novel architecturale


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Palais des Exposé   2321
    Palais des Congrès
    Jussieu Library
House in Laguna 002   2322
Working Title Museum 001   2323
Working Title Museum 002   2324
Working Title Museum 003   2325
Working Title Museum 004   2326
the architect's wife style/this "vehicle" film thread   3749c

Ludi 002   2329

2000.01.08 13:48
a virtual museum of [disinformation] architecture?
John Young wrote:
Imaginary architecture, Escher, Piranesi, Heaven, Hell, visionary, virtual, has always mesmerized, inspired, perhaps terrified, for being beyond what is accompishable.
To be sure most architecture begins as imaginary and then it's all down hill from there as other brutally realistic forces have their way. Until ruins once again induce fantastic possibilities.
I especially admire Steve's fictional conference........
Steve Lauf continues:
Before going INSIDE DENSITY and while INSIDE DENSITY, the back of my mind was occupied with "what could a virtual museum of architecture be that a real museum of architecture could [or would] never be?" presently comprises over 80 megabytes of data in the form of texts and images. As 'director' of Quondam, I'm hesitantly contemplating the (online) deletion of all the data in one keystroke. Seems drastic, but dia(meta)bolically desirable(!) -- kind of like pushing that big red button somewhere in Washington D.C., or where ever red buttons are.
Tabula Rasa is too easy, however. I prefer palimpsest, instead--erasure and then overwriting/overrighting. Of course, replacement would be necessary and necessary in quick order (...don't want those rising web stats to suddenly evaporate).
So what can a virtual museum of architecture be that a real museum of architecture can not be?
I'm at the point where the dissemination of disinformation appears the most appealing. I'm imagining a museum of architecture that curates and displays an 'un-real' history of architecture, you know, among OTHER things, all those buildings Le Corbusier designed since 27 August 1965, and likewise the dies sanquinis urbanism of lights-camera-Africa in 2056 AD which is covertly inspired by the OTTO-man architecture of pre-Christ South America, and don't forget the equinoctial architecture along the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Yes, may well soon be a 'new and improved' virtual museum of [unscientific fiction] architecture, written and delineated in palimpsest (so the faded 'truth' is nonetheless incompletely 'not there').
I'm becoming more and more convinced that a virtual museum of architecture misses its full virtuality unless it 'calendrically incarnates' other zeitgeists + [or minus] architectures.

2000.01.10 00:26
as dense as architecture can get?
As to wondering about the 'easy' play with scale's relative to Piranesi's Campo Marzio, in part you guess correctly. I say in part because when Piranesi delineates the Campus Martius proper, he more often than not uses the correct scale for the buildings that once existed there. Piranesi grossly exaggerates building scale in the Campo Marzio's outer regions, however. Nonetheless, Piranesi is deliberately 'playing' a learning game here, in that the outer regions is where Piranesi's plans and programs lack practically all veracity, hence, the hyperbole of Piranesi's architectural imagination is coded by a hyperbole of architectural scale. In simple terms, the over-sized plans of the Campo Marzio indicate buildings that Piranesi completely 'made-up', where as a high percentage of the smaller building plans indicate buildings that actually once existed and are drawn at their proper scale. (Mind you, the drawn plans of the once existing buildings, even though at a correct scale, are still often individual plans of Piranesi's invention.)

2000.01.15 10:15
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."

