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2003.10.05 14:47
Re: the McMansion Effect ((space))
Re: test (poem?) by whomevers
date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 07:44:29
[architecture as interface comes with the architecture of schizophrenic interfacing...]
[buildings constantly move, doors can be windows, windows can be doors, stairs to Pilate are climbed annually on knees, walls may soon all talk, floors will mostly remain flat, ceilings with sprinklers are virtual skies that harbor emergency rain, roofs probably more than anything manifest architecture's shape, lights, camera, Africa, machines to create architecture with, furniture and painting as one, utilities that never fail (sic), plants, of course, grass gets high, sidewalk, siderun, sidecrawl, sidesit, sideroll-over, driveway complete with Jeep, garage sale as museum,..]
2003.10.05
..and then there's all the stuff that is now created and stored digitally, which sometimes gets put in digital museums.
Are the large homes and all their contents of today something like subliminal evocations of museums? "A man's home is his castle." And just look at how many actual castles and palaces are now actual museums.
"I want a McMuseum, hypersized."
Take a moment or two to count the 'collections' presently in your home.
[Could Quondam or Museumpeace get in the business of designing and executing museums for anyone that virtually wants one?]
joke from the early 1980s:
A: What comes after museum?
Q: pre-shrine
In terms of my personal aspiration to be both an architect and an artist, it is precisely via museums that my goals are fulfilled. I never imagined I'd then also become a hyper-writer in the process, however.


2003.12.11 16:47
Avant Garde Murder Mystery Solved!
It was Ms. Clear-Gesso, in the lobby, with the paintbrush


2004.01.04 16:01
first hand experience, you can count on it
After the murder of Julianka the gypsy, Magda tries to destroy the magical hand of Count Petofi. But the Count arrives, demanding the return of his missing hand.
episode 816:
Petofi causes Jamison to become possessed by David Collins. Nora tells Tim that Jamison took the hand from her. Tim finds that the hand has been re-attached to Count Petofi. Tim tries to make a bargain with Petofi to get revenge on Trask and Evan Hanley. Quentin brings Jamison to Petofi and begs him to save his life.


2004.01.10 14:42
in the virtual realm
etc...
Maria tells us about the symbolic role played by her sarcophagus and sepulcher within Piranesi's Il Campo Marzio, and Piranesi outlines all the mistakes made by Fasolo, Tafuri, Allen, Bloomer, and Eisenman in their respective interpretations of the Ichnographia Campus Martius.
Jim explains the letters he wrote while in Savannah jail circa 1983/4, and fondly remembers his last trip to Philadelphia.

2004.01.10
Re: interesting article
The fact that letters (of which I have some) written by Jim Williams while in jail for the murder of Danny do exist could very well engender the heretofore unexpected "sequel" to Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil--a virtual terror castle, I'm sure--and how long was that book on the bestseller list?
from Joyce's Ulysses:
"Bringing his host down and knelling he heard twine the second bell the first bell in the transept (he is lifting his) and, rising, heard (now I am lifting) their two bells (he is knelling) twang in diphthong."


2004. 01.10 15:28
Re: J. Baudrillard's America 86...
And which 'character' of Midnight in the Garden...do you suppose was the local highend cocaine dealer? Thank God for those direct Delta flights from NYC to Savannah.
"John Berendt arrives this Thursday. Did I mention him? He wants information to tempt a publisher into agreeing to commission him to do a book on my Hansford case. Don't know how details of our contract will work out, but one must be signed before I give him pertinent facts he could find no where else."
--Jim Williams, 18 March 1985


2004.01.25 15:24
the Stephen Lauf in yesterday's dusk
On the way to TLA Video Chestnut Hill to rent Visconti's Ludwig and back.
Left St. Ambrose Parish towards St. Helena Parish, then towards Temple University's Tyler School of Art, which is part of the motherlode of Horace Trumbauer architecture, Lynnewood Hall just up the street, and right next to Elstowe, the quondam William L. Elkins Estate, now a House of the Dominica Sisters. [Otto is thrilled to hear that both St. Catherine de Ricci and Louis I. Kahn will attend the Horace Trumbauer Architecture Fan Club Convention to deliver their jointly-authored paper.] Then on to a bit of Rt. 73 to Grey Towers, the castle of Arcadia University.
Now on towards Chestnut Hill through Whitemarsh and the scant remains of Stotesbury Mansion, and glad to report ultimately finding that sculptural fountain terrace as centerpiece in the 1950s residential community.
A jammed parking lot and a long line in the store.
Up Mermaid Lane passed Cynthia's house (my 1993 portrait of her hangs over the fireplace in the family room), then all the way down Stenton Avenue, ending through St. Anthanasius, St. Helena, and finally home in St. Ambrose.
[Elapsed Time: 1 hour 25 minutes]


