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2002.04.14 11:45
history lesson?
www.quondam.com today manifests architecture as the delivery of content. Moreover, Quondam strives to deliver architectual content that is not available anywhere else, thus generally following the dictum that a virtual museum should be what a real museum cannot be.


2002.06.19 13:00
Re: dead languages
If you read a lot of architecture theory books or essays, every so often you come across an analysis/explanation of something Victor Hugo wrote about architecture and books. Here's an example from a quondam online source:
In Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame Book V Chapter 2 is titled "This Will Kill That". Hugo tells how human history, pre-Gutenberg, was written in its buildings: huts and temples, pyramids and pagodas, tombs and towers. Now (as of the Fifteenth Century) he argues that the printing press and its products have taken over the rôle of recording knowledge. Faster, cheaper, more democratic --- and, with widespread proliferation of books, far more imperishable than architecture. Hugo says, "The invention of printing is the greatest event of history." True? Chapter 2 concludes with a summary of his thesis:
"Thus, to put it shortly, mankind has two books, two registers, two testaments: Architecture and Printing; the Bible of stone and the Bible of paper. Doubtless, in contemplating these two Bibles, spread open wide through the centuries, one is fain to regret the visible majesty of the granite writing, those gigantic alphabets in the shape of colonnades, porches, and obelisks; these mountains, as it were, the work of man's hand spread over the whole world and filling the past, from the pyramid to the steeple, from Cheops to Strassburg. The past should be read in these marble pages; the books written by architecture can be read and reread, with never-diminishing interest; but one cannot deny the grandeur of the edifice which printing has raised in its turn.
"That edifice is colossal. I do not know what statistician it was who calculated that by piling one upon another all the volumes issued from the press since Gutenberg, you would bridge the space between the earth and the moon --- but it is not to that kind of greatness we allude. Nevertheless, if we try to form a collective picture of the combined results of printing down to our own times, does it not appear as a huge structure, having the whole world for foundation, and the whole human race for its ceaselessly active workmen, and whose pinnacles tower up into the impenetrable mist of the future? It is the swarming ant-hill of intellectual forces; the hive to which all the golden-winged messengers of the imagination return, laden with honey. This prodigious edifice has a thousand storeys, and remains forever incomplete. The press, that giant engine, incessantly absorbing all the intellectual forces of society, disgorges, as incessantly, new materials for its work. The entire human race is on the scaffolding; every mind is a mason. Even the humblest can fill up a gap, or lay another brick. Each day another layer is put on. Independently of the individual contribution, there are certain collective donations. The eighteenth century presents the Encyclopædia, the Revolution the Moniteur. Undoubtedly this, too, is a structure, growing and piling itself up in endless spiral lines; here, too, there is confusion of tongues, incessant activity, indefatigable labour, a furious contest between the whole of mankind, an ark of refuge for the intelligence against another deluge, against another influx of barbarism.
"It is the second Tower of Babel."
Interestingly, the paragraph that follows the above addresses pretty much the same idea that I thought of last night:
"So does that put the Web into a better context? Is what we're now experiencing just a step or two more along the road that Victor Hugo identified in the move from the building to the book? And is the noise of the 'Net only an increment (though perhaps an order-of-magnitude worse) to the pandemonium that the printing press has already brought us?"
Actually, what I was thinking last night is more an inversion of the prior paragraph--last night I thought to entitle my post 'virtual [architecture] inversion'.
My thoughts where about Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) as now 'virtually' killing the book. Moreover, I was thinking how HTML manifests the 'structure' of virtual architecture, thus bringing back [reenacting?] an "architecture as delivery of content".
Robert Venturi in his latest theory regarding electronics and iconography upon a generic architecture is almost saying the same thing as far as architecture again being a delivery of content, but, for me at least, Venturi's theory becomes flawed when he admits to not knowing what the content should be. More than anything, what he so far fails to acknowledge is that iconography on buildings today, be it either electronic or not, is almost always advertising, advertising, advertising--essentially a very limited, narrowly focused delivery of content. Since 1999 when I did a large number of webpages utilizing the HTML 'marquee' tag, I've wondered if HTML might not be a better 'programmer' for the 'screens' that are now on buildings (as in Tokyo and NY's Times Square and Lehman Brothers Building). For example, if I were commissioned to design content for some real (generic) building whose 'skin' was an electronic screen, I'd propose a vast series of 'webpages' that act as a museum of architecture, thereby making the building, at least on the surface, a 'virtual museum of architecture.' I wouldn't necessarily be advertising Quondam, rather I'd be cloaking real generic architecture with many architectures. It wouldn't really matter what goes on inside the building because that will probably change from year to year, and the 'bulk' of the building's real architecture will be literally superficial and ironically really virtual.
I could go on and on, like pondering what kind of content I would propose for a hospital that had screen facades, or electronic/iconographic houses that change decorations by seasons or holidays, or even imagining the imaging of a house of ill-repute.

