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The Philadelphia School, deterritorialized

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2006.03.29 18:25
Depth
...Venturi may too have seen "that a characteristic of modern architecture, is a move away from depth" and thus worked to exploit that very aspect in his designs. Venturi may too have been inspired by the contemporary architecture being built in Rome while he was at the American Academy in the early 1950s.
One could also say that Kahn earlier introduced "depth" via volumetric geometrics and the "cut-outs" thereof, which, for a while, influenced Venturi and later Matta-Clark.


2006.03.29 20:39
Questions about Typography of Architecture
The second set of CAD CDs I produced were for a project by Carles Vallhonrat (he was the project architect for Kahn's Salk Institute) and he very much sought to work within the CAD drawing aesthetic which ultimately were meshed with the CD drawing standards he set years earlier for the CDs of Salk Institute. There is no doubt in my mind that that was a rare exercise/experience in 1984. I was most glad that he complied with my wish to "print" the drawings at 11" x 17", thus using the electrostatic printer (as opposed to the pen plotter) and then the xerox machine for copies instead of the "blue print" machine.


2006.05.10 19:26
Depth
Louis I. Kahn, Yale University Art Gallery, 1951-53.
Louis I Kahn and Anne Tyng, City Tower Project, 1952-57.
The geometric studies of Kahn and Tyng from 1951 to 1957 may have a strong bearing on "depth" as per the initial post/query of this thread.
Louis I. Kahn, Jewish Community Center (Trenton Bath House), 1954-59.
Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky, Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal, written 1955-56.
Louis I. Kahn, Salk Institute for Biological Studies (Meeting House with volumetric cutouts, 1961), 1959-65.
Colin Rown and Robert Slutzky, Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal. first published in Perspecta, 1963.


2007.01.17 14:17
Minimalism in Architecture
The notion of concealment reminds me of a few things:
"Ornament is the adoration of the joint" It's safe to say that this quotation had a lasting persuasive effect on my aesthetic.


2007.02.18 18:18
what is today's movement?
Look at the architecture of Mies, Le Corbusier (especially the late works), and Kahn (especially the early works), and there's a lot of contemporary architecture reenacting all that.

2007.02.23
ideas
Piranesi, Kahn, Hejduk--and more architect combinations.


2007.07.12 11:06
Sarcastic Architecture
...you're misrepresenting when you say V, SB and Izenour were "excluded from the High Modernist cocktail party" and therefore bitter. Venturi a Rome Prize recipient, Complexity and Contradiction coming out of MoMA, V and SB teaching at Penn and Yale, Learning from Las Vegas coming out of Yale. I'd say they were definitely guests at the "cocktail" party. The exclusion, you could say, came after Learning from Las Vegas was published (thus no bitterness before the publication, as you imply).
I did begin to re-read Part II of Learning from Las Vegas last night, and I agree that sarcasm isn't really the modus operandi. It may be too hard now-a-days to recognize the "Pop" sensibility of the critique--the whole mixture of high art and low art which was then something like sacrilege. Plus, the "in your face" stance (i.e., naming names rather than remaining cautiously abstract) was "just not supposed to be done."
For sure there is much taunting and ridicule within "the ugly and the ordinary," as there is always taunting and ridicule whenever an orthodoxy is questioned and critiqued, but the task was accomplished without much sarcasm at all.
...you and others may well see sarcasm as an effect of "the ugly and the ordinary" critique, and I concur that that is one fair interpretation, but there is very little sarcasm within the actual text itself.
It's probably also fair to say that most people that saw Venturi and Rauch's entry at Roma Interrotta saw sarcasm as well. But was "Pop" sensibility too often just confused for sarcasm? Does "Andy W" suggest more Andy Warhol rather than Andy Williams? Does Lennon suggest more John Lennon than the Lennon Sisters?


2007.07.31 11:36
Learning from Las Vegas + SMLXL = Dubai

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2007.08.20 22:33
thesis... phenomenology
Did Le Corbusier and Venturi "act as if their building is a proof of their ideas?"
I'd say they practiced their theories, but they didn't necessarily set out to prove their theories. Also, Le Corbusier and Venturi mostly presented their theories together with a presentation of their built and unbuilt work.


2007.08.22 20:04
Name that Architect and Building!!!
...that building looks very reminisent of some school building Giurgola did in Italy in the early 1980s.


