Designs That Stink
Given the fact that the (European) medieval church left a largely unsurpassed architectural legacy, the comparison between the medieval church and the modern cinema in all its manifestations may not distribute altogether evenly. Granted, the act of "worship" (and patronage) emanating from modern cinema's public (masses) compares well with religious fervor, however, the legacy of this "adoration" falls largely in the bank accounts of movie executives--essentially the medium that increasingly controls more and more of our culture is unprovisionally paid by the masses to do so--and those executives love the fact that people continue to unobjectionably pay more and more. Perhaps a comparison between modern cinema and ancient paganism provides a more apt equation.
As I grow older, it becomes clearer and clearer to me that regardless of the reality, many people choose to believe that which least offends or threatens them.
Isn't India the real world capital of modern cinema? And therefore wouldn't a comparison between modern cinema and Hindu temples make for an even better learning lesson?
Re: (Designs That) Stinking Heights
John, I'm very glad that you mentioned "Beauvais's overreaching collapse."
For the benefit of all, Beauvais's St. Pierre Cathedral spire (c. 1570s) was the first building to exceed the height of the Great Pyramid at Giza, which until then remained the tallest building in the world. Unfortunately, the Beauvais spire fell after standing only approximately 75 years, however, the main vault of the catherdal is still the highest stone arch in the world.
One could then say that the Great Pyramid regained its "tallest" status, except by that time the second pyramid of Giza may have already been taller than the Great Pyramid (like it is today--this differential is due to the great Pyramid's full point no longer being there).
the Great Pyramid was 480 ft tall
the second pyramid is 470 ft tall
Beauvais's spire was 500 ft tall
Regardless of whether the Great or second pryamid held the "world's tallest record," neither was surpassed until the 1850s when the Washington Monument reached the height of 555 ft. What I find most interesting is that after more than four millennia of the pyramids holding the world's tallest title, they were uncannily surpassed by another ancient Egyptian form! As those wonderful ancient Egyptian cheerleaders used to say, "Ra! Ra! Ra!"
US Iraqi War Memorial
I was impressed by the Iraqi War Memorial televised by ABC's Nightline last Friday night. I listened to all of the fallen soldier's names, and saw about half their pictures. Besides begin saddened for the obvious reasons, it was also sad to see how alive all the faces on the TV screen looked.
As a designed memorial, it worked. There are lessons to be learned here for future architects, not least of which is that architects are not necessarily the designers of memorials anymore.
Re: the design of incarceration
It's always interesting and useful to know how things happen, and it's just as interesting and useful to know how things un-happen.
Re: videologists: a new species ?
Note how you too 'witnessed' the US Iraqi War Memorial, even though you are not even in the USA, and both of us are very far apart, yet both of us experienced the same memorial.
As you also note, this memorial can be further experienced by a replay of the broadcast; this too is part of this memorial's design. The problem of storing this data is not of grave concern, however, since the original data is digital and thus easily duplicated continuously.
Oblivion takes many guises. I can think of five war memorials within a 3.5 mile radius of where I live:
Civil War Memorial of Grubbtown - a small stone obelisk near where Adams Ave. crosses Tacony Creek
World War I Memorial - a small somewhat stylized stone obelisk at the intersection of Rising Sun Ave., Mascher St. and Wyoming Ave.
World War I and World War II Memorial - a brass plaque with names within a classical pedimented stone niche on the side wall of the Olney Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia at 5th St. and Tabor Rd.
Veteran's Memorial - a small stepped brick pyramid where Tookany Creek Parkway crosses Tacony Creek in Cheltenham Village
World War I and World War II Memorial - a medium sized three-sided stone pilaster at the intersection of Rising Sun Ave., Oxford Ave., and Cottmann Ave.
There may even be others that I don't know about, but, of the hundreds, if not thousands of people that pass by these memorials everyday, I feel confident that very few pay any attention to them at all.
Nonetheless, all the above memorials, with the exception of the Civil War Memorial of Grubbtown, receive a wreath on Memorial Day.
...and although Heynen found the notion of reenactment in architecture intriguing, she also found it threatening to her thesis--which translates: it scars the shit out of her that someone other than Tafuri knows what the Ichnographia Campus Martius is really all about. Oh, and that look on her face when I too arrived for Thanksgiving dinner at the Zenghelis/Gigantes' was priceless!
John Hejduk is definitely among my favorite architects. I met him once in Philadelphia, and got to take care of his slides before a lecture he gave in 1979--the sneak preview of his latest work then was indeed thrilling. I see Hejduk's work (of the late 1960s/early 1970s) as a distinct creative extension of Le Corbusier's late work, specifically the Carpenter Center at Harvard, the Palais des Congrès at Strasbourg (unexecuted), and the Governor's Palace at Chandigarh (unexecuted). (Not until last night did) I see The Berlin Masque as a design related to Piranesi's Ichnographia Campus Martius, and, perhaps it is Hejduk's architecture of Adjusting Foundations that fulfills Venturi's prediction (from the early 1980s within an issue of Casa Vogue, I think) that there will be patterns all over architecture in the near future.
And there's also Hejduk within the Maison Dom-ino Legacy (first published at Quondam 1997.08.18).
08050401 Maison l'Homme model
14050401 Maison Millennium 002 plan 22002 context
14050402 Maison Millennium 003 plan 22002 context
14050403 Maison Millennium 004 plan 22002 context
14050404 Palais des Exposé plan 22002 context
14050405 House in Laguna 002 plan 22002 context
14050406 Working Title Museum 001 plan 22002 in situ