working title museum

the further adventures of the broke baroque style

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1998.12.01 20:00
Re: More Speaking in Tongues
"Finally, he bent down, picked up the model and proceeded to bite off a piece of it and spit it on the ground with great gusto. He gently put the model back on the table. "That's much better," he said, going on to the next model."
Isn't that a very of primitive (and chidlish) way to criticize (teach) architecture, though? One would hope that the higher education of architecture is well advanced of slap-stick, two-bit(e) acting.

1999.01.24 18:47
Re: archi-tech, was def: Computer Aided Doctrine
JJM states:
It seems more than obvious that the tools we use influence the way we think.
SL replies:
It may not seems so obvious, but it is probably more true that the way we think influences the way we use tools.

1999.03.30 12:50
I spent the better part of this last weekend reading extensively from three books: Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture (1996), The Architect: Reconstructing Her Practice (1996), and Architecture of the Everyday (1997). Each book is an anthology, and, in the process, I read (so far) the texts of almost 20 architects/authors: Venturi, Scott Brown, Eisenman, Tschumi, Koolhaas, Rossi, Tafuri, Rowe, as well as Ingraham, Fausch, Ruddick, McLeod, Bennett and others. For the most part, I'd say that none of what I read was philosophy, but a lot of it was theory. Moreover, I feel secure believing the notion that architects (at least those that write) are very capable of relating theory through text (and here I want to distinguish that relating theory through the practice of designing and building is a whole other situation beyond what I am writing about here).
The primary reason for my doing all this reading is to come out of it with a greater understanding. So far, I fortunately understand most of what I've read, but, of course, that does not mean that I agree with all the theories. In fact, my agreeing or disagreeing with a theory is secondary to my thorough understanding of a theory. Overall, I want to be careful not to (pre)judge a given theory until I understand the theory--a practice, I fear, many architects do not engage in. For example, G. adds Holl, Tschumi, Hejduk, and Koolhaas as architects whose works intertwine heavily with philosophy. For me, this is not an accurate assessment because: Holl (in text and building) is not particularly theoretical or philosophical -- a good look at Le Corbusier's Ronchamp clarifies much of Holl's work; Tschumi is (ironically) a decent theorist especially when he writes about pleasure and its decadence relative to architecture; Hejduk is above all a poetic and artistic architect; and Koolhaas in his writings (which are very readable and easily comprehended) is insightfully observant in his scope of the current (global) situation of the built environment, and his buildings/designs well reflect "modernism" at one of its furthest points of evolution thus far.
If I were to offer any advise to architects regarding theory (and/or philosophy) it is that open-mindedness and understanding presents an extremely broad path of exploration and discovery, whereas close-mindedness is often a sign of small-mindedness. That said, I found the essays/theories within Architecture of the Everyday the most refreshing (and insightful and meaningful) of my recent readings. The essays within The Architect: Reconstructing Her Practice were also poignant, however, I must admit I am not yet in total understanding of all that is related therein. Finally, I found much within Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture faded with age--many of the architectural theories from the latter part of the 20th century appear to be of their time, but not much beyond it.

1999.05.24 22:25
interview 2.1a
I wish I could remember what my first architecture thought was. The best my memory banks can come up with was when I was about three years old my mother demonstrated a particularly imaginative (re)use of cardboard packaging items turning them into a house.It was a great mind spark because I suddenly saw that things could represent something other than what they were. That may have been my first jump start out of stupidity.

1999.06.24 21:17
research as design-talk?
Perhaps sometime in the future all architects will come to realize that software which is "customization-friendly" is more valuable than software that is "user-friendly".

1999.08.24 16:37
The rape of the Sabine women
Plutarch tells us (I believe within the Life of Romulus--it's years since I read it) that the bridal tradition of the husband carrying the bride over the threshold stems from the rape of the Sabines.
Now there's an example of putting a favorable spin on something otherwise not the best of circumstances.
Furthermore, I find it interesting that Roman's held virgins in such high regard, to the point that to kill a virgin was one of the greatest offenses one could perform, hence raping a virgin prior to killing her became the loophole (so to speak).
The execution of St. Agnes, a young Roman Christian girl who refused marriage, was proceeded by her being sent to a brothel (the legendary location of which is St. Agnes on the Piazza Navona). Agnes, however, was protected there by an angel. The ultimate execution of Agnes sent shockwaves through Rome precisely because those in power publicly killed a virgin. Many Romans were so outraged that they then actually converted to Christianity. [Or so the story goes.]

1999.11.11 10:38
Kahn as anti-modernist
From what I remember, one of the Kahn buildings analyzed in McBride's article is the AFL Medical Service Plan Building 1954-56. Unfortunately, this building was demolished in 1973, and doubly unfortunate because the building was indeed unusual in terms of how we remember Kahn's work. Looking at photographs of the building now, it appears latter-day 1990s--kind of Koolhaas, kind of Herzog & de Meuron--but pure Kahn (of the 1950s) nonetheless. The AFL building is a little after Kahn's Yale Art Gallery (1950-53), but seems prescient of Kahn's Yale Center for British Art (1969-74) (across the street from the Yale Art Gallery).
Maybe Kahn as anti-modern really means that Kahn was (as is often the case) ahead of his time.
Kahn's AFL Medical Service Plan Building was in Philadelphia, on the south side of the 1300 block of Vine Street.

