building, the S.C. Johnson and Son Administration Building (1936-39), where, "to the depths of his soul, [he] was overwhelmed."
It is curious in that the Scully quotation (from Scully's book Louis I. Kahn (1962)) seems to harbor a mistake, a distancing, and/or perhaps even an intentional fabrication. I, for one, find it hard to believe that Louis Kahn never visited Beth Sholom prior to late 1959, thus I doubt very much that it is true that the first Wright building Kahn visited was the S.C. Johnson building in Wisconsin. Now I have to wonder about Scully and Brownlee/DeLong (authors of Louis I. Kahn: In The Realm of Architecture). Was Scully or even Kahn(!) fabricating a false history that would distance Kahn safely away from being suspected of having ever been really influenced by Wight? And why did Brownlee/DeLong not notice and/or correct what appears to be just plain false? The only real reason I'm pointing all this out is that I believe it is much more valuable to know how designs really came about rather than how they really didn't come about.
This leads me to bring up the anecdote R. shared here as to what Wright said to Venturi about Kahn, i.e., "Beware an architect with one idea." If Wright said this to Venturi circa 1955 (date of Beth Sholom construction), then the "one idea" Wright was speaking of may well be the Yale Art Gallery (1950-53). The Yale building is the first to get Kahn wide recognition, particularly for its triangulated ceiling structures, a structure, moreover, that Kahn further investigated in the second scheme of Adath Jeshurun. Furthermore, the second scheme of Adath Jeshurun is remarkably similar diagrammatically to the stairwell plan within the Yale Art Gallery, i.e., a triangle within a circle.
Could it be that Venturi told Kahn what Wright said, and that is perhaps why Kahn wrote "The ideas of Wright are the facets of his single thought"?

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