the arch, the trope, and the reenactment
Is Saarinen's Gateway Arch in St. Louis a trope or is it a reenactment? That is, is the Gateway Arch (actually the arch in St. Louis has a rather profound formal name which I cannot remember) a "turn" of manifest destiny into symbolic form, or is it a long standing architectural tradition enacted yet once again?
The assimilation of trope into recent architectural (theory) writing and criticism is an example of trope itself, is it not? And it often seems (to me at least) that "troping" (excuse my verbing) within current architectural parlance and design is treated somewhat as a whole new "Concept" in and of itself. Perhaps I'm here being overly simplistic, but recent architectural tropes and the pronouncements of such often appear to be elaborate justifications for what is otherwise plainly arbitrary in terms of ultimate design form. Personally, arbitrariness in design is not something I shun, but even I cannot escape the fact that 'arbitrariness' and 'design' are fundamentally anathema. [God forbid an architect actually says he did something purely arbitrary.] Nonetheless, informed decisions apropos design in no way lead to single conclusions; there are so many options, especially in our time, that ultimate design choices manifest a high degree of "post-objective subjectivity" (to perhaps coin phrase).
Here are my recent thoughts regarding symbolic arches and trope vs. reenactment:
I first 'found' the notion of reenactment within ancient Rome's Triumphal Way, which is itself an oft reenacted reenactment of something Romulus did after his victory over the Sabine men. The funeral of Princess Diana is the most recent reenactment of Romulus' parade. (Yes, because of the "turn" of Paganism into Christianity the Triumphal Way "troped" into elaborate, albeit highly meaningful funeral processions, however, it remains that still only heroes, and finally heroines as well, get the Triumphal Way treatment.)
With the Triumphal Way then came first the Triumphal Gate and then several Triumphal Arches. The Triumphal Gate was the gate within Rome's wall (and sacred boundary) through which the victor's entered the city after first assembling within the Campus Martius. Over time, special victories sometimes added a Triumphal Arch somewhere along the route of the Triumphal Way (e.g., the Arch of Titus, the Arch of Constantine, etc.). One could say that each of these subsequent arches, although rendering the victory newly being celebrated, nonetheless is a reenactment of the Triumphal Gate, but I'm now of a mind that, while indeed reenactments, the arches re-enact something more obvious:
Could it be that Triumphal Arches plainly reenact the structural arch itself?
Moreover, could it be that Triumphal Arches reenact the structural triumph of the Roman arch?
Was the arch an obvious form to use as symbolic of triumph because of its gateway /passage /breaking-through implications (the triumphal arch as trope)?
Or was there some clever designer back then that thought the arch was 'the' perfect manifestation of triumph because the arch itself is a structural triumph (the triumphal arch as reenactment)?
Does the Arch in St. Louis trope Manifest Destiny or does it reenact a triumph over gravity?

2000.01.16 14:14
Re: architecting
Real scale deals primarily with physical limits and the coordinated representation/manifestation of those limits, while in virtual scale limits are 'fluid' and/or 'meandering' and/or 'oscillating' and/or 'undulating', etc..
It would seem then that the difference between real scale and virtual scale is in how each scale respectively treats and/or renders limits. Real scale and virtual scale do not treat or render different realities, however, because all reality is relative to the limit of its container.

Re: Saarinen, Kahn and the Use of History   2000

Trope and/or Reenactment
Paul wrote:
Being more "modern" (i.e. having abandoned figural space) Saarinen's arch becomes a "one-liner" (pun intended). It transforms the curvilinear edge of the enclose space into an object--an object that is two-dimensional, and minimally two-dimensional at that: a line. It strives to be without mass; it remains an isolated figure, disengaged from context. Minimal though it is, we see this as an OBJECT in space; only with difficulty do we recognize an implication of spatial definition made by the line in arching overhead. But as the line has no third dimension, it cannot contain or define a real volume of space.
Steve replies:
I'm sorry Paul, but there is a lot of disinformation in what you say above regarding the St. Louis arch. (I tend to believe you've never actually been to the arch. Were you ever there?) The arch is indeed "sublimely" 3-dimensional: the cross section of the arch is a continual triangle with quite large footprints at the base which gradually decreases as the arch ascends. The massive 3-dimensionality of the two bases, albeit surprising upon first encounter, is a definite reality (in fact, a six-person pod elevator travels within the "one-liner"). As to the experience of the space the arch "encloses", yes, it's very thin, but it's truly wonderful to experience, extremely awesome.
I doubt my recollections of the Arch, after not having been there over twenty years, would still be so vivid in my mind today if it wasn't there creating such an incredible space.

Wright and historical method   2000

2000.01.24 19:19
Re: by design
...we were part of a international conference on hybrid architectures. The conference is so hybrid that the participants don't even know (till now) that they composed a larger composite entity.
I know I'm 'playing' a bit here, but I also think I'm making a significant point about the 'hybrid' nature of cyberspace in general, and the ever morphing nature of the hybrid [architecture] specifically.

