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1998.12.02 11:20
Re: def: AutoCAD Architecture
With regard to "flatness", take a look at Louis Kahn's first independent building commission - Ahavath Israel Synagogue, Philadelphia, 1935. My point being that "flatness" is an architectural aesthetic with a long history and very much independent of CAD. There are also some Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates buildings that absolutley revel in their flatness, e.g., any of the 1980s and 1990s university laboratory buildings. I also suggest you read you read Tom Wolfe's The Painted Word, within which you will find an analysis of the flatness of 1960s POP art.

1999.01.31 11:27
Re: archi-tech, CAD History, tool making
Steve wrote:
It may not seem so obvious, but it is probably more true that the way we think influences they way we use tools.
John wrote:
Thats an interesting thought, and an interesting area of cognition in general, and very hard for me to get a quantitative handle on - not being a psychologist. The adage I see as most often applicabile though is 'the man/woman with a hammer sees the world as a nail' ...
Steve writes:
Getting a quantitative handle on "the way we think influences they way we use tools" is as simple as grasping the grammatical different between active voice and passive voice. Anyone taking a passive position with regard to (for example) CAD, i.e., to be acted upon by CAD, will by default see CAD influencing their thinking. Conversely, anyone taking an active position with regard to CAD, i.e., acting upon CAD, will thereby see their thinking influence the way they use CAD.
I can't help but also think that many intelligent architects are unfortunately (academically?) conditioned into following a passive position toward CAD as well as towards "interdisciplinary-ism" -- hence your own reluctance to (self) critically ponder areas of cognition because you are not a psychologist. Furthermore, I see one's own thinking influencing the way one uses tools as an essential feature of the creative/artistic process.
As an aside, anyone who thinks that the use of computers and CAD destroys the potential for creativity is plainly being ignorant, probably inexperienced, and overall foolish.
ps Whenever I have a hammer in my hand, I see the world as glass!

1999.04.16 10:07
test (poem?) by whomever
[architecture as interface comes with the architecture of schizophrenic interfacing...]

Re: the Agonalia
T. raises one of the (religious) ambiguities that may always surrounded Constantine. I have read some reference to the popular worship of Mithra (spelling? - an eastern sun cult I believe) during Constantine's time. For example, while Constantine was one of the junior emporers ruling from Trier over Gaul, Britian and Spain, the overall political crises engendered by the usurpative Maxentius in Rome brought together the retired emperors of Diocletian, Maximian (Maxentius' father) and Galarius (eastern Augustus) for a meeting near Vienna. There is some existent inscription relating to that meeting suggesting that offerings to Mithra were made. I don't think that Constantine was at that meeting, however.
My feeling is that both Constantine and Helena were very interested in Chistianity, and perhaps believers, before Constantine's vision in 312. If they were, however, they had to keep it very much to themselves. The retired emperor Maximian, who resided within Constantine's court in Trier (c. 308-311) was an ardent persecutor of the Christians while he co-reigned with Diocletian. One has to look carefully at Constantine's early political position as emperor to see that it was precarious, and professing even a tolerance of Christianity before his position became stable might well have been political, if not literal suicide.
Personally, the more I research this particular history, the more facinating it becomes. For example, check out the uncanny family relations between Constantine and Maximian, and you will realize that none of the Constantine-Helena story is easy.
ps     Constantine "practiced" Christianity as of 312, but was not baptized until a few days before his death in 337. Constantine's remaining an unbaptized Christian for most of his life is precisely the issue that raises all the ambiguity surrounding his "faith".

1999.06.24 21:41
german tragic drama?
Has anyone on this list ever read Walter Benjamin's (1924-25) The Origin of German Tragic Drama?
I just started reading it yesterday (so far I've finished the "Epistimo-Critical Prologue").
I'm interested in what others here think about this work.
For those Deleuze fans on this list, it might interest you that Benjamin notes/references Leibniz's notion of monads. This seems to make sense since German tragic drama comes from the baroque era.
E.g., from the Prologue:
"The tendency of all philosophical conceptualization is thus redefined in the old sense: to establish the becoming of phenomena in their being. For in the science of philosophy the concept of being is not satisfied by the phenomenon until it has absorbed all its history. In such investigations this historical perspective can be extended, into the past or the future, without being subject to any limits of principle. This gives the idea its total scope. And its structure is a monadological one, imposed by totality in contrast to its own inalienable isolation. The idea is a monad. . . . "
Anyone here able to or care to explain 'monad'?