2007.10.14 17:52
Negative notes
"In Modern architecture we have operated too long under the restrictions of unbending rectangular forms supposed to have grown out of the technical requirements of the frame and the mass-produced curtain wall. In contrasting Mies' and Johnson's Seagram Building with Kahn's project for an office tower in Philadelphia it can be seen that Mies and Johnson reject all contradictions of diagonal wind-bracing in favor of an expression of a rectilinear frame. Kahn once said that the Seagram Building was like a beautiful lady with hidden corsets. Kahn, in contrast, expresses the wind-bracing--but at an expense of such vertical elements as the elevator and, indeed of the spaces for people."
--Robert Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (New York, MoMA, 1966), p. 56.
"Yet in City Tower, Kahn no more succeeded in making strides in architectural structure than he had in the Art Gallery at Yale. He erroneously discussed the project in tectonics terms, justifying City Tower's form by arguing that it best expressed buttressing against wind stresses: "The mind envisions a construction of a building growing from a base crossing its members as it rises against the forces of the wind." Yet neither Tyng nor Kahn checked their wind-stress argument with a structural engineer, who would have told them that because of the forces of gravity, a tower rising in a more-or-less straight vertical is dramatically more efficient."
--Sarah Williams Goldhagen, Louis Kahn's Situated Modernism (New Haven, Yale University Press, 2001), p. 78.
"Yes, architects sometimes used to make stuff up just to justify (the shape) their designs."
"What do you mean 'used to'?"


2007.10.28 09:16
Cartoon (Sub)Urbanism
The McDonald's is by Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates, 1996.


2008.05.02 18:25
the state of drawing in education
Given that Kahn actually answered his own question of the brick, i.e., a brick wants to be an arch, the greater implication of the question then is one of finding the brick's fuller potential, indeed to strive going well beyond the inbuilt tendencies. If I remember correctly, the notion of striving toward fulfilling potential is part of Aristotelian philosophy, isn't it?

2008.05.15 08:17
Now try taking it to court.
For the record:
"The duck is the special building that is a symbol; the decorated shed is the conventional shelter that applies symbols. We maintain that both types of architecture are valid--Chartres is a duck (although it is a decorated shed as well), and the Palazzo Farnese is a decorated shed--but we think that the duck is seldom relevant today, although it pervades Modern architecture."
--Learning from Las Vegas, four years after 1968.
Perhaps the case today is that the duck has become (via media) more relevant (to society), and the decorated shed has become more (true to form) ephemeral. I maintain that both these types of architecture are valid.


2008.05.16 10:29
Now try taking it to court.
"The late period of artists is often under-rated. Picasso's Late Period was mostly disliked while he was alive--seen as repetitious and unimportant. Yet with Picasso dead, the late works were not so unimportant anymore, in fact they manifest one of Picasso's most creative periods.
Frank Gehry may be in a wonderful position if he continues to do architecture for another decade or so, because, when he isn't around anymore, his late works might just manifest his most creative period.
I like to look at and study the late periods of artists because of all the facile-ness and confidence and even (if you're lucky) the "I don't give a fuck" found there.
Philip Johnson produced an interesting late period, and he did change 'styles' with every new project, yet his overall style has always been reenactionary architecturism."
Rita Novel, 2005.08.23
If lateness does contain the possibilities of a new future paradigm, then I certainly hope the new paradigm is facile, confident and without giving a fuck. [Personally, I'm already moving from my early don't-give-a-fuck style to my high don't-give-a-fuck style, and God only knows what my late don't-give-a-fuck style is going to be like.
"Frankly, Stella, I don't give a damn."
I see a lot of late Le Corbusier meets universal Mies van der Rohe meets early planning Louis I. Kahn in the work of OMA, etc. Just one recent example: look at Kahn's Midtown [Philadelphia] Development (1956-57) and OMA's Quartier des Halles Urban Development Study (2003-04). And every time I now see Kahn's AFL-CIO Medical Services Center, I immediately also think of Herzog & de Meuron. There's a lot of mostly untapped inspiration within the unbuilt and lesser known architectural designs of the 20th century.
Does the science of recombinant genetics and even cloning harbor a new paradigm for architecture? Like the science, I think it's already happening within architecture, but, also like the with the science, it's a paradigm that many would rather deny.


