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2007.01.16 20:11
Minimalism in Architecture
And, to answer you're question, I believe Loos made a virtual moral argument about architecture.
And regarding "any particular imperative," I don't see you advocating an imperative (toward minimalism), rather, I see that there is no such thing as an imperative toward any aesthetic, i.e., outside of the virtual realm, there is no such thing as an ethical imperative toward any aesthetic to begin with.
What is there to learn from Loos's architecture without his aesthetical ethics? Gosh, I hope the answer isn't, "Not much."


2007.01.19 15:31
here's another Mies-runs-through-it design by OMA
mies wrapped around a factory

What's next? Kahn wrapped around Le Corbusier?
Koolhaas is so reenactionary. I love it!


2007.02.04 18:27
political architects
Eutropia, Helena, and Constantine
They did a lot more than dabble; their architecture and urbanism shifted the whole paradigm of the Roman Empire.


2007.03.10 20:42
...and speaking of random tangents
"In the summer of 1800, when the architect was away on his wedding trip, [John] Barber absconded, taking with him a considerable sum of money and all the most valuable office and personal papers."
--Hamlin
And the John Barber Award for Architectural Deviance goes too...


2007.03.11 13:54
...and speaking of random tangents
So there I was, sometime in the January summer of 1987, walking through the deserted Capitol Building. The new Capitol was almost ready, but they still have to straighten the giant slanting flagpole erected the day before. Went through both Houses, and even sat in the Monarch's chair. And then, while looking at all the Prime Minister portraits hanging in the Central Hall, I leaned against this vitrine back in the corner. So what's this big, old document? "Hey guys, get a load of this. It's the Magna Carta!"
Australia's a trip.
Is the Atheneum an unacknowledged(?) precursor of Deconstructionist architecture? Walked through every inch of that place sometime the middle of July summer of 1978. It was a Friday, construction almost done, and the place was deserted. Very attractive building. Gorgeous blue sky day.
Guess who wrote "Bizarre experiments are now a commonplace of scientific research."
[And speaking of commonplace bizarre experiments:]
"Only if virtual evolution can be used to explore a space rich enough so that all the possibilities cannot be considered in advance by the designer, only if what results shocks or at least surprises, can genetic algorithms be considered useful visualization tools."
--de Landa
You know, if a client came to me an asked for a rich space that would shock or at least surprise them, I certainly wouldn't need a genetic algorithm to accomplish the task.
Do you think I should donate my genetic code to science? I mean, what if they find it's totally random and completely tangential?!?

2007.03.26 11:56
...and speaking of random tangents
"The history of architecture is replete with successful projects that are the result of novelity found within false history and, more recently, outmoded science.
Historian Rudolf Wittkower, in Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism, gives as an example Andrea Palladio's historical error attributing superimposed pediments to the Pantheon giving erroneous historical legitimacy to his unsurpassed Venetian churches."
--Reiser + Umemoto, Atlas of Novel Tectonics, p. 170.
Go read pages 89 to 97 of Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism to see what examples Wittkower really gave.
Do you think Reiser + Umemoto purposefully wrote historical error within their passage about historical error in order to more strongly make the point about the modus operandi of historical error in design itself?



2007.04.09 18:24
evolutionary architecture?
Stirling's evolutionary theory of architecture.
Perhaps what today's architects are really good at is designing buildings that evolve right into extinction.


2007.04.09 18:44
3DH Gallery
The 3-dimensional grid has been an implicit architectural/structural design tool pretty much since architecture began.
Yes, Guggenheim Bilbao came in on budget, but that doesn't erase the fact that is was an extremely expensive building as well.
When it comes to optimal (economical) square foot usage, stricter adherence to the grid still wins out.
Architectural design is not structure alone.

2007.04.09 18:54
evolutionary architecture?
No, extinction means extinction, as in evenually not there anymore.
And, one could well say that Stirling practiced architectural design as an ongoing development of architecture's very historical DNA code.
Perhaps the environment and users now-a-days evolve a lot quicker than building ever could.
It seems to me that the more specifically designed a building is (and even buildings specifically designed to change over time), the quicker those building become obsolete.


2007.04.09 20:29
evolutionary architecture?
The interior of the simple loft building can be just as easily changed.
I forget where, but I read how the Theater of Marcellus has been renovated into multi-story apartments like over a thousand years ago.
Obsolete-ness is gauged by time endurance. I'd say any building that lasts over several centuries has a low obsolete factor. And buildings that last less than a half century have a high obsolete factor. (Planned obsolescence is a whole other (artificial) story.)
Also, the obsolescence of a building's function does not necessarily make the building itself also obsolete (as a sheltering structure). That is, of course, unless the building is designed only for a highly specific function. Moreover, buildings with great space(s) and structure(s) to begin with usually last longer too.
I think Vanbrugh is my first favorite English architect (although I'm just now learning of Latrobe's English work).