2000.01.26 16:34
the body in architecture
B wrote:
I've missed the whole 'body' debate, not really having an understanding of its relation to architecture. Maybe someone on list can share what they know.
Steve replies:
Brian, you might find a series of essays in Anthony Vidler's The Architectural Uncanny (1992) of some interest -- there's a section on bodies. These essays provide a somewhat broad overview of the latest (trendy--for the late 80s late 90s anyway) architecture cum body thinking. As you know, I have my own theory about the body--chronosomatics--and I also have an extended idea of how then the body chronosomatically effects architecture, for example, the way I interpreted your AE thesis vis-a-vis the lowest tips of the rib cage and the heart.
Regarding body 'modification', I personally think the Bellonarii, the priests and priestesses of Bellona, the goddess of war, who were accustomed, in their mystic festivals, especially on the 20th of March (hence dies sanguinis, day of blood), to gash their arms and shoulders with knives, and thus to offer their blood, are still more meaningful as to the use of their bodies than any of the stuff going on and hyped today. Of course, I'm a bit predisposed in this regard since the 20th of March is my birthday (1956), and the day my brother Otto was lobotomized (1980), and the day a working mother was car-jacked and abducted to be then raped and murdered in Tacony Creek Park (1997) just a few blocks from where I live.
Since I'm lately interested in reenactment, I have on occasion considered reenacting the Bellonarii on 20 March 2000. If I were to 'gash' my arms and shoulders, it would be with an exacto knife; I feel I'd have to cut enough to draw blood, but I wouldn't go as far as to 'gash' myself. The other alternative would be to get four tattoos, single dark red lines one on each of my shoulders and on the sides of each of my biceps. I suppose my point is that if I were to 'modify' my body, I'd only do it if the modification held meaning.
Perhaps the architecture that is best in conjunction with body modifiers today would be called "gratuitous architecture" or "uncalled for architecture".

2000.01.28 10:24
Sorting out truth
P wrote:
Were I asked to nominate the pivotal architectural work of the twentieth century (no one asked, of course) I would suppose it be found at the nexus between the long architectural tradition and revolutionary modern movement in the earlier twentieth century, or else at the nexus with what as followed modernism. Restricting my view to the latter, I would suggest a work probably little known to most of others on the list: the project (unbuilt, alas) for a museum at Santa Barbara, California by Michael Dennis (and partner), which appears in Michael's book, Court and Garden. Without discussing this project further here, I advance it merely to assure others that I do hope to become more specific, offering "for instances" as exemplars of these fundamental issues. Clue: Michael's work was a brilliant confrontation of alternative spatial conceptions, and a highly rational and effective demonstration of how both spatial strategies may be employed together in a single work.
Steve replies:
I looked at Dennis' Art Museum project for Santa Barbara, and, although a nice design, I wouldn't call it pivotal because it is somewhat over the hump of the pivot of its particular time, i.e., the late 1970s - early 1980s. When looking at the Dennis design, I'm immediately reminded of virtually every published entry to the "House for Karl Friedrich Schinkel" competition run by Shinkenchiku and programmed and judged by James Stirling in 1979 (see The Japan Architect February 1980).
I notice that Schinkel is no where mentioned within Dennis' Court and Garden book, but Stirling is included on a few pages. The absence of Schinkel is curious in that the main historical precedent for the proposed Art Museum in Santa Barbara very much seems to be Schinkel's Court Gardener's House and Roman Bath complex (1834-40) on the palace grounds of Sansossi in Potsdam.
When it comes to values and truth (in architecture), I think it best to call "a spade and spade," and not rely on abstract categories which may or may not be of real use. Paul said, "artists commonly think that what they do is not to "express" what they bring to the work, but that they "explore" and "discover" in the process of doing the work what was not predetermined. Isn't this really our own experience as designers? ...this line of inquiry will bring us to Kahn's notion that we are not "inspired," divine "creators" of form, but that forms preexist us, and our function is rather to find them. This, of course, becomes metaphysics--and I admit to being not only a rationalist and a formalist, but a metaphysician." I don't know how metaphysical it is to see an architectural design from the past and then, as a designer, wish to somehow capture the essence of the former design in a whole new design, but I do know that many designers are very protective of their "inspirations" only because they already know how easy it is to "copy" secretly while at the same time manifesting one's own originality publicly.
Haven't we already seen in our own time just how hypocritical "value" and "truth" are? I am now much more interested in trying to understand the ways and means of hypocrisy than I am interested in trying to understand the hierarchy of "value" and "truth". The presence of hypocrisy appears much more real than the presence of value and truth.

