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ideas

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1998.01.27
extruding in Arris
I just found out today that I can place a window around any set of lines and they will extrude -- I no longer have to trace the lines first. This is a tremendous function that I always wanted, and now I have to consider all the instances where I can now use this function. Of course, this has major implications in all kinds of areas, because I can now also rotate by window.
The first place I see this now being used is to generate a base 3-D model of the Ichnographia Campus Martius. I can extrude any and all the walls and stairs, as well as rotate any and all curved elements, including stairs. The only thing I can't do automatically is give closure to the elements (but I still have to do some research on that). If I started to do just one hour of Ichnographia extrusion and closure work a day, I would very quickly have a 3-D model (and that would be almost unbelievable). All I have to do is play around a bit until I see a good working process develop.
The second use for this is to get an opaque railing for the Altes Museum. This function actually solves everything, and I will no longer have to worry about not having the railings present in the opaque views. Overall, I am excited about the time that this function is going to save me. Also, this means that any plan data that I currently have is automatically extrudable, e.g., the Mayor's House. If nothing else, this function may lead me into a design methodology whereby I design specifically with the quickness of this function in mind. I should go through all my plans and see what I can just start extruding.


1999.03.13
21st century buildings
I was just thinking tonight how I seem to have the ability to think about (design) what the next big "style" will be well before it actually happens, and along those lines I thought one easy way to figure out what's going to be next is to look at the late work Le Corbusier and then take it a step further. I immediately thought of the Olivetti project and these wild curvy, wiggly office towers, and even then crashing them together. Moreover, the way that Olivetti is on a raised "terrain", I thought of easily creating a "terrain" out of pieces of the Media base model, and then having that raised on pilotis. The imaginative designs on this theme alone are boundless.
I next thought how Quondam could (should?) in 2000(+) exclusively present 21st century buildings, i.e., buildings designed within the first days, weeks, months, year of the 21st century -- of course, these buildings will be entirely my design--"History is largely controlled by those who write it."


1999.05.08
cutting-edge design
...address the recent topological approach to architecture as well. The only ideas I have so far involve a combination of digital terrain and existing models and Corbusian principles. I also have the idea of applying existing perspective details and even composite opaque surfaces to any variety of building model surfaces.
...other new ways to generate weird geometries:
1. use solid rotate, but not using the normal polar axis of rotation -- I suspect that angled axes will create very weird latticed geometrics, and if the rotated line segment is also angled, then the produced variety of shapes is all the more infinite.
2. use solid extrude, but again not using the line of extrusion in a strict polar fashion. Moreover, the original lines being extruded do not have to be on the same flat plane either.
3. begin to exaggeratingly distort my existing models, e.g., spread them out far and wide to create whole new terrains (upon which to place new buildings and/or environments). Of course, playing with (reducing) the z factor will also come into play.
4. extrude and rotate wireframes that are already in 3d -- this may prove to be completely ground-breaking, and even revolutionary.
With these four new ideas alone, I have substantially increased the notion of Quondam's infinite collection as well as substantially increased my capacity to create very formally inventive designs -- models I didn't even think were possible for me to produce before.
I'm already thinking that Quondam begins 2000 with an exhibit entitled "an infinite collection", and all I have to do is display one new collection of forms after another. I'm also thinking that this new breed of model formation and manipulation is how I create Ottopia in 3d.

1999.07.28
content for Ottopia
I'm now thinking that building collisions and rotate extrudes become a major illustrated theme along with model distortions.
Should Ottopia be the place where unfulfilled dreams are addressed, e.g., the unfulfilled and/or past contents of Quondam?


2000.01.03 03:38
Re: sculpture versus architecture
Pinar Dinc writes:
What about the notion of life? In order to call a composition as a work of architecture there must be a life in it. A life around it does not make it architecture, I think. The composition must embrace a life style, must be an accompaniment of a life style but not be the focus of it. The objects which are for perception only, cannot be called architecture. They are called sculpture.
Steve Lauf replies:
What Pinar writes comes across as very true as a reasonably way to approach "what is architecture?" as opposed "what is sculpture?" And for the most part I agree with the notion that architecture accommodates life. So I then ask if this 'definition' must be broadened to include all built forms that once accompanied life and a life style, but over time have come to no longer do so. I am thinking of ancient ruins, be they Stonehenge, the Pyramids, the Parthenon, the cave temples of India, etc. These are commonly referred to as examples of architecture, yet today they are clearly "objects which are for perception only." Have these architectures become architecture/sculpture hybrids? Furthermore, no one now lives in Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, nor, it might be argued, does the life style around which the Villa Savoye was designed to accompany now exist. Is the Villa Savoye a master work of modern architecture that is now an "object which is for perception only?" Or is it merely that the 'life style" the Villa Savoye now accompanies is one where great buildings (if they're lucky) become cultural shrines, where the buildings now accommodate our 'perceptual worship'?


