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[a] vanguardist reports 2001
The troops who march at the head of an army.
The leaders of thought, taste, or opinion in a field (as art, letters, or politics).
Hence, one who or that which is foremost.
Those who create, produce, or apply new, original, or experimental ideas, designs, and techniques in any field, especially in the arts.
A group (as of writers or artists) that is unorthodox and untraditional in its approach.
The predilection for or practice of intellectual or artistic experimentation.

2000.11.07 10:20
Re: two for the road
I like what you say about not recalling "another film that, structurally, collages space and time in that particular way." Two for the Road does indeed collage space and time, but I was never sure how unique its particular method of cinematically doing so might be. In any case, it's worth noting that the collage here very effectively relates a narrative, specifically a 'modern' life narrative. Is the film's "collage of space and time" a (romantic) reflection (i.e., mirror) of modern life itself?
Could it be that the age old narrative journey motif's (Homeric epic) modern replacement is the narrative 'vehicle' motif ?

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.

Domestic - playing with all the domestic architecture at Quondam.
Quondam Muses or Musarum Muses - museum play using Quondam's museum collection.

perhaps not OTHERWISE EYES, but promenade architecturale
...believe it would be wiser to take a single topic and develop it to the fullest. The topic I'm thinking of starting with is the "promenade architecturale." The following is an initial outline to proceed with working on the "promenade architecturale" documentation:
1. collect all notes on the subject.
2. collect all web pages on the subject (Not There, letters to India).
3. collect all the CAD graphics and models relative to the subject (Monzie, Savoye, Strasbourg, Danteum, Cologne, Altes Museum, Düsseldorf(?)).
4. collect all material on the Campo Marzio triumphal way.
5. review Plattus' text on the Roman Triumph.
6. working title: from triumphal way to promenade architecturale?.
7. the triumphal way formula nicely matches the promenade architecturale formula.
8. web searches on The Divine Comedy.
9. construct the Altes Museum rotunda, construct the Campo Marzio triumphal way in 3D.
...several further ideas/areas of research to pursue:
1. excerpts from Livy and Plutarch on Romulus.
2. web search Nero and his triumph (in Suetonius).
3. search Eusebius for Constantine's triumph October 29, 312.
4. my triumphal arch as triumph over gravity idea.
5. is Bernini's Scala Regia a transition from triumphal way to promenade architecturale?
6. might there be something in The City of God Against the Pagans that relates to a triumphal way or an ascending promenade?
7. the "Rape of the Sabines" as a prelude?
8. end with the triumphal way of Diana and thereby end with the notion of reenactment.
9. title: Quondam Eventualities: Triumphs, Promenades and Reënactments.