2000.02.16 12:32
Re: reasons why not to worry
Rarely is any architect able to readily execute his or her designs and intentions immediately and/or of their own volition, and if such a favorable condition is at hand, then it is most likely because of independent wealth or being in a politically powerful position. The cyberspace of the Internet has made self-made, readily executed architecture possible. The closest comparison I can think of in our time and in the real world is Philip Johnson's estate in New Canaan, where each of the buildings there is of Johnson's own designs and for his own use, and where each building is a design experiment--essentially Johnson created an open air museum of Philip Johnson architecture, while at the same time 'practicing' and' researching' architecture.
Because of the www, any architect can now 'virtually' do the same thing; architects anywhere can now practice and research architecture in cyberspace. Unfortunately, it seems most architects are not even aware of this potential, and really not every architect has the physical means to engage and design within cyberspace. As in the real architecture world, it is not enough to theorize and write about architecture in cyberspace, one should also build in cyberspace to realize the full potential.

create something completely off the wall. My own obscure attitude will guide me, and there is no need to submit to any norms. I can make it all up and even be intentionally false and untrue in the information Quondam supplies. The whole museum as an enormous fiction.

topological office buildings - highrise blocks
... highrise buildings where topological surfaces become the "front" and "backs" of building blocks, and the sides are simply the resulting profiles. ...also thinking of designing facades the same way that UNStudio designs infrastructure levels.

Quondam redux ideas combined under the general theme of virtual infinity. Essentially, the content will develop in any way that comes up, just like schizophrenia + architectures, and the guiding principle will be the infinite nature of the collection. It is exactly the collection, the notes, and the designs and design ideas that will become the displays of the museum all occurring without prescription.

good work with DTM today
A good portion of the last week's work focused on "sketching" and manipulating two of (the thirty odd) DTM surfaces I've generated. I primarily generated many hline perspectives of paired surfaces (which represent a single multistory building) which increased in number of pairs and ultimately included scale/rotation modifications. The resultant drawings (and design play) turned out to be very stimulating, and indeed inspirational. There is now much further design investigation to perform, investigations and opportunities to greatly enhance my design repertoire.
From the start, I was consciously working to introduce the whole new Gehry/hybrid form language into my own design methodology and capabilities, and there is also the intention of finding out how far I could use and push the CAD capabilities at my disposal. [I am able to successfully investigate this because I've recently discovered that the results of the old ARITEC sculpture software can be easily transferred to the new system via dos copied ri libraries.] What has happened is that I now have a very easy way to generate a vast collection of 3D mesh surface forms, that play perfectly within the infinite possibilities of CAD(esign) manipulation. Moreover, I believe I am documenting a methodology other than the presently popular Gehry/Hybrid Spaces way of using CAD/sophisticated form generating software. I am also developing an alternative to the "diagramatix" approach espoused by Eisenman (and UNStudio). All of this work fits perfectly within OTHERWISE EYES.
After generating the latest set of hlines, which were of two pairs of vertical surfaces combined, one orthogonal, one scale/rotated, the similarity of the resultant drawings to Gehry (design) drawings was near to identical, and also very provocative and eye opening. At night, after generating the last batch of drawings, I looked through the Gehry Complete Works, and was then further convinced that I was beginning to work with CAD on par with Gehry, and I will go so far as to say my approach is actually different than Gehry's because I've developed a catalogue of forms that can undergo infinite CAD manipulations. I would like to document all these new design methodology/theory/philosophy issues in OTHERWISE EYES.
Ultimately, I thought of a great project where I will reenact Bilbao Guggenheim in Philadelphia along the Schuykill River adjacent Eakins Oval (my first year final jury site). This project provides a myriad of opportunities: 1) a chance to design a building using the DTM collection; 2) a documentation / demonstration of the design process; 3) effective use of the Philadelphia Model; 4) further development of the Parkway Interpolation project and perfect promotion thereof; 5) another example of reenactment and/in architectural design.

2000.03.21 17:26
architectural lacunae
architectural lacunae :
blank architectural spaces : architectural gaps, architectural holes : missing parts of architecture : architectural defects, architectural flaws
architectural blank spaces : gap architecture, hole architecture : architecture's missing parts : defect architecture, flaw architecture
"The professor's lecture on architