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2003.12.02 17:21
so much for Liberty...
Although the quondam Liberty Bell Pavilion of Independence Historic National Park (Philadelphia) is officially for sale, the Park Service has nonetheless found a new (interim?) use for the building. It is now the security checkpoint for visitors to the Liberty Bell that is in the adjacent new Liberty Bell building. Today, while looking inside the former Liberty Bell Pavilion, I saw a man with outstretched arms being "checked" by a Park Ranger with a hand-held scanner right in front of where the Liberty Bell used to be with Independence Hall clearly in the background. Like they say, "Only in America."


2003.12.03 17:36
so much for liberty...
The point of this thread is... ...the ironic symbolism currently manifest by the architecture at Independence Historic National Park.
Security checkpoints at IHNP are a post-911 phenomenon, and, as far as their 'design" there goes, they are makeshift and poorly executed. Using the former Liberty Bell Pavilion now also as a checkpoint adds symbolic absurdity to the mix.
Granted this may all be temporary, but, if you are mindful of all the 200+ year history of this specific site, there's not much about it that hasn't just been temporary, or indeed ironic about the literal birthplace of the United States of America.
Perhaps the reason it is so difficult these days to design a decent memorial is because architects for almost a century now are more trained at designing oblivion.


2004.03.26 16:57
Re: The history of the destruction of architecture
Imagine how different ancient architectural history would be if there were existing records of all the 'Pagan' temples destroyed in the name of Christianity. For example, where exactly in Greece did the spiral columns within the original St. Peter's Basilica (later reenacted via the baldachin by Bernini) come from? It was Eutropia that first told Helena about these columns and their original locations.
Or what would architectural history be like if all the buildings that were ever erected on this planet were a matter of record?


2004.04.12 18:11
Re: living democracy
maybe all bin Laden really wants is control of Saudi Arabia
maybe the Vatican should consider going into the movie business
maybe (fill in the blanks)
All I really know for sure is that last week Peter Jennings said Circus Maximus when he should have said Circus of Caligula and Nero.
All the news that fits the advertiser's standards.


2004.04.14 22:25
Re: "Revivalists..."
"Ludwig did not set out to copy the entire Palace of Versailles; in fact, he conceived Herrenchiemsee as something of a shell, in which only two rooms were of consequence--the State Bedroom and the Hall of Mirrors. He commissioned architect Georg Dollmann and, later, Julius Hofmann, to faithfully duplicate the center block and side wings, He eventually wished to include to longer auxiliary wings containing the chapel and court theater, but money ran short before these schemes could be executed. The king never intended that all the rooms should be completed: From the beginning, Herrenchiemsee was to be a set piece into which certain rooms were to be introduced. Their bare plaster walls, bricked up windows, and vaulted stone ceilings only served to fill out the space behind the palace's facade, providing an eerie contrast to the extravagant rooms of the piano nobile. By the fall of 1885, the palace was ready for a royal visit."
--Greg King, The Mad King: A Biography of Ludwig II of Bavaria, pp. 241-2
Earlier today, while driving to the local post office (which is within a large local shopping center, which years ago was the site of Heinz Manufacturing), I passed by what until a year or two ago was a K-Mart. For some reason the entrance to this place was wide open, and inside was an enormous, cavernous space. I thought to myself, "Gosh, the interiors of these stores are so ephemeral." Then I thought, might it not be interesting if homes were treated/designed like BIG BOX stores. Now, thinking of Herrenchiemsee, why can't all BIG BOXES look like Versailles on the outside and empty shells on the inside. Or, is that what is kind of already happening, and Ludwig was a "dreamer" just a head of his time.

digital cat

2004.05.04 10:28
Re: the design of incarceration
It's always interesting and useful to know how things happen, and it's just as interesting and useful to know how things un-happen.