2004.02.13 12:44
Re: of castles, fortifications, etc.
Great stuff. I never read any books on symbolism before; I will now, however.
Lots of things zipped through my mind while reading:
Castles, Ludwig II, reenactment, Otto in a Schloss (i.e., the German for either castle or lock), schizophrenia in a lock-box.
New Jerusalem, Bryn Athyn Cathedral (or Church of the New Jerusalem), Academy of the New Church, Glencairn, Cairnwood--all local (to me) architecture built with Pitcairn (the local 'Rockefellers') money--I can't readily go to Bavaria anytime I want, but that's not case with Bryn Athyn, for a few years now I call it "a little land of reenactment."
Bryn Athyn Cathedral is indeed a true Gothic construction in that all the stones are held together with mortar and gravity alone, perhaps the only true Gothic Cathedral built entirely in the 20th century. Although still large, it is nonetheless somewhat diminutive in that its scale is something like 2/3rds or 3/5ths the average Gothic Cathedral. The overriding symbolism of this Church goes un-noticed by most--nothing in the design is straight, level or exact; column spacing is always slightly off, all walls slightly bow, there is a slight curve to everything, especially to whatever looks straight. Only God is perfect.
The administration building of the Academy of the New Church is a very early Mitchell/Giurgola building, whose design somewhat reenacts the design of Kahn's unexecuted Goldenberg House, which was to be build on a site just a couple miles down from Bryn Athyn.]
Louis Kahn's unexecuted Domincan Motherhouse of St. Catherine de Ricci is chock full of symbolism--today, 13 February, is the feast of St. Catherine de Ricci. I guess I'll visit Elstowe (for the first time) today, and then maybe go take pictures of the castle at the quondam Beaver College.
The Egyptian walls of hieroglyphics and the Berlin Wall of graffiti.
The metabolic urbanism of contemporary Israel.
The secret symbols of Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius.

2004.02.14 14:07
Re: of castles, fortifications, etc.
Mecca and WTC, what a comparison. You seem to be asking (and answering) "how does one design a site of pilgrimage well?" I agree that this is an apt question for design these days. Lucky for me, I suppose, my 'pilgrimage' to the post 9-11 WTC occurred the first weekend Lower Manhattan was reopened after the attack. A true once in a lifetime event. I haven't visited the Pentagon or Shanksville yet, however.
Architect Aldo Rossi also held the lighthouse typology in high regard. If you are not familiar with his many architectural sketches (many of which are published in a fair number of books), you might find lots of inspiration related to your own work. His collecting of favorite typologies is much akin to your own collecting of the 'architecture of electricity'.
Last evening Philadelphia was witness to a great 100' to 150' column of fire. Ten minutes before 5 o'clock a small crew of water workers at the intersection of Olney and Ogontz Avenues (about 2.5 miles directly west from where I live) accidentally broke open a 20" gas main, and within a half minute there erupted an enormous explosion resulting in a tremendously powerful vertical jet of flame. Miraculously, no one was injured, and after four hours the pressure within the gas main was shut off, and the column of fire was gone.

