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2003.04.25 16:22
Re: liberty architecture moving to ground zero?
Just because a consistency often goes otherwise undetected, doesn't make that consistency any less consistent.


2003.04.26 14:53
Re: liberty architecture moving to ground zero?
A comparative study of the work of Schinkel and his architectural contemporaries in America suggests a surprising early 19th century "international" style based on the newly documented architectures of ancient Greece. The "liberation of Greece" was seen politically by the Europeans as another victory for democracy, and hence the ancient Greek style of architecture became a symbol of democracy, especially in the USA. Schinkel and his contemporaries were thus great reenactors, manifesting a real reenactionary architecturism.
Is an educated blindness to symbolism today's international architectural style?


2003.05.15 13:59
Re: Life in a real museum
Metabolism as a physiological function operates via equal measures of destruction and creation, i.e., catabolism and anabolism. The metabolic is a visceral destructive/creative human process.
Perhaps Venice should be reenacted like the caves with primitive painting in them. Make the original off limits and allow the tourists to visit the facsimile.


2003.06.24 19:25
Index Architecture
This book should be in audio format. That way you could listen while sleeping, and after about a week you could start talking like a Columbia grad without spending all that time and money. Now that would be radical!


2003.06.26 19:29
fact check and some proof
I'd say the real shell architectures were those caves some humans used to live in, and beyond that architecture became an applied shell, and going to an(other) extreme, a space station is all shell, but hardly natural.


2003.06.26 20:02
fact check and some proof
I see your point about architectures that fulfill nomadic intentions, but I also see mobile homes, trailer parks and even just automobiles as architectures that fulfill nomadic intentions better than hotels. Hotels fit more the oasis typology/metaphor, acting as both waystation and/or destination.


2003.09.01 11:05
Re: Evolutionary theory and architecture
...you very much got, and explained far better than I could, what I was trying to get at regarding Alex's "Evolutionary theory and architecture" proposal. A. may indeed be right about there being a lack in architectural history when it comes to explaining shifts from style to style (and this interests me greatly), but I'm not convinced so far that evolutionary theory (which ever one that may be) is the best(?) way to explain shifts from style to style.
Up until (more or less) the "International Style", architectures where very much linked to geography/locale and the politics(/religion) that comes with geography [--and here Norberg-Schulz's Meaning In Western Architecture offers good explanation]. Of course, European colonialism can be seen as an "internationalization" (or is it "globalization"?) of European/Western architecture precursing the "International Style," as well as the beginning of the eradication of many indigenous architectural styles throughout the world. Is this history best explained as evolutionary? Is the shift from Mayan architecture to Baroque architecture in Mexico, for example, something evolutionary? Not exactly survival of the fittest; more like survival of the one's with the guns and the greed, and, oh yes, the holy mission to spread the Christian faith.
Personally, I sometimes wonder whether Mayan architecture may have sometime/somehow played an influencing/inspiring role in terms of (particularly) Spanish Renaissance and Baroque architecture.

2003.09.01 14:09
Re: Evolutionary theory and architecture
Regarding paradigm, the dictionary definition is that of being a model, which is not exactly the same as a "meme". For example, the shift in antique Roman culture from Paganism to Christianity is a paradigm shift that occurred largely because of the legalizing of Christianity and the outlawing of Paganism. One could say that Christianity spread within the antique world via "meme", which in modern terms would be called evangelism, but the cultural shift from Paganism to Christian is very much based on legal paradigms.
I forgot to mention in my last post the close relation between "meme" and reenactment (and what I have occasionally referred to as reenactionary architecturism). Reenactment as a pure function precedes "meme" in that the function of (human/individual) memory itself is a mental reenactment, thus "memes", more than anything are the spreading of mental reenactments, just like viruses replicate/reenact themselves.
When it come to "style", one could ask "What (if anything) is the style reenacting?" In Meaning In Western Architecture, without specifying reenactment, Norberg-Schulz nonetheless explains the axiality of Egyptian temples as analogous to the axiality of the Nile, etc. Likewise, the cardo and decumanus of Roman town plans represent (reenact) the axis of the Earth and the motion of the sun respectively. One could even ask what (if anything) does symmetry in design reenact? [Does symmetry in design stem largely from the overwhelming symmetrical design of the human body?]
If one takes the design of the human body as a paradigm, can one then say that corporAl symmetry was then reenacted corporEAlly, and thereafter symmetry in design was spread as paradigm via meme?
Is it fair to say that A. is (or appears to be) taking the theory of evolution as a paradigm and via meme applying it to the history of architecture? Or is a theory of evolution already manifest as a paradigm within the history of architecture, and A. is (the first?) detecting it? [Oddly, if A. is successful in his pursuits, the answer to both questions will be yes.]
All of the above regarding reenactment stem from the logical hypothesis that a reenactment can never be as original as that which it reenacts, and that reenactment come with degrees of separation between the reenactment and that which is being reenacted. Thus (I see) paradigm as closer in degrees to something original and meme as closer in degrees to reenactment.
[Here's one of my favorite examples of reenactionary architecturism:] Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution originated, but the design of the city itself is very much a reenactment--there are other historical cities named Philadelphia (today's Amman, Jordan, for example), and Holme's survey/plan reenacts a Roman camp town precisely, even to the point where the cardo here today, Broad Street, is the longest straight urban street in the world. After the American Revolution, Philadelphia became the first, albeit interim, capital of the USA, and it's architecture then began to reenact the architecture of ancient Greece, which was used as a paradigm of "democratic" design.
In the beginning of the 20th century, the design of Philadelphia's new Benjamin Franklin Parkway set out to reenact the Champs Elysees of Paris, and there indeed are replicas of the palaces of the Place de la Concorde at Logan Circle, the centerpiece of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The design of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as reenactment becomes even more compounding when it is recognized that its design, as unwittingly manifest today, matches exactly Piranesi's design of an axis of life within the Ichnographia Campus Martius

