Does (any) architecture come with an owner's manual?
Happy Birthday Jim!
Between studies there were a good few parties at Yale: parties in the Rogerses' house when their old lady was away in Florida; parties in Eldred's attic, parties given by other students, and above all a big party given by Paul Rudolph for Jim, which has become legendary. Richard Rogers vividly remembers the crucial episode at it: 'He had this amazing modern, real extreme modern, slightly Hollywood apartment, with steps coming in at the higher level, marble steps cantilevered off the wall. At the end there was a double-height wall of glass, and outside this there was probably seven foot of open space before a big white wall. The wall had a great light on it so you looked at it as though it was the screen of a cinema, and the light reflected back into the room -- absolutely white. And everybody else was there. There was a piano, and let's say a hundred people. An hour later, still no Jim. No Eldred. Door opens up at high level, there's a commotion, yells and giggles and so on, and then suddenly there come Eldred and Jim, down these cantilevered slightly marbly steps, giggling because they're canned, literally just rolling down these goddamn steps, drunk. It was a great entry. Paralytic. And like a lot of these paralytic situations, they didn't hurt themselves. A few minutes later Jim says "Where's the loo?" Somebody says, "Oh, it's upstairs." Jim says, "Fuck the loo" or something, goes into the space outside, in front of this unbelievable white screen, turns round and pisses against the glass, with about a hundred people who could look nowhere else. Like on a cinema screen.'
This story is endlessly retold. It is the best known of the many stories about Jim. All the versions are a little different, not surprisingly, as everyone was well stocked up with drink when it occurred. It has been improved on -- it seems likely, for instance, that the people at the other end of the room remained unaware -- but it happened. Rudolph hated to talk about it. Other people have different theories about why Jim did it: Rudolph had flayed Jim at a crit, as was sometimes his way with critics as well as students, and this was Jim's way of getting back at him; it was a 'sod you' gesture against the Yale establishment; it was just because Jim was drunk and happy. Perhaps it was a bit of all three, perhaps mostly the last. Explanations vary, but the basic image remains: Jim, with a big grin on his face, peeing against the glass.
--Mark Girouard, Big Jim: The Life and Work of James Stirling (London: Chatto & Windus, 1998), pp. 124-5.
And did you know Pop Art died today 44 years ago?
Paul Rudolph's Apartment, New Haven.
The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC appears to be a direct riff off Le Corbusier's museum paradigm. Reenactionary architecturism, if you will.
11042201.db Capitoline Hill plan (raw) with Antichita Forum and lower ICM registration not set
Inga Saffron: It's not just architecture, it's city life criticism
Links to Saffron's articles appear almost weekly within ArchNewsNow's daily collection of worldwide architecture news. The articles themselves, however, may not have a broad audience appeal because they are, for the most part, very Philadelphia centric. What is significant though, is that a local newspaper still publishes the work of a critic that is so in tune with what is going on here regarding architecture, urban design and planning with a strong advocacy for (and clear presentation of) whatever is best about any proposal, design and/or solution. Saffron is also not afraid to say when and why something is just plain bad.
Saffron's articles are not long, but they are full and always present a concise story--you finish with the feeling that you now have a very good understanding of what's really going on.
14042201 Mayor's House site plan 22002 context
14042202 Green Enfilade House site plan 22002 context