Your thoughts about the place of fiction in the reality of modern life is poignant. Late last night I watched the movie (based on the book) Remains of the Day, and it's story seems to relate to what you say.
From amazon.com: "The novel's narrator, Stevens, is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and meaning through the self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession. In a career that spans the second World War, Stevens is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him--oblivious, for instance, of the fact that his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer. Still, there are even larger matters at stake in this heartbreaking, pitch-perfect novel--namely, Stevens' own ability to allow some bit of life-affirming love into his tightly repressed existence."
What I saw in the film is that the aristocrat employer was just as oblivious as his butler, an oblivion, moreover, manifest by grandly organized pretense. In the movie, Christopher Reeves plays a U.S. Congressman from Pennsylvania. Before he visits the manor for a circa 1936 foreign affairs conference, the aristocrat and some of his compatriots wonder as to the source of the Congressman's family's wealth--"Perhaps they made their money from trolley cars." This is an obscure reference to the Philadelphia Wideners, for whom Lynnewood Hall by Horace Trumbauer was built.

Horace Trumbauer, Lynnewood Hall (Elkins Park, PA: 1898-1900).
I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon (just across the street from the now derelict Lynnewood Hall, which was once just as grand as the Manor House in the movie) at Our Lady of Prouille, the quondam Elstowe, estate of the Elkins Family, now a retreat house run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine de Ricci. I had the good fortune of speaking with Sister Caroline who is now in charge of the place. We even discussed Louis Kahn's unexecuted design for a Motherhouse which the Sisterhood had commissioned. Before going home, I went to the art library at Temple University's Tyler School of Art (which is right next to where I spoke with Sister Caroline, whose office is within what used to be the estate squash courts). Because I was looking up books about the art treasures that used to be within Lynnewood Hall (now the Widener Collection within the National Gallery, Washington DC), the librarian also brought out of the rare book room a most unexpected item--the 1946 auction catalogue of the estate of Eva Stotesbury.
Gosh, I love the reality of fabricating a novel/fiction.

2004.02.16 11:02
Re: of castles, fortifications, etc.
My Architect was not discussed, so I don't know if Sister Caroline saw the movie. What she did was explain why the Motherhouse was commissioned, and how, after repeated redesigns to fit the budget, the project was ultimately abandoned. Sister Caroline was actually more curious about "the paper" Saint Catherine de Ricci and Louis Kahn are to present in "the novel I'm working on." I plan to return to have an extended conversation with Sister Caroline, and perhaps some other Sisters as well. The Dominican Retreat House, just north of Philadelphia, now more or less acts as the Motherhouse of the Dominican Sisters.
I told her I constructed a computer model of the project on the site, and I asked about the big hillside behind where the Motherhouse was to be. She said that was "daffodil hill" because it was covered entirely with daffodils. The Dominican Sisters sold the site (at Media, southwest of Philadelphia, just north of Delaware) in 1990; it is now developed with suburban housing.
The Dominican Retreat House (the quondam Elkins Estate) comprises two Trumbauer Houses, Elstowe and Chelten House--one for the father, one for the son. Elstowe (c. 1900) is in the Italian Renaissance style, with a large powerhouse far down the valley, now a home for aged sisters. Chelten House (c. 1898) is in the Elizabethan style, with a separate stable compound and a squash court. The grounds are quite the sight/site; I look forward to going there again in the Spring. Both mansions are used to house religious retreats every weekend.


2004.02.26 12:36
“God’s Bricklayer”
I read the following for the first time last night.
"Cardinal Dennis Dougherty took off for a three-month European vacation in early May 1934. Several weeks later, a declaration of war on the movie industry in the form of a pastoral letter from the Cardinal was read in all the churches of the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Hollywood's obsession with sex and crime," said Dougherty, was a "vicious and insidious attack . . . on the very foundation of our Christian civilization, namely the sacrament of marriage, the purity of womanhood, the sanctity of the home, and obedience to lawful authority." Dougherty's archdiocese covered most of southeastern Pennsylvania, so the letter was heard by some 825,000 Catholics, almost all of whom would have been in church that Sunday, as they were every Sunday. Their marching orders were straightforward: Philadelphia Catholics were forbidden, on pain of serious sin, to go to any movies, of any kind, anywhere."
"Samuel Goldwyn made a quiet visit to the Cardinal's home and reportedly offered to do whatever was necessary to lift the ban. Dougherty was polite but said, "I am adamant. I will not lift it. That will be left to the moral judgment of your products."
the above quotations from: Charles R. Morris, American Catholic: The Saints and Sinners Who Built America’s Most Powerful Church (New York: Random House, 1997).
"God's Bricklayer" entitles the chapter on Cardinal Dougherty, apparently a name the Cardinal occasionally applied to himself.
What a difference seventy years makes?
I like how John Kelly, the father of Princess Grace, called Cardinal Dougherty a "son-of-a-bitch." I like too how John Kelly's construction company built Cardinal Dougherty High School, once the largest Catholic High School in the world, and my Alma Mater.
Since most of Otto's friends are presently staying at St. Catherine (de Ricci) Hall, the quondam powerhouse of Elstowe (literally next door to Tyler School of Art), no doubt they will someday soon visit Cardinal Dougherty High School which is close by in St. Helena Parish. Ludwig, Jim, and Arcadius (elder son of Theodosius, brother-in-law and first cousin one generation removed of Maria), however, are staying at the castle of Arcadia University, the quondam Beaver College. Trumbauer and 'God's Bricklayer' are helping Otto organize all the various site-seeing tours for Otto's Lenten guests. This all works out perfectly as a preliminary run of the official tours to be part of the forthcoming Horace Trumbauer Architecture Fan Club Convention. Sam Goldwyn has agreed to surprise Dennis at one of the Thursday night dinner parties, followed by a movie (Death in Venice? High Art? Barbarella? The Player?--I mean how many times can everyone watch Titus?), of course.

