trend spotting

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Alex wrote:
Where is this 'immaterial' realm where the circle exists? I would like to make contact with it…….. It is worth noting that these 'perfect' shapes: circle (sphere) or cube or pyramid, etc. do not exist in nature. (The Earth, for instance is an oblate spheroid in other words, a sphere fattened at the equator). I am reminded here in Paul's thinking of Ptolemaic and Renaissance astronomies. They thought planets revolved in pure Pythagorean spheres (with musical accompaniment.) It took Kepler and Newton to show them they were wrong: the ellipse was the answer. Anyway, these perfect shapes do not exist other than as idealizations in peoples minds.
Steve comments:
While I agree with Alex about there really being no 'perfect' shapes in actual existence, I nonetheless can't help but believe that the real 'inspiration' for the perfect circle comes from the pupils of our very own eyes. Who knows, it might even be the physical 'perfection' of our sight perception organ that somehow makes our brains/minds think ideals exist in the first place. Kind of like the medium being the message.

Re: signing of buildings
I was just on the phone with T., an architect friend of mine that recently visited, and he liked "the architect's wife style." He actually knew the movie Two for the Road fairly well, although he admitted never having talked with any architects about it. He said his favorite part of the movie was when Mark (the young architect) is taking a picture of the cathedral and says "I can't believe how someone could build something so amazing without slapping their name all over it."
Later on in the conversation T. told me some more about he and his wife's recent visit to Spain, specifically about an artwork on part of the facade of Richard Meier's museum in Barcelona, the image is a gigantic Universal Bar Code. I said that must have been great to see, especially since Meier's buildings are so antithetical to ornamental additions. Of course a UBC on a Meier building fits perfectly because Meier's buildings are nothing if not completely 'packaged'.

Anthony D'Aulerio

errors in "speaking architecture"
And I now wonder whether it might be more worthwhile to seek a language of architecture where the medium is the message, or is such a 1=1 language the same as "a language of architecture that goes beyond appeals to a metaphorical sense of 'language'?"

AD[vocating] PUBLICITY
After reading through "Bold Architecture at a Price" I asked myself, "What do you call architects if they are not "star" architects? "Non-star" architects seems to be the logical, grammatical answer, but such a label doesn't exactly elicit the correct notion that an architect that is not a "star" architect is (really) an architect whose buildings do not receive widespread publicity (even though the great majority of architects today design perfectly acceptable buildings).
The real point of the article is about getting publicity, and publicity via architecture is just one way for universities to get publicity (now-a-days). As the article well states, architecture is very costly, hence there is much expected from architecture, indeed, today there seems to be much, much more expected from architecture--the proverbial "more bang for the buck".
Should architectural education begin teaching students how to design buildings that generate publicity? Of course, that includes doing a building correctly in terms of structure and function, yet getting publicity appears to be a new and already prevalent user demand that requires compliance as well. And isn't it common sense for architects to supply what the client asks for?
Then again, it really isn't the architecture or architect that generate the publicity. Rather, it is the advertisement driven publicity/news 'machine'. Exactly one year and two days ago, Hugh Pearman posted the following here at architecthetics:
"To the point: is it enough for a building to exist principally as a media image? Everyone in the world with media access knows what the Sydney Opera House looks like, and Bilbao is in the same category. Bilbao functions rather well as an art gallery. I'm told that Sydney is hopeless for opera. But functional considerations do not apply here.
Certainly these buildings need to exist: a virtual-reality image of an unbuilt building is not the same. Beyond that, the Somerset Maugham rule applies: the image is so often better than the actuality. Which means, of course, that architectural photographers are as important as architects. Do we care?"
My point being that the above quotation is indicative of the fact that entities other than architects and architecture generate the publicity.
My feeling has been all along, however, that architects and architecture are well capable of generating their own publicity, but professional 'decorum' has for the most part made that attitude an ethically and aesthetically wrong position for architects to take. This 'wrong-ness' is really just a fabrication, an artificial restraint, and, as always, it is precisely at these artificial points where 'institutions' are the weakest, where the decay happens, where things begin to fall apart. I wholeheartedly advocate architects to embrace publicity as a new, additional ingredient that makes good architecture, the same as firmness, commodity, and delight make good architecture. Furthermore, I hope it takes less than twenty years for architects to begin creating and directing web sites that are just the same as television channels.

AD[vocating] PUBLICITY
My original intent was to call out just how artificial it is to consider something 'artificial' (like publicity/advertising) as likewise being something 'wrong'. Moreover, isn't architecture itself very likely the most pervasive artificial thing on this planet?