2000.01.08 13:48
a virtual museum of [disinformation] architecture?
John Young wrote:
Imaginary architecture, Escher, Piranesi, Heaven, Hell, visionary, virtual, has always mesmerized, inspired, perhaps terrified, for being beyond what is accompishable.
To be sure most architecture begins as imaginary and then it's all down hill from there as other brutally realistic forces have their way. Until ruins once again induce fantastic possibilities.
I especially admire Steve's fictional conference........
Steve Lauf continues:
Before going INSIDE DENSITY and while INSIDE DENSITY, the back of my mind was occupied with "what could a virtual museum of architecture be that a real museum of architecture could [or would] never be?"
www.quondam.com presently comprises over 80 megabytes of data in the form of texts and images. As 'director' of Quondam, I'm hesitantly contemplating the (online) deletion of all the data in one keystroke. Seems drastic, but dia(meta)bolically desirable(!) -- kind of like pushing that big red button somewhere in Washington D.C., or where ever red buttons are.
Tabula Rasa is too easy, however. I prefer palimpsest, instead--erasure and then overwriting/overrighting. Of course, replacement would be necessary and necessary in quick order (...don't want those rising web stats to suddenly evaporate).
So what can a virtual museum of architecture be that a real museum of architecture can not be?
I'm at the point where the dissemination of disinformation appears the most appealing. I'm imagining a museum of architecture that curates and displays an 'un-real' history of architecture, you know, among OTHER things, all those buildings Le Corbusier designed since 27 August 1965, and likewise the dies sanquinis urbanism of lights-camera-Africa in 2056 AD which is covertly inspired by the OTTO-man architecture of pre-Christ South America, and don't forget the equinoctial architecture along the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Yes, www.quondam.com may well soon be a 'new and improved' virtual museum of [unscientific fiction] architecture, written and delineated in palimpsest (so the faded 'truth' is nonetheless incompletely 'not there').
I'm becoming more and more convinced that a virtual museum of architecture misses its full virtuality unless it 'calendrically incarnates' other zeitgeists + [or minus] architectures.

2000.01.10 00:26
as dense as architecture can get?
As to wondering about the 'easy' play with scale's relative to Piranesi's Campo Marzio, in part you guess correctly. I say in part because when Piranesi delineates the Campus Martius proper, he more often than not uses the correct scale for the buildings that once existed there. Piranesi grossly exaggerates building scale in the Campo Marzio's outer regions, however. Nonetheless, Piranesi is deliberately 'playing' a learning game here, in that the outer regions is where Piranesi's plans and programs lack practically all veracity, hence, the hyperbole of Piranesi's architectural imagination is coded by a hyperbole of architectural scale. In simple terms, the over-sized plans of the Campo Marzio indicate buildings that Piranesi completely 'made-up', where as a high percentage of the smaller building plans indicate buildings that actually once existed and are drawn at their proper scale. (Mind you, the drawn plans of the once existing buildings, even though at a correct scale, are still often individual plans of Piranesi's invention.)


2000.01.15 10:15
pretty [scarry] hybrid?
The following is an anecdote relative to the (new) notion of beauty (and aesthetics), etc.:
While still an architecture student, I spent the summer of 1978 working for the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) stationed in Perry, Missouri, a very small town (pop. 931) 30 miles west of Hannibal (of Mark Twain fame). It was then that the city of St. Louis (120 miles south) became the 'big city' destination on several weekends. What struck me the most in St. Louis was Eero Saarinen's Gateway Arch--not only is it an incredible site from a distance, but even more amazing when perceived while walking around its base, (and I won't elaborate here about the "otherness" of its elevator ride up to the top observation room inside, which I believe I heard is something you can't do anymore).
On what was my third visit to St. Louis, I was with several of the other student architects I lived and worked with--it was their first trip. We were all around the same age and education level, i.e., early twenties and full of youthful over-confidence. I distinctly remember being asked by Mike, "So, what do you think of the arch?" (Mike and I were room mates, and we often 'discussed' architecture). I said, "I think the arch is very pretty." Well, Mike quickly told me that one just DOES NOT use the word 'pretty' when referring to architecture!--(apparently) pretty has such lowly connotations. I briefly argued that I thought 'pretty' was the best word to describe how I saw the arch, largely because I see its 'prettiness' as pretty much undeniable. I was confident I used the right word to describe how I felt about the arch.
Today, just two weeks into the 21st century, I looked up pretty in Webster's Third International Dictionary:
pretty 1 a : marked by or calling for skillful dexterity or artful care and ingenuity, esp. in coping with some difficult or complicated matter.
I am thus (finally) completely convinced I saw the arch for what it is, and then also described how I saw the arch in a most fitting manner.
Now being somewhat older (and hopefully somewhat wiser), if I were today asked what I thought of the arch, I'd say, "The St. Louis Arch is very likely the prettiest architecture-sculpture hybrid I will have ever perceived."