2007.04.09 23:29
3DH Gallery
The idea of this system was developed in 1637 in two writings by Descartes. In part two of his Discourse on Method Descartes introduces the new idea of specifying the position of a point or object on a surface, using two intersecting axes as measuring guides. In La Géométrie, he further explores the above-mentioned concepts. --wikipedia
So let me rephrase...
The xyz coordinate system is not necessarily the same thing as Cartesian rationalism.
Interestingly...
The work, La Géométrie, was responsible for introducing the Cartesian coordinate system, which is a mathematical graph in which x is the horizontal line and y is the vertical line, and in which the positive numbers on the x line are on the right and the negative numbers on the left, and the positive numbers on the y line are on the top and the negative numbers are on the bottom, and specifically discussed the representation of points of a plane, via real numbers; and the representation of curves, via equations. --wikipedia
So the system was not so much a rational cage, rather a method to represent curves?!


2007.04.20 18:27
Featured Discussion: Volume
Because education is today an expensive commodity, and because magazines are at best advertising mediums and because architects are now seeking to commodify their research (abilities), I thought of Leon Krier's "The Consumption of Culture" in Oppositions /14 (1979).
first sentence:
"When the French Revolution ended with the political victory of the bourgeoisie, education, which had been the priviledge of a small class, became compulsory for every member of the new social order.
somewhere in the middle sentence:
"Kitsch must then be identified as the most important cultural phenomenon of the industrial age, as the real Zeitgeist of the machine age.
last sentence:
"In that perspective, the self-destruction of humanity becomes obviously a moment of relief, relief from the urgency, ugliness, and futile agony.

2007.05.10 11:39
your favorite quote
"History has a way of interpolating itself."
-Stephen Lauf 2007.05.10


2007.06.22 15:03
Anti-Starchitecture Chic
Haven't you heard, Zeitgeist is so yesterday!


2007.06.23 11:33
Anti-Starchitecture Chic
There is a lot of structural and spatial and design innovation going on that makes 'signature buildings' more than only a commercial backdrop. Many 'signature buildings' actually make significant contributions to architectural history. Perhaps a more real issue it that the distinction betweeen hype and history is completely ignored to the point where the hype is what becomes a much distorted history.


2007.06.24 14:10
Anti-Starchitecture Chic
Funny how the lion's share of great architecture was created before there even was a camera with film.
My favorite line from Mann's Joseph and His Brothers comes almost at the very end--"They used their own lenses."
Maybe I'm rare, but the top of the list of my preferred architectural representation has always been the ichnographia, the plan view, and the photographic image almost always at the bottom of the list, except when it's fucked by context--site of street shooting a day or two after the theaters here were opened.
Has the preferred photographic architectural image really only blinded "us" to the actual relativity of it all.


2007.07.05
chronological architectural history
I really liked the contrasts within the 18th century...
Don't forget the University Prints pdf.


2007.07.11 16:45
Verb: Featured Discussion
Is it all still pretty operative criticism?
Perhaps architectural criticism needs to begin operating differently where:
some criticisms are extreme™
some criticisms are fertile™
some criticisms are pregnant™
some criticisms are assimilating™
some criticisms are metabolic™
some criticisms are osmotic™
some criticisms are electro-magnetic™
some criticisms are total frequency™
But maybe that will only happen when (we begin to realize that):
some architectures are extreme™
some architectures are fertile™
some architectures are pregnant™
some architectures are assimilating™
some architectures are metabolic™
some architectures are osmotic™
some architectures are electro-magnetic™
some architectures are total frequency™

2007.07.12 09:29
Sarcastic Architecture
Is sarcasm more of a dark comedy? (I always thought so.)
Is seminal post-modern pastiche also sarcastic? I suppose it did taunt establishment Modernism keenly (and perhaps even somewhat bitterly?). Although one could say establishment Modernism became much more embittered because of it.

The D+S example above intrigues me the most. It is indeed taunting and you can almost taste the bitterness. (Not exactly architecture though.)
Perhaps Rossi haunts more than taunts.
Does any sarcastic architecture wound feelings? The Eisenman West Avenue proposal (next to Ground Zero) seems to have that potential.
Has Koolhaas (subliminally?) made a whole career out of taunting and bitterness?



2007.07.12 11:06
Sarcastic Architecture
765, 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, Learming 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 with kablakistan in 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.
765, 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?

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