2008.05.17 16:06
The Official Paradigm Shift thread
"But here is my attempt at a definition of mannerism in architecture appropriate to now:
Mannerism as Convention Tweaked--or as Modified Convention Acknowledging Ambiguity. Mannerism for architecture of our time that acknowledges conventional order rather than original expression but breaks the conventional order to accommodate complexity and contradiction and thereby engages ambiguity unambiguously. Mannerism as complexity and contradiction applied to convention--as acknowledging a conventional order that is then modified or broken to accommodate valid exceptions and acknowledge unambiguous ambiguities for an evolving era of complexity and contradiction--rather than acknowledge no order or acknowledging a totality of exceptions or acknowledging a new order so as to be original."
--Robert Venturi, Architecture as Signs and Systems, pp. 74-5.
"...I would add that you break the rules because you can't follow all the rules of all the systems all the time, or at the same time. For one thing, some will be in conflict.
So conflict between systems is a condition that evokes Mannerism."
--Denise Scott Brown, Architecture as Signs and Systems, p. 212.
(I'll have to admit limited knowledge/experience on this, but...)
Is not a primary aspect of designing via algorithmic diagramming one where "tweaks" to the program are continually accommodated throughout the entire program, thus the endproduct never exhibits stand-out exceptions, but rather exceptions that are "massaged-in", thus the endproduct is a continuum overall, and ambiguity in never even present?
Is "ambiguous algorithm" an oxymoron?
How might a mannered algorithm function?
Can algorithms treat ambiguity unambiguously?
What (mostly) Venturi describes as mannerism in architecture may well be that aspect of designing that artificial intelligence can never quite achieve.

2008.06.01 11:07
Can you say canonical?
"In this painstaking analysis of an apparent architectural syntax, the author offers a fresh interpretation of one of the canonical works of the Brutalist movement--the Stirling and Gowan Leicester Engineering Building, completed in 1963. Responding independently to one aspect of a theme broached by Manfredo Tafuri in Oppositions 3, Eisenman attempts to uncover the precise manner in which Stirling has rewritten the "words" of modern architecture."
--Kenneth Frampton, an introduction to "Real and English: The Destruction of the Box. I." (1974).
The article was first presented in lecture form at Cooper Union in the spring of 1973 and again at Yale during the spring of 1974.
"The thrust of the argument below will be that the Leicester Engineering Building invokes a similar critical and thus, polemical, intention as Venturi, but does so in a different and perhaps less traditional manner--by distorting the form of the iconic structure as opposed to perverting the form of the iconic content, as in the case with Venturi."
"Much of the work of Louis Kahn, which proposes a classical alternative to a modern eclecticism, can surely be seen..."
"...and more recently in the wall decompositions of John Hejduk, destroys it conceptually."
"Real and English: The Destruction of the Box. I" was a (personal) inspirational motivator for a fourth year design (taken through to working drawings) project, Fall 1979. None of the faculty "got" the design--it was like Leicester Engineering meets Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. Hyper Avant. Very distorted iconic structure fucks with perverted iconic content.


2008.08.12 16:18
Adam (sans Eve) in the Garden of Satire
P. and I shared lunch. We ate in the Colosseum (got there by subway). It's a great place for a picnic. Full of Kahn and Moore references, otherwise just as expected, except didn't expect lots of Japanese tourists.
Tried my first sketch and found I can't do it for shit. This is going to be one hell of an architecture tour. J.P. can sketch great and it makes me sick. He does it so easily and finishes in no time. The Forum is where I really found out I couldn't sketch. Everything I draw looks so fucking shitty. I'll never get through the requirements, and I hate to think that people are going to ask to see the sketches back home. It will be very embarrassing. We ended our tour on the Palatine Hill in the Palace of the Caesars. The masonry structure was incredible. I want to go back alone and study it more.
J.P. and I started to get into all the structure. I was surprised to see how much he really didn't know. I made a couple of references to Kahn and I think he was offended. It's obvious Kahn took a great deal from the architecture of ancient Rome. [Kahn's work in] India doesn't seem all that great anymore; the ruins are better.


2009.08.16 12:01
Postmodernism sucks... discuss
...where we see Postmodern architecture related to the growing trend of realism in film (including cinematic pornography). Not exactly a parallel development, but more where realism in films opened up designers/architect's minds to a more realistic approach to designing buildings/environments. Prior to realism, most films were an adapted form of theater/stage production. Realism in film presented 'real' situations within 'real' settings. [Yes, there is the omnipresent irony of films themselves not being real to begin with.]
Outside the stage directions of the Modern Movement there is the quickly found serendipity of everyday living/experience, and this realm of no clear rules beyond the immediate context of the situation made it easy for (what Portoghesi called) 'the end of prohibitionism'.
Postmodern architecture would not have happened without a certain frame of mind, and that frame of mind was becoming more and more prevalent within films of the later 1960s and 1970s.
Strictly within architecture itself, Scully, in 'How things got to be the way they are now', finds the genesis of Postmodern architecture with Kahn and Kahn's Beaux Arts education and Roman-ness [wrapped together via Piranesi's plan of the Campo Marzio].
It seems worth noting that the two most significant architects to come out of the 'Strada Novissima' are Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas/OMA.

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