2004.03.15 18:48
Re: a (better) commercial (real estate) value
Enjoying your exchange guys.
Just thought I'd offer the titles of two books (that I'm familiar with) that somewhat relate to the topic at hand.
Richard A. Etlin, The Architecture of Death: The Transformation of the Cemetery in Eighteenth-Century Paris (MIT Press), 1984.
William N. Morgan, Prehistoric Architecture in the Eastern United States (MIT Press), 1980.
The closest cemetery to where I live is on the grounds behind St. James Methodist Church (the first church of Olney, 1818), a few blocks west on Tabor Road. The closest grave to where I live, however, is that of Father Hughes, the founding pastor of St. Ambrose Catholic Church, which is a marked by a Celtic Cross on a patch of lawn in front of the original 1923 Church/School building, right on Roosevelt Blvd., just a block and a half away.
Since 1997, there have been three murders committed within Tacony Creek Park between Roosevelt Blvd. (right at the mouth of Rock Creek) and Rising Sun Avenue. And since 1990, there have been over a dozen (or even many more) findings of remains of Santeria and/or Voodoo rituals (including sacrificed animal carcasses) in the same park area.


2004.03.21 11:35
Re: A Gathering of Planets
Dennis and Eva
Catherine de Ricci and Louis I. Kahn
Trumbauer and Mrs. Dodge
Otto and Maria
Piranesi and Melania the Younger
Ludwig and Agatha Christie (he was calling her "Clueless" behind her back)
Rubens and Bette Davis
Franciska and Philippe Le Beau (apparently he has an eye for the great grandmothers of his most recent descendants)
Napoleon and James A. Williams
Eutropia and Napoleon II (they all sang 'Happy Birthday' for him, and every time Napoleon's son introduced himself as King of Rome, Eutropia simply said, "You don't know a thing.")
Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette (when Ludwig saw Agatha mingling with Louis and Marie, he said, "Look! It's 'Clueless' with 'The DeCaps.'")
Theodosius and Aelia Flaccilla
Arcadius and Aelia Eudoxia
Honorius and Thermantia
Galla Placidia and Athaulf
Stilico and Serena
Princess Grace and Samuel Goldwyn
John Kelly and a bitch (apparently a seeing eye dog)
Rrose Selavy and Pope Celestine V
Jennewein and Lili Marlene
Franklin and Maria Popinska, a quondam Russian scientist (Otto took one look at this couple and immediately said, "Oh, Now I get it. Maria Popinska and 'Let's go fly a kite.' Ben, you're still the funniest sense of humor I know.")
Helena and Eusebius (it was obvious they were up to something)
Ambrose surprised everyone by bringing Constantina and R. David Schmitt. (Ambrose enjoyed telling everyone how he and Dave each died on a Good Friday, and Constantina--actually everyone calls he Santa Costanza these days--enjoyed telling everyone about the architectural analysis of her mausoleum that Dave conducted back when he was a student at Temple University.)

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