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.

metabolic (modern revolution)
Rick wrote:
And as they would have it, they are taking on the foremost thesis of the Modern Age. It is Revolution, and without it, as everyone knows, there may be nothing we might call, Modernism. All else is up for sale in the modernist grab bag of pseudo principles, but not Revolution. And so dedicated to it is the modernist manifesto, that it enters into a suicide pact.
What I'm referring to, of course, is Hegel's wise interpretation of the primary character of Modernism: Thesis + Antithesis = Synthesis. For it is by the credo of the antithesis that Modernism attacks the status quo, knowing full well that success will spell out its own demise. For success means achievement of the synthesis, wherein the antithesis must necessarily be destroyed. Its the old saying, The first thing the revolution does is try to protect itself from the next revolution (meaning the next event of synthesis). By its own success, the antithesis becomes the status quo, etc. etc.
Steve replies and then asks:
The notion of "thesis + antithesis = synthesis" reenacts almost exactly the physiological operation of metabolism [i.e., the sum of the processes concerned in the building up of protoplasm and its destruction coincidental to life : the chemical changes in living cells by which energy is provided for the vital processes and activities and new material is assimilated to repair the waste -- see ANABOLISM and CATABOLISM]. Metabolism is a creative /destructive duality, perhaps even the foremost and profoundest duality OF humanity. Anabolism is constructive metabolism, whereas catabolism is destructive metabolism [involving release of energy and resulting in true excretion products although new substances may be formed in metabolic processes that are mainly catabolic].
Because metabolism is of a higher reality than revolution, perhaps the 'Hegalian' notion of revolution and the subsequent interpretation that ultimately synthesis equals an ongoing parade of antithesis destroying a prior antithesis are not precise enough. The real equation seems to be that thesis + antithesis = antithesis + thesis = thesis + antithesis = (continuation of the pattern) -- wave[length]s. In metabolism, anabolism and catabolism work in conjunction as opposed to destroying each other or one destroying the other, and the real key (to understanding) here is that albeit destructive, catabolism 'creates' the energy that further enables the creative/destructive process.
Is revolution nothing more than humanity's reenactment in imagination and deed of one of the human body's basic physiologies?
Is Modernism a revolution, or is Modernism a realization of how humanity's (modern) creations operate?

2000.02.23 18:43
Re: measure of intellectuality
Mark inguires:
For me, the test of this -- quite unanswerable -- question is whether Lewis Mumford could begin the same career today that he began in the 1920s. Would a trade house publish his work? On the same topics? At the same exhaustive length? I think not.
Steve replies:
While Mark may be correct about a trade house not publishing Mumford today, that is not to say that a "Mumford" today in the 00s couldn't get his/her word out there. There is global self-publishing now-a-days--it's called using the internet.
Does a text have to be published by a traditional publishing house in order for it to be valid? Must (or even should) new or exhaustive ideas necessarily be under an editor's scrutiny?
Just a few years ago, a PhD architectural historian friend of mine told me how it was unanimously decided by the architectural historical establishment (i.e., universities) that self-publishing via the internet does not count toward academic(ly required) publishing. Of course, it is firmly engrained in(to) us that standards must be maintained (and only the university establishment knows what those standards are). On the other hand, it would be foolish for universities not to take this stance, because thier entire system would otherwise be in enormous jeopardy. (And no doubt all standards would decline to the extreme worst, wouldn't they?)
After all, it is about maintaining CONTROL of the code, as opposed to "hacking and cracking" the code.

2000.03.21 17:26
architectural lacunae
architectural lacunae :
blank architectural spaces : architectural gaps, architectural holes : missing parts of architecture : architectural defects, architectural flaws
architectural blank spaces : gap architecture, hole architecture : architecture's missing parts : defect architecture, flaw architecture
"The professor's lecture on architectural lacunae harbored critical lacunae itself."

2000.03.24 08:14
(several) architects employed
from: Dr. Michael Petzet, "Ludwig and the Arts" in Wilfred Blunt, The Dream King, p. 232.
"...[the] (Gesamptkunstwerk) of Neuschwanstein, whose exterior was first designed, not by a historical painter, but by a scene painter, Christian Jank. This total work of art, created by a host of artists and craftmen under the direction of the architect Eduard Riedel, his successors George Dollmann (after 1874), and Julius Hofmann (after 1884), is based on imaginary stage-settings for Wagner's opera which interested the King."
In the case of Neuschwanstein, what we see today is more the work of the architects than that of Jank. Most of the interior, moreover, is the design of Hoffman.
Ludwig's other "castles", Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee, are designed almost entirely by one and/or the other architects listed above. Architect Julius Hoffmann, by all accounts, was a particularly gifted designer and draftsman--prior to working for Ludwig, he was was in Central America working on converting the "town hall of Mexico City into a residential palace for the future Emperor."
Ludwig also employed a number of landscape gardeners.
" no way did he [Ludwig] ruin the State Treasury by his undertakings, as is often alledged, but paid everything out of his own private purse."
Ludwig was 23 years old when the foundation stone of Neuschwanstein was laid.



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