AD[vocating] PUBLICITY
I went to the store and asked how much authenticity cost?
The attendant laughed and asked exactly what authenticity was I looking for?
I said, "good, old-fashioned authenticity."
And the attendant said, "Oh, you mean like when the men that wrote 'all men are created equal under God' were the same men that owned several hundred slaves?"
I said, "Gosh, that sounds real expensive. Got anything affordable?"
"Yes," said the attendant, "there is an ongoing sale on authentic double standards. It's your basic two-for-one price."
After thinking a moment I answered, "You know what, I'll skip on the authenticity. Instead I'll buy that new book, Publi/City: Towards a new product placement. I think it's from some virtual publisher called Quondam."

irony and feeling
I like the second to last paragraph of Holl's "Phenomena and Idea":
"Easily grasped images are the signature of today's culture of consumer architecture. Subtle experiences of perception as well as intellectual intensity are overshadowed by familiarity. A resistance to commercialism and repetition is not only necessary, it is essential to a culture of architecture."
I like this paragraph because it exposes a significant part of the soft underbelly of what might, for convenience's sake, be called architecture's ongoing 'classism'. The 'racism' of Western architecture has already rendered substantial irreparable damage, i.e., first via colonialism, and then via the International Style, and now architecture 'classism', which Holl provides a glimpse of so succinctly, is practiced as well as highly sanctioned. If it hasn't already happened, I think it's time someone started writing an 'equal-rights amendment' for architecture.

2001.07.23 11:57
Koolhaas reenacting Kahn/Tyng?
There is an striking resemblance between the Koolhaas/OMA Seattle Public Library and Louis Kahn's and Anne Tyng's Municipal Administrative Building project from 1956-57, a designed for downtown Philadelphia.

Could it be that Koolhaas has moved on from reenacting late unbuilt Le Corbusier and American Mies, and is now finding inspiration in early unbuilt Kahn?
And, what's the next big inspiration, maybe early unbuilt Venturi & Rauch?

11. cloning - is this exactly what makes reenactment a topical issue now?

2001.09.09 14:09
Re: seagram's building
When I read the questions regarding the Seagram's building, I thought about the difference between the 'images' and the 'reality'. In this particular case, the reality is what R. saw yesterday when he rode all around the Seagram's building, and the images, which are all at a remove from the reality, are what is currently exhibited at MoMA/Whitney, plus the long published pictures in books and magazines, and the (iconic) images of Mies and his buildings that are taught to varying degrees in architectural history and design classes. To some extent, this issue of disparity between (architectural) reality and how (architectural) reality is presented has already been discussed, or at least noted, here at architecthetics.
So which is the most valuable aesthetic when it comes to architecture?
Is 'what a building really is' that which is most valuable in terms of being the harbinger of architectural aesthetics?
Is the real harbinger of aesthetics the way in which architecture is presented (which is largely separate from the building itself)?
Is architectural aesthetics really only that non-tangible (or at least non-built) apparatus that sets up the presentation (of the image) and in turn more or less subliminally sets up the platform of appreciation within the minds of those receiving the image?

2001.09.18 12:10
Re: Is your tie straight?
In brief, beyond Villa Savoye and Marsailles, the 'box on pilotis' motif re-occurs in the upper middle section of the Governor's Palace for Chandigarh, and later within the also unexecuted design for the Palais des Congrès à Strasbourg (1964). There are several minor examples as well. It is surely a design approach that Le Corbusier continually re-worked throughout his career, thus I see it as a more consistant application of "theory".

2001.09.18 14:45
Re: LC 2 (addendum)
In Oeuvre Complète vol 7, p. 153, in the section on the Palais des Congrès, there is a curious reference to one of the peripherial buildings to the Palais--'6. Hotel 226x226 sur pilotis de 5 m'. The 226x226 dimension is the same one used when describing the metal "erector set" system of the Maison l'Homme. I've since always wondered if at that point LC was considering having the metal system of "boxes" also raised on pilotis. If so, it would be an interesting "exception."
I also confer to what you relate about the "evil earth"--this adds much to the box raised on pilotis "theory".
The Church at Firminy-Vert is an interesting example in that the upper "box" is designed as a square the "morphs" into a circle while "ascending". When I was constructing Quondam's computer 3d model of Firminy, I was indeed struck by what the lower levels (beneath the church proper) were composed of, essentially a grid of rooms.



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