2004.05.15 15:27
Koolhaas Library NY Times
Compare the new Seattle Library with Kahn and Tyng's design for a Municipal Building, Philadelphia, 1952-57 (as seen on pp. 30-31 of Louis I. Kahn: Complete Works 1935-1974).
Also look at the color sketck on page 27 which is evocative of other the other recent Koolhaas architecture of irregular shape.
Is a book entitled Learning from Early Kahn Philadelphia virtually in the works?


2004.07.01 14:57
Modern Trajectory
Why not compose a modern trajectory based on individual buildings/designs and events (such as building expositions, publications, schools, symposiums, etc.) entwined with historical events, instead of dealing with architects themselves as a datum?
Is the course on architecture or is it on architects?
A Venturi and Rauch building of the 1960s, for example, is not the same as a Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates building of now-a-days. The same goes for Gehry's career trajectory. An early Mies building is not the same as a late Mies building (although most late Mies buildings are just like each other). Note what building design Kahn was working on while Wright was designing Beth Sholom Synagogue.
A chronological trajectory of buildings/designs will be much more informative than a more or less speculative list of what architect may have succeeded or followed what other architect.


2004.07.01 15:59
Modern Trajectory
MoMA also had a Japanese Design exhibition in 1954.
The Language of Post-Modern Architecture was first published in 1977.
1966: Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture - Venturi
1966: Architecture of the City - Rossi
Not only were Le Corbusier's executed works always news-worthy, but each consecutive publication of his Complete Works lead to widespread (i.e., global) emulation throughout the field of architecture.
The necessity of rebuilding Europe after W.W.II lead to an enormous proliferation of modern design.
1925: Towards a New Architecture - Le Corbusier.
The coeval-ness of Art Deco and Esprit Nouveau.
The works of Stirling and Gowen as the ultimate manifestation of Russian Constructivism.
Stalinist Architecture as the ultimate manifestation of Piranesi's Ancient Roman fantasies.


2004.07.22 16:26
Re: Virtual Synagogue in Berlin's Fasanenstrasse
very coincidental....
Just within the last half hour I upload pages which depict an analytical rendition of Kahn's Mikveh Israel Synagogue (Philadelphia, 1961-70, unexecuted) where the cylinders of light are replace with reduced versions of Venturi & Rauch's Tower for Princeton Memorial Park (New Jersey, 1966, unexecuted).
G. sees the PMP Tower design as Venturi & Rauch's consummate homage to Kahn, specifically to the Mikveh Israel Synagogue.
While G. studied architecture at Cornell (BA 1968), he well remembers Perspecta 9/10 where Mikveh Israel is featured, as well as the then forthcoming excerpt from Complexity and Contradiction--"Is it a building split in two or two buildings coming together."
And who could forget the "Avant-Garde Anachronist" article on Louis Kahn in Time June 1966--"Carving in Light" indeed.
And remember how everyone was eating up the Progressive Architecture Award Citations January 1967.


2004.07.31 10:36
Peter Eisenman: "Liberal views have never built anything of any value."
Thinking about what architectures these day are really political, I wouldn't count Peter Eisenman's among them. What I would count are "the great wall of Israel", US military bases all over the globe, any secured border checkpoints, architectures like that. Was the USSR the last great political architecture of the 20th century? Could be. And how does Communist Chinese architecture stand up these days?


2004.08.06 07:49
Transnational Spaces
Why not ask Native Americans about cultural erasure and placenessness?


2004.10.05 14:54
critical regionalism
In September 2001, while seeing a display of quartz crystals (each labeled as to its geographic origin) compiled over 100 years ago, I thought it would be cool if the buildings of any global location started to match the formations of the local quartz. It was after seeing Harz Mountain quartz that the idea crystallized.


2004.10.26 11:41
Disney
"It does exactly what it's supposed to do."
What's that?
Subliminally turn every visitor into a starry-eyed over-consumer.


2004.12.17 13:34
Re: zomescape
A further investigation of zomescape may be inspired by the Kahn/Tyng City Tower project and the Mitchell/Guirgola 30th Street Site Master Plan for the Philadelphia 1976 Bicentennial Corporation.

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