2002.07.23 12:52
contentment
B wrote:
it is so good to hear someone talking about the massive discontent with the WTC designs.
Steve wonders:
Does this mean that Brian finds contentment with talk about massive discontent? Is this all the contentment that is needed?
Is there any real reason to believe that talk of massive discontent will ultimately connect to massive contentment? It is likely more true that contentment in one realm ultimately connects to discontent is another realm.
I guess if there ever was massive contentment, an economy like the USA's wouldn't be able to exist. And where would the design industry be in a world of massive contentment?


2002.10.11
contents of the Working Title Museum...     3801


2003.01.22 14:41
Re: Favorite Artist?
John Doe, with yourself being your favorite artist, does that then explain why you prefer content not being the overriding element of art?


2003.04.16 11:18
Re: Do we live in some virtual Zoos ?
Museums have over time become my favorite type of building, specifically as architecture as delivery of content, even the 'secret' content.
It really is amazing that something that remains basically the same all the time (ie, the design/plan of the human body) nonetheless manifests so many, many differences. I sort of stopped looking at humanity as an animal, and (since 1981) starting looking at humanity (specifically the male/female human body) also as architecture as the delivery of content.


2003.05.18 12:53
Re: logical software
...you may have in the past seen me make reference to The Timepiece of Humanity and/or chronosomatics... ...this text comprises the initial results of my 'reading' the hardware and software of the human body as an architecture delivering content.
There was also a time when I considered composing The Body, the Imagination, and Architecture were the physiological operations of the body (fertility, assimilation, metabolism, osmosis, electro-magnetism, ultra-frequent synapses) are explored as also engendering 'physiologies' of human imaginations (fertile imagination, assimilating imagination, metabolic imagination, osmotic imagination, electromagnetic imagination, ultra-frequent synaptic imagination) which were then explored as further engendering physiologically categorized architectures (fertile architecture, assimilating architecture, metabolic architecture, osmotic architecture, osmotic architecture, electromagnetic architecture, ultra-frequent synaptic architecture). There are many unpublished notes and some drawings pertaining to this project.

2003.05.30 12:39
Re: blind, without imagery
I wonder how much more elegant North, Central, and South America were in the millennia prior to 1492.
Is progress really just another word for ongoing discontent?
Then again, what if ongoing contentment is what real progress is all about?


2003.08.28 10:37
Re: FW: Evolutionary theory and architecture
Paul wrote: Architects don't view the process of architecture as one of communication--of receiving and transmitting influences. They view architecture as form and understand the process as formal organization.
Steve writes: I, as an architect, indeed view a process of architecture as one of communication--of receiving and transmitting influences, hence Quondam - A Virtual Museum of Architecture where (its) architecture is the delivery of content.


2003.10.05 14:47
Re: the McMansion Effect ((space))
..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.


2003.11.21 16:24
Re: Virtual and Real
Quondam - A Virtual Museum of Architecture celebrates its 7th anniversary online today.
The weather in Philadelphia today is gorgeous, and I was going to visit the closest real museum to me--Ryerss Museum and Library--to look at a pieces of the Coliseum and the Great Wall and even the full contents of a Japanese Buddhist Temple. The Ryerss Mansion is a wonderful example of a house that morphed into a museum, and the contents of the museum are all the things that the last residents of the Ryerss Mansion purchased about 100 years ago as they traveled around the world, particularly through the Orient. For a couple of years now I like to refer to the Ryerss Museum as a "Museum of Someone's [Global] Shopping." I didn't make it to Ryerss, though, because my trip to the bank, the post office (sending things to eBay shoppers in New York and Italy), and the supply store took longer than expected. I might go to Ryerss tomorrow or Sunday, however.


2003.12.30 16:08
Rem Koolhaas and OMA-AMO
At the In Your Face symposium at NYU 29 September 2001, featuring Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Rem Koolhaas and others, I questioned Venturi about his unsureness regarding 'content' when it came to building facades that were also screens that present electronic imagery--Venturi pioneered this idea back in the 1960s with an unexecuted design for the Football Hall of Fame. My point was that if architects design buildings where (some of) the facades are screens, that it might also be the 'job' of the architect to provide the content to be 'screened', or at least provide some sort of direction to how the screen facades might be fully utilized. After a full exchange with both Venturi and Scott Brown, the moderator of the symposium asked Koolhaas if he had any additional thoughts on this topic, to which Koolhaas replied, "I am not interested in discussing 'content'." Koolhaas has since then obviously changed his mind because the whole theme of the Koolhass/OMA/AMO exhibit presently at Berlin, and the title of Koolhaas' forthcoming book, is indeed Content.
It was soon after late September 2001 that Quondam, a virtual museum of architecture, began defining itself as "architecture as the delivery of content."


images Rory Hyde

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