pretty [scarry] hybrid?
The following is an anecdote relative to the (new) notion of beauty (and aesthetics), etc.:
While still an architecture student, I spent the summer of 1978 working for the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) stationed in Perry, Missouri, a very small town (pop. 931) 30 miles west of Hannibal (of Mark Twain fame). It was then that the city of St. Louis (120 miles south) became the 'big city' destination on several weekends. What struck me the most in St. Louis was Eero Saarinen's Gateway Arch--not only is it an incredible site from a distance, but even more amazing when perceived while walking around its base, (and I won't elaborate here about the "otherness" of its elevator ride up to the top observation room inside, which I believe I heard is something you can't do anymore).
On what was my third visit to St. Louis, I was with several of the other student architects I lived and worked with--it was their first trip. We were all around the same age and education level, i.e., early twenties and full of youthful over-confidence. I distinctly remember being asked by Mike, "So, what do you think of the arch?" (Mike and I were room mates, and we often 'discussed' architecture). I said, "I think the arch is very pretty." Well, Mike quickly told me that one just DOES NOT use the word 'pretty' when referring to architecture!--(apparently) pretty has such lowly connotations. I briefly argued that I thought 'pretty' was the best word to describe how I saw the arch, largely because I see its 'prettiness' as pretty much undeniable. I was confident I used the right word to describe how I felt about the arch.
Today, just two weeks into the 21st century, I looked up pretty in Webster's Third International Dictionary:
pretty 1 a : marked by or calling for skillful dexterity or artful care and ingenuity, esp. in coping with some difficult or complicated matter.
I am thus (finally) completely convinced I saw the arch for what it is, and then also described how I saw the arch in a most fitting manner.
Now being somewhat older (and hopefully somewhat wiser), if I were today asked what I thought of the arch, I'd say, "The St. Louis Arch is very likely the prettiest architecture-sculpture hybrid I will have ever perceived."
Really Good Architecture
One of the new architectures that exists today, and, moreover, an architecture not designed by an architects and not even buildings, are those 'places' in cyberspace that do much more than actual buildings of their type could ever do. I'm referring particularly to amazon.com and ebay.com as architectures that far surpass what a physical book store or auction house can do. These are new architectures not in that they replace the existing architectural paradigms, rather they provide whole new means of buying and auctioning that a physical building could never provide.
I believe that if an architect today says that places in cyberspace can never be considered architecture, all he or she is really doing is manifesting a huge denial, and, moreover, just one more denial added to the
continual history of things that architect's have tried to deny.
I use amazon and eBay frequently. I have both bought and sold items (mostly books, even rare volumes). In fact, just this morning the postman delivered a Piranesi print, a print which I successfully bid on last weekend at eBay. It was the architecture of eBay that brought me Piranesi's engraving of ancient Rome's last Imperial artifact. I was confident in bidding on the print online via a written description and two digital images because of the Piranesi research that I have done and continue to do at home, online, and at university libraries. [By the way, Piranesi is a great proto-virtual-place architect.] This print of the sarcophagus of Maria, wife of the Emperor Honorius, was originally published within Piranesi's Il Campo Marzio (1762), specifically at the head of the dedicatory letter to Robert Adam. In true inversionary fashion, Piranesi cleverly placed an image of ancient Rome's last Imperial artifact at the beginning of the Il Campo Marzio publication. This print is the latest acquisition of Quondam - A Virtual Museum of Architecture.
Architecture is a medium, a facilitator, and a container, and all reality is relative to the vastness of its container.
Does anyone know where the paintings of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art were kept during W.W.II?
It's all gone now, but it really was spectacular. My brother first took me there in the early 1970s, just after he got his driver's license. I have a few pieces of the place in my dining room, basement and garage--trophy's of teenage vandalism. One of the pieces is a 4'x1.5' flat slab of marble that in turn became the support for one of my 1984 (metabolic) artworks: Anonymous Saint In Bikini While Jesus Is Walking On Water.
The point is that today not all architectures are buildings. This is not to deny the real world, rather to recognize the notion that architecture, by architects, now has further options of being designed without the usual physical means.
I repeat, the new architecture of cyberspace does not replace real world architecture. If the implication is not clear, I then add that the new architecture of cyberspace does not deny real world architecture either.
In the several times I have brought up this issue within various venues, there is always the counter argument of an "either-or" attitude. Is it really that difficult to grasp that cyberspace offers a new, addition realm within which architects can design places? [I use the notion of 'place' because the notion of a virtual building is only one type of cyber place.]
I can well remember back in 1983 when I first learned and professionally utilized CAD, specifically the many, many professional colleagues (both in offices and academia) that saw no place within the field of architecture for computers and cad. That's the type of denial I'm referring to.
Quondam as a hypermuseum -- turning Quondam into a place that takes the notion of (architectural) museum a step beyond. The possibility to use Quondam in the generation of something other, i.e., not just a virtual museum that reenacts the museum typology, rather a museum that generates its own unique (original) collection, and indeed its own existence.
This idea then quickly turned into the exhibit idea: "What to do with museums." ...taking advantage of Quondam's own museum model collection. The possibility of not only using the various museums as "actual" sites for exhibits.
...collecting, displaying, exhibiting, curating, but also creating "museumpieces" that are altogether new.
Minimalism in Architecture
"less walls is more windows"
"less windows is more walls"
09011501 IQ Philadelphia street grid
09011502 IQ Philadelphia street grid in place
09011503 ICM base map for scans at true scale
13011501.db Danteum Basilica of Maxentius/Constantine Colosseum Temple of Venus and Rome site plan
The quest for Architectural Theory
Hint (of recent architectural theory/practice): less (homogeneity) is more (diversity).
15011501 Houses Under a Common Roof site plan 1100x550 District Q/NNTC
16011501 Philadelphia DTM Tiber IQ grid plans