context (Quondam thinking?)
Whenever I read about architecture and context I can't help but automatically recall my architectural education at Temple University, Philadelphia, 1975-81. Temple's architecture program was then in its infancy (begun 1973), and the faculty were largely either/and/or students of Louis Kahn, former employees of Louis Kahn, current or former employees of Romaldo Giurgola (Mitchell/Giurgola Architects), or employees at Venturi and Rauch Architects. Besides that 'august' lineage, what impressed my design thinking most was the issue of designing with respect to context, indeed I'd say that that notion was the touchstone of my entire formal architectural education. [I also have a strong independent streak when it comes to continually self educating myself architecturally, and my subscribing to Oppositions throughout the late 1970s through the early 1980s--I have all 26 issues except nos. 1 and 3--is just one example of that. Oppositions was never required reading at Temple U. while I was there.]
I now want to make a bold statement regarding (the evolution of?) contextualism and architecture:
What is probably the best example of Philadelphia architecture from the 1990s happens to not be in Philadelphia at all, rather it is in London, namely the Sainsbury Wing addition to the National Gallery by Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, Philadelphia.
I have never been to London, but I know the Sainsbury Wing fairly well via publications, plus, and here's the beginning of my point, I almost viscerally understand all the 'contextual' design idioms and eccentricities because they are, and the building as a 'whole' is, a consummate example of (questionably labeled post-modern) Philadelphian contextual architectural design thinking. I'm not suggesting that Philadelphia has some sort of propriety when it come to designing architecture contextually in the late 20th century, rather that there is a uniqueness to Philadelphia's 'brand' of contexturalism (indeed retrospectively related to Rowe's thinking, but clearly distinct nonetheless mostly because of Giurgola and Venturi who both taught at the University of Pennsylvania at the same time that Kahn taught there). What's wonderful about the Sainsbury Wing is that as a program and site it boiled down to being almost entirely about designing in context, and, with Venturi and Scott Brown as the competition winners, they were given the opportunity to do, in a sense, a 'hyper' contextual building, i.e. dealing with both London (and even royal) contexts as well as Philadelphia's theoretical architectural 'contexts'.
I'm going to be even more bold by suggesting that the Sainsbury Wing is not so much 'post-modern' design, rather very good 'post-imperial' design. Isn't the UK still more specifically operating within a post-imperial milieu (as a childhood stamp collector of the 1960s I'm very aware of exactly how and when the British Empire ended) and isn't Philadelphia the foremost post-imperial city when it comes to the British Empire--site of the Declaration of Independence and all that? I actually think the world of architecture is extremely fortunate to have an iconic post-imperial building in a post-imperial capital transplanted there by architects from the Empire's proto post-imperial city.
[Earlier, when the discussions here centered on evolution versus invention of style, I wanted to introduce the notion of Venturi's role vis-à-vis POMO, specifically the publication of Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, which is based almost entirely on the early 1960s architectural theory course that Venturi taught at the University of Pennsylvania (in Philadelphia, founded by Benjamin Franklin). Essentially, I wanted to raise the question as to what influence the Philadelphia 'context' had on 'Post-Modern Architecture'. If you asked me, I'd say the influence was indeed seminal, and Venturi's Mother's House (Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, a 15 minute ride from where I'm presently sitting as I write this) had a great deal to do with the earliest manifestation (dare I say invention?) of what has come to be labeled Post Modern Architecture.]
I'm going to table the issue of what exactly Philadelphia contextualism is in specific terms of style, and instead ask all you that can readily visit the Sainsbury Wing to go there next time with the thought that you are going to a truly Philadelphian building because the style you'll see there is, like I said, an example of Philadelphia architecture at its best. If you don't know Philadelphia itself, and/or are not too familiar with Philadelphia's indigenous architecture, I'd suggest concurrently looking at (any book on) the architecture of Frank Furness (1839-1912), the sort of ur-architect of Philadelphia uniqueness and perhaps Venturi's strongest stylistic influence.
Like Venturi and (almost) Kahn, I am a Philadelphia native (although I'm also the only member of my immediate family born in America), and I've sort of made Philadelphia context an integral part of my life, e.g., I've been living in the same Philadelphia house for almost 43 years, all but the first 20 months of my life). As much as Philadelphia is often called the cradle of democracy, a kind of New World Athens, at base (i.e., literally infrastructurally) Philadelphia is a Roman colonial camp reenactment (and you might even put camp in quotes, a la Learning from Las Vegas via Philadelphians). Philadelphia's original plan is a Roman grid complete with a real cardo and a real decumanus, and the plan is still very much intact today. Indeed, Broad Street, the north-south axis is the longest straight street (in an urban context) in the world, an ultimate cardo, primary axis if there ever is one (and Stauffer Hall, the site of Temple University's architecture program from 1973-1980 was right on Broad Street). I don't have to tell all of you how much I look to/at Rome, but I should mention that the main reason I started redrawing and studying Piranesi's Campo Marzio (and all the subsequent ancient Roman studying being done like on St. Helena) is because I was inspired by the fact that Louis I. Kahn, throughout his mature years, had a copy of Piranesi's Campo Marzio plan hanging on the wall over his desk at his office (on Walnut St. in downtown Philadelphia, and no I'm not suggesting that Kahn was some kind of 'wall nut'). After Learning from Las Vegas, Venturi next published a group of essays under the title A View from the Campidoglio, and just a few years ago it dawned on me that when one is actually standing at the Campidoglio in Rome, the view being taken in is literally Rome's Campo Marzio. I'm going to make one final bold statement here, and that is to ask you to now trust me when I say that I continue to see what some of Philadelphia's best architects looked at.

Palais des Congrès scale changed into mega hotel proportions plus collaged with other Le Corbusier models (that are scale distorted as well).

architecture movements
Here's a list of just some of my favorite architecture movements:
The Altar from Pergamom to Berlin.
The Temple of Abu Simbal to higher ground.
Domitian's Naumachia dismantled to repair the fire damaged Circus Maximus.
The spiral columns from Greece to San Pietro Vaticano.
Cedar Grove from Frankford to Fairmount Park (Philadelphia).
Aldo Rossi's Teatro del Mondo floating into the Venetian lagoon.
...and my most anticipated architecture movement:
The Elgin Marbles returning to the Acropolis.

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'?"

Learning from Lacunae
...introduce new mysteries while solving old ones.

Quondam Wavelengths -- more on
4. play with and display the latest collection of mesh surfaces.

Architectural Predispostions
Might 'good architecture' and 'bad architecture' actually share a significant common ground in that neither architectures are easily defined? (That is, unless someone (here) can easily answer "what is bad architecture?")
Personally, I see neither good or bad architectures as being a problem, rather it is the global nimiety of mediocre architecture that I wish were extinct.
Perhaps the education of an architect should revolve around the teaching and learning of what is mediocre since the mediocre is probably the easiest to identify (given there's so much of it).
Then again, this conviction that 'the good' (and bad?) cannot be readily defined or identified might just be unwittingly producing an end result of abundant mediocrity.
Could the best architecture be the architecture that quietly disappears once it starts becoming mediocre?

More Tedious Stuff (Design Process Type)
Paul states:
This is where the "function" enters the genesis of the parti. Kahn spoke of "served" and "servant" spaces, of course. The secondary spaces are not "celebrated," but become embedded in "conceptual poché," which the parti diagrams as solid, leaving only the celebrated, or publicly experienced, spaces as "spatial figure." The figure-ground gestalt is fundamental to this basic design strategy, applied to urban design by Colin Rowe and his school, but derived from Beaux Arts practice.
Steve replies:
I don't see Paul's capsulation of Kahn's notion of "served" and "servant" spaces as altogether correct. Rather, it is more of a (convenient) pedagogical interpolation based on a hybridization of "served and servant" (Kahn) with "figure/ground" (Rowe). Two of Kahn's buildings that most manifest the "served" and "servant" notions are the Richards Medical Research Building (Philadelphia, 1957-60) and the Salk Institute (La Jolla, 1959-65). In both designs the "served" and the "servant" are each clearly articulated, and one could go so far as to say that it is more the articulation of the "servant" spaces that manifest the "served" spaces. Neither of these two buildings employs what might be described as poché.
I now wonder whether Paul's interpolation exemplifies a wider ranging interpolation throughout architectural academia since Kahn's practice, hence a not necessarily true interpretation /proliferation of Kahn's message /meaning vis-à-vis "served" and "servant". The notions of "served" and servant" are first to be applied to the program, i.e., the building program is divided into those spaces that serve and those spaces that are served. The form of the building then arises out of the articulation of both the "served" and the "servant", and the ultimate design is the integration and/or inter-relation of the two types of "spaces".

Perhaps the only slanted aspect of Kahn's notion of "served" and "servant" spaces is the underlying notion that some spaces are privileged while the other spaces are not privileged. And perhaps this is precisely where the misinterpretation of "served" and "servant" actually comes from. In reality, however, Kahn somehow managed to "privilege" virtually all the spaces of his buildings. [And perhaps it can be said that Kahn was therefore very good at working the mediocre.]
Just now I'm wondering whether the grammatical terms of "active" and "passive" might be an interesting extension of the served and servant notions, i.e., with served being the passive and the servant being the active. It might be interesting to sometimes analyze buildings by identifying those parts/spaces that are active (doing the acting) and those parts that are passive (being acted upon). This point of view might help alleviate the "privilege" factor.

Quondam as hypermuseum
1. continuation of "Lauf Haus der Kunst".
2. lots of new museum (model and plan) play.
3. museum annex development.
4. the working title museum.
5. something to do with the Ryerss Museum.
6. the local acropolis.
7. a Duchamp exhibit.
8. a solarized "photography" exhibit.
9. collecting at eBay.
10. IQ as the plan of a hypermuseum.



Quondam © 2016.08.07