1999.08.26 09:53
Re: empire of light
...scale, which today often goes unrecognized and/or accessed (however, Koolhass via SMLXL has certainly brought the scale issue to contemporary attention, and, of course, Venturi et al have paid close attention to the often overlooked obviousness of comparative architecture scale earlier). We are more used to thinking of scale in terms of physical magnitude/size, and indeed comparative analysis of such scale in architecture (e.g. seeing varieties of building plans at the same scale) is most times revealing of a architectural "dimension" not normally taken notice of. Scale can be a good theme to follow when comparing architecture...

1999.11.29 07:28
Problems Opening Email
In The Wizard of Oz book, everyone in the Emerald City was required to wear emerald tinted glasses. This has many poignant implications which are not present in the movie.

Saarinen, Kahn and the Use of History
The other place in Rome that opened my eyes was the spiral entry ramp of the Vatican Museum. How come no one ever acknowledges that that spiral ramp and the skylight above it is exactly what Frank Lloyd Wright copied (or should I be kind and say reenacted?) when he did the Guggenheim Museum on 5th Avenue? Wright's Guggenheim is certainly creative, but it is not all that original.
What I like best so far about investigating reenactment in architecture, it the search for origins, that which is being reenacted, because it's in the origins that true originality resides. Kahn himself said he wished he could write 'Volume 0'. I'm not going to say that I too want to write 'Volume 0', but I do have real faith in its existence.

2000.02.15 18:27
Re: Theory of Theories
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 20:15
Re: measure of intellectuality
When I asked:
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?
I was not asking rhetorical questions. I'm genuinely interested in how others would answer these questions.
Yes, making money for ones work is the way of the capitalist world, but is making the money more important than the dissemination of ideas, meaning if someone has an idea, but there isn't an immediatly evident way to make money 'with' the idea, is the idea then 'literally' worthless?
So making money is then the controlling factor?
Noting that Mumford was not strictly speaking an academic, makes me think that he would most likely NOT get published today.

2000.03.21 15:42
Re: Theory/negative+positive
Over the last several months, the notion of artist's/architect's intentions have consistently been given a very high 'value' with regard to how a critic can and should legitimately critique a work of art/architecture.
Yet, for the most part, whenever a lister posts something here at architecthetics, and then another lister responds to or interpretes the prior post, rarely does the respondee ask what the initial poster intended or whether their (the respondee's) interpretation comes close to the initial intention.
For all the talk of valuing intentions, there nonetheless still seems to be a lot of assuming going on.
I've written enough here at architecthetics for there to be a somewhat full picture of me in terms of what my interests are and what my "style" is, but do any of you really know what my intentions are?

2000.03.24 15:26
subliminal (philosophical) reenactments
It just occurred to me that the notion of reenactment is an integral part of Western philosophy's very beginnings. Without being explicit about it, Plato nonetheless exercised reenactment in many of his texts. Of course, I'm referring to the Socratic dialogues first, the cave second.
Every ten years, the whole town of Oberammergau, Bavaria reenacts Christ's last week in Jerusalem, commonly known at the Passion Plays. This tradition has been an integral part of Oberammergau since the end of the Black Plague. Neuschwanstein and Linderhof are each just several miles from Oberammergau.
And how about all the reenacting the Pope's been passionately doing this week? What with reenacting Moses, Christ, and most interestingly, St. Helena.

2000.04.04 20:39
rammed into an envelope
John Young wrote:
What is peculiar to me is the conviction that the visual in architecture should not evolve from the full implementation of its attributes, not as an envelope into which these attributes should be rammed.
Gregory Wharton wrote:
Well said. This puzzles the hell out of me, too.
Van Varga wrote:
Probably puzzles most of us. Architecture to non architects (most people) is just another expression of fashion. (snip)
Steve Lauf suggests:
Is not the 'architecture' of the human body an envelope rammed full of 'attributes' that DO NOT show their 'implementation' on the outside? For example, breasts with nipples hardly reflect either the lungs or the pumping heart inside, likewise the one-piece torso offers little 'superficial' indication of two cavities inside. And further, isn't the sublime singularity of the navel very much like the exact opposite of the twisting, turning, asymmetrical intestines just inside? [And just think how literally close the activities within barber shops and beauty parlors come to the activities inside the brain, yet who would dare say that these two activities share the same "function"?]
Perhaps the 'popularity' of liking the 'mechanical' out of sight is really only a reflection of simply being human.
Personally, it's no puzzle to me.



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