2003.09.09 20:01
Re: marshall berman: rebuilding meaning
It's interesting how Berman's "Rebuilding Meaning" is all about Libeskind the person, and contains virtually nothing about the proposed design for Ground Zero. I suppose that's indicative of just another form of (professorial) gimmickry, as in "rebuilding the meaning of Libeskind."
Or is "Rebuilding Meaning" really just a propaganda shoe that fits because the foot has been forgotten?


2003.09.16 15:22
Re: Architecthetics Digest
What is perhaps most unique about contemporary aesthetics is that there are a whole lot of aesthetics to choose from. There is no predominate aesthetic on the planet today, especially not an aesthetic that predominates for any prolonged length of time and/or over any large portion of the planet. Then again... Maybe delusional characterizes the predominate, yet at the same time most denied, aesthetic of our time.


2003.09.22 12:29
Re: evolution and aesthetics
P. asks: But where is the principle in architecture which is equivalent to that of mathematics? If there had been one - why would we have styles which change throughout history. Where is this constant here? How does it show itself in history?
S. replies: Earth's gravity is for sure a constant [force] that all architecture has to contend with. For example, although styles change, the predominant notion of floors being level doesn't. [How does an arch best resist gravity? Via it being rounded or via it being pointed?]
Another constant [force] that architecture always (has to) deal with is climate, and the fact that climate varies significantly dependent on location may well explain why (for most of its history) architecture (style) varies significantly dependent on location. Odd/funny how a great many of the buildings designed and executed today strive to have a constant climate inside regardless of where the building is outside.
"What climate does the inside of your building reenact?"
"I love how your design pointedly reenacts a resistance to gravity."
Perhaps Disney's greatest achievement is the making of lots of money reenacting reenactments.
"What New Urbanism is doing is great. We should reenact that reenactment here."
"This is my greatest design yet! It reenacts both evolution and aesthetics!"


2003.10.05 14:47
Re: the McMansion Effect ((space))
..and then there's all the stuff that is now created and stored digitally, which sometimes gets put in digital museums.
Are the large homes and all their contents of today something like subliminal evocations of museums? "A man's home is his castle." And just look at how many actual castles and palaces are now actual museums.
"I want a McMuseum, hypersized."
Take a moment or two to count the 'collections' presently in your home.

2003.10.06 14:11
Re: CongressCATH 2004: Philosophy of Architecture/Architecture of Philosophy
from the call for papers:
"In particular the conference will examine contemporary architecture (so-called postmodern or deconstructive architecture), which as a practice seems to perform the insights of postmodern theory, and the architecture of the museum and the museum of architecture and the Architectural Archive. Here the conference would like to explore debates around the creation of museum spaces and the relationship between collections, interpretation, meaning and space."
from the back cover of Lotus International 35 (1982):
The museum of architecture
It's no longer possible for a contemporary architect to resolve the complex thematic of the museum in the typological conception of a building. Museum architecture, on deeper investigation, is transformed into a reflection on the museum-making of architecture itself.
We can find the prototypes of this phenomenon in the first collections, in the house-museum, in the first archaeological excavations, limited phenomenon which gradually spread until they became a program of exhibition organization throughout the world with the great exhibitions of the start of the century.
Today, in fact, they look to us as a colossal project of museum-making, even if with the aim of instructing. But the world which is given back to us like a still life in the museums, all of the works, the image, the production of varied ages and places is only a universe of melange, a metaphor of the living world the disorder of which is brought back to mind in the "magnificent chaos of the museum."
[The entire issue of Lotus International 35 is devoted to "the museum of architecture" theme.]


2003.11.14 22:36
Architecture Now! vol.2
I'm presently working on several volumes of Architecture Not Now!


2003.11.15 13:50
Re: Is it the end of theory?
The 'theory' that I utilize most now-a-days in terms of guiding/informing my design actions centers on the notion that the virtual realm is an 'other' place to work within as an architect and/or artist. The virtual realm (whose infrastructure is now largely the Internet and the general wired-ness of our planet) is a place additional/optional to the real realm. Although many current theories (and realities) see the real and the virtual merging in our daily lives, I more enjoy investigating the virtual realm in its more extreme position (which exists regardless of whether or not there is concurrent merging of the real and virtual going on).


2003.11.17 12:14
Re: Is it the end of theory?
Although I'd surely like to see the Kimbell Art Museum in person, the longing to do so has been greatly diminished since I've seen the Trenton Bath House, where Kimbell can be see in its seminal state. I see both buildings as osmotic, architectures that brilliantly manifest an equilibrium of inside and outside, not at all different in this regard than the Pantheon/St. Mary of the Martyrs at Rome.

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