2000.01.16
the arch, the trope, and the reenactment
Is Saarinen's Gateway Arch in St. Louis a trope or is it a reenactment? That is, is the Gateway Arch (actually the arch in St. Louis has a rather profound formal name which I cannot remember) a "turn" of manifest destiny into symbolic form, or is it a long standing architectural tradition enacted yet once again?
The assimilation of trope into recent architectural (theory) writing and criticism is an example of trope itself, is it not? And it often seems (to me at least) that "troping" (excuse my verbing) within current architectural parlance and design is treated somewhat as a whole new "Concept" in and of itself. Perhaps I'm here being overly simplistic, but recent architectural tropes and the pronouncements of such often appear to be elaborate justifications for what is otherwise plainly arbitrary in terms of ultimate design form. Personally, arbitrariness in design is not something I shun, but even I cannot escape the fact that 'arbitrariness' and 'design' are fundamentally anathema. [God forbid an architect actually says he did something purely arbitrary.] Nonetheless, informed decisions apropos design in no way lead to single conclusions; there are so many options, especially in our time, that ultimate design choices manifest a high degree of "post-objective subjectivity" (to perhaps coin phrase).
Here are my recent thoughts regarding symbolic arches and trope vs. reenactment:
I first 'found' the notion of reenactment within ancient Rome's Triumphal Way, which is itself an oft reenacted reenactment of something Romulus did after his victory over the Sabine men. The funeral of Princess Diana is the most recent reenactment of Romulus' parade. (Yes, because of the "turn" of Paganism into Christianity the Triumphal Way "troped" into elaborate, albeit highly meaningful funeral processions, however, it remains that still only heroes, and finally heroines as well, get the Triumphal Way treatment.)
With the Triumphal Way then came first the Triumphal Gate and then several Triumphal Arches. The Triumphal Gate was the gate within Rome's wall (and sacred boundary) through which the victor's entered the city after first assembling within the Campus Martius. Over time, special victories sometimes added a Triumphal Arch somewhere along the route of the Triumphal Way (e.g., the Arch of Titus, the Arch of Constantine, etc.). One could say that each of these subsequent arches, although rendering the victory newly being celebrated, nonetheless is a reenactment of the Triumphal Gate, but I'm now of a mind that, while indeed reenactments, the arches re-enact something more obvious:
Could it be that Triumphal Arches plainly reenact the structural arch itself?
Moreover, could it be that Triumphal Arches reenact the structural triumph of the Roman arch?
Was the arch an obvious form to use as symbolic of triumph because of its gateway /passage /breaking-through implications (the triumphal arch as trope)?
Or was there some clever designer back then that thought the arch was 'the' perfect manifestation of triumph because the arch itself is a structural triumph (the triumphal arch as reenactment)?
Does the Arch in St. Louis trope Manifest Destiny or does it reenact a triumph over gravity?

2000.01.20
Trope and/or Reenactment
Paul wrote:
Being more "modern" (i.e. having abandoned figural space) Saarinen's arch becomes a "one-liner" (pun intended). It transforms the curvilinear edge of the enclose space into an object--an object that is two-dimensional, and minimally two-dimensional at that: a line. It strives to be without mass; it remains an isolated figure, disengaged from context. Minimal though it is, we see this as an OBJECT in space; only with difficulty do we recognize an implication of spatial definition made by the line in arching overhead. But as the line has no third dimension, it cannot contain or define a real volume of space.
Steve replies:
I'm sorry Paul, but there is a lot of disinformation in what you say above regarding the St. Louis arch. (I tend to believe you've never actually been to the arch. Were you ever there?) The arch is indeed "sublimely" 3-dimensional: the cross section of the arch is a continual triangle with quite large footprints at the base which gradually decreases as the arch ascends. The massive 3-dimensionality of the two bases, albeit surprising upon first encounter, is a definite reality (in fact, a six-person pod elevator travels within the "one-liner"). As to the experience of the space the arch "encloses", yes, it's very thin, but it's truly wonderful to experience, extremely awesome.
I doubt my recollections of the Arch, after not having been there over twenty years, would still be so vivid in my mind today if it wasn't there creating such an incredible space.


2000.01.16 14:14
Re: architecting
Real scale deals primarily with physical limits and the coordinated representation/manifestation of those limits, while in virtual scale limits are 'fluid' and/or 'meandering' and/or 'oscillating' and/or 'undulating', etc..
It would seem then that the difference between real scale and virtual scale is in how each scale respectively treats and/or renders limits. Real scale and virtual scale do not treat or render different realities, however, because all reality is relative to the limit of its container.


2000.01.20
Re: Saarinen, Kahn and the Use of History   2000


2000.01.20
Wright and historical method   2000


2000.01.24 19:19
Re: by design
...we were part of a international conference on hybrid architectures. The conference is so hybrid that the participants don't even know (till now) that they composed a larger composite entity.
I know I'm 'playing' a bit here, but I also think I'm making a significant point about the 'hybrid' nature of cyberspace in general, and the ever morphing nature of the hybrid [architecture] specifically.

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