working title museum

schlachtfest architektur: tod eines kritikers

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1998.11.13 15:11
Re: do tell
...hyper-surface architecture, which is perhaps so far the furthest development of architecture as show (and I use the word show here in its more broad sense, and I am not at all trying to be negative, although architecture as show probably contains both positive and negative attributes).
When I think of architecture and show, my mind makes all kinds of associations. First, I am hard pressed to think of an example of architecture that doesn't represent (show) something, and in that sense all architecture could be seen as some kind of show. Next, I think of how architecture is usually shown in photographs, that is, usually without people in the same picture. Could this be an indication of the autonomy that architects like to perceive in architecture? I'm reminded of a story an architect/friend's wife told about visiting Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye. There were a handful of other architects there, and not only was each of the architects taking virtually all the same pictures, but they were all making sure not to get each other in any of the pictures. I immediately thought the best pictures would have been of the architects doing this; at least that would have been a unique set of pictures. Could it be that the presence of people in architectural photographs takes away from architecture's (preferably?) perceived autonomy?
From here I think of Maya Lin's comments on the FLW/PBS show, where she says that Wright wanted far too much control of his designs (particularly in the cases where Wright designs all the interiors down to the smallest details and furthermore sets everything in a specific position). This is a great comment coming from the very artist whose Vietnam Memorial is exactly so great because of the people that visit and leave things there, and who, in there very own reflections in the wall of names, become a part of the monument itself. Finally, I think of K.F. Schinkel's perspective of the upper balcony of his Altes Museum where he shows visitors to the museum standing as if struck with awe of the architecture and its murals. Is it OK to have people within architectural images as long as they're showing high respect for the building?

1999.01.13 19:50
introduction, etc.
I now think of Rotterdam and the Netherlands as also being very metabolic places.

In his synopsis of Jenck's recent lecture, Stephen Marshall included the phrases:
"life cycles of cities," "cells must die periodically so that other cells--and the organism as a whole -- might live," "cities undergo phase changes."
The word that best describes these notions is metabolic -- metabolism is a duality whereby anabolism is creative metabolism and catabolism is destructive metabolism. The "design of" many cities today exhibit metabolic "operations" when both creative and destructive manifestations occur. Metabolism is perhaps the primordial duality, and, like all dualities, is difficult to resolve precisely because of its inherent opposing forces.
The metabolic "operating system" is very prevalent today, and has been growing in prevalence over the last few centuries. For example, it is easy to recognize Berlin as the foremost metabolic city of the 20th century. Before our time, Piranesi, in his Ichnographia Campus Martius, offers a poignant example of "life and death" in the city, and before Piranesi, perhaps Michelangelo's architecture (and some aspects of Mannerism in general) offers an example of metabolic design, albeit slightly a head of its time.

Thanks for taking the time to read my observations. your suggestion of writing a full-bodied critical review is encouraging, however, my intention at this point is to focus more on Piranesi's work rather than Tafuri's. my anger stems from being passionate about the Campo Marzio, and I dislike seeing the plan given such short shrift by a prominant architectural historian/theorist that should have known better. additionally, after one reads what Stan Allen, Jennifer Bloomer and Peter Eisenman have said/written about the Campo Marzio it is obvious that they followed Tafuri's lead, therefore the mistakes become compounded, and in the end architecture theory suffers as well as Piranesi's meaning. I just don't want Tafuri's mistakes regarding the Campo Marzio to continue growing. the other reason for my anger is how Tafuri (mis)uses the Campo Marzio to support his own theoretical agenda. i wouldn't care at all what Tafuri says/writes were it not for the fact that he (perhaps more than any other architectural theorist) is extremely influential still within the whole architectural debate. i'm angry because no one else sees where he is just plain wrong. i don't like to see "architecture" so misguided. since the "myth" Tafuri created about the Campo Marzio is so big, anger seems to be the only emotion that can attempt to match the existing scale.
Considering that my "spot" observations are within schizophrenia + architectures, anger isn't altogether inappropriate, either.

1999.06.14 12:31
interview 2.6
If I am ever to direct a school of architecture, it will be within the realm of Quondam. In many ways, Quondam is already an ur-presentation of my school of architecture.

Sony Metreon
"As homes the Jaoul houses are almost cozy and could be inhabited by any civilized family, urban or rural. They are built by and intended for the status quo. Conversely, it is difficult to imagine Garches being lived in spontaneously except by such as the Sitwells, with never less than half a dozen brilliant, and permanent, guests. Utopian, it anticipates, and participates in, the progress of twentieth-century emancipation. A monument, not to an age which is dead, but to a way of life which has not generally arrived, and a continuous reminder of the quality to which all architects must aspire if modern architecture is to retain its vitality."
James Stirling, the last paragraph of "From Garches to Jaoul - Le Corbusier as domestic architect in 1927 and 1953"
Do any of the above and former posts of this thread apply to the today's culture as/of monopoly situation?
I see civilized life becoming more and more a testing ground for capitalistic formulas (if the test formula works, i.e., makes money, then it's a keeper, and if the test formula fails, it's quickly discarded). We are either the experimenter or the lab rat--or is it (as jya suggests) that we are prone to have to play both roles in order to go on?

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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?" 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, 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.

2000.02.04 14:11
Re: [looking glass] the old masters
Randolph states:
I think he's at least partly right; I've been talking about the camera lucida for years--ever since I saw an exhibit of the astronomer Wm. Herschel's camera lucida drawings at the Ansel Adams. The Old Masters used technical aids when they could; the NYer article reprints that picture of Dürer carefully measuring. I've little doubt that if they had the camera lucida available at least some of them would have used it. And of course the example painting reprinted in the NYer(it's upstairs, I don't want to get it to cite it) does indeed look photographic.
Steve asks:
So what part of Hockney's theory do you think is right is right, and what part do you think is not right?
What I like about the article is the strong implication that the manual dexterity of the 'old masters' is not exactly what art history tells us it is. In the case of Hockney's theory, we have CLAD and COAD--Camera Lucida Aided Drafting and Camera Obscura Aided Drafting respectively--which I see very much akin to CADD -- Computer Aided Drafting and Design. In either case, manual dexterity is aided by 'technology'.
Having started using CAD well before most other architects (in 1983), the initial reaction of most of my colleagues was that I had now somehow abandoned architecture because I was now letting a computer do the drawing(and designing they assumed) for me. To me there was no doubt that my critical peerage was being purely prejudicial and biased because I knew that they knew nothing about what CAD was really about. What bothered me most, however, was that practically none of my colleagues wanted to learn more about CAD. I had to conclude that they were most afraid of facing their own ignorance, yet I also had to concede that I was perhaps the only one to see the hypocrisy that was going on. For myself, learning CAD in 1983 almost immediately made me a more creative person then I ever would have been without it.
The other thing I like about Hockney's theory and his presentation of it is that he bases his theory not just on testing the theory by using the camera lucida himself, but also on his own experience as a consummate artist. Where the camera lucida tests offer 'physical' evidence for his theory, I, like Hockney, actually feel that having the working knowledge of being an artist when theorizing how artists work provides the more sure evidence, even though it is not physical evidence.
Perhaps the real trick of the camera obscura is that it has managed to keep a lot of Western culture in the dark about how art really gets done.

Re: [Re:] enactment
Brian asks:
I wonder what the limits of reenactment are...where does reenactionary architecture begin and end?
Steve replies:
It seems logical that no reenactment occurs without an enactment occurring first... reenactment's most inescapable limit is that it can never be as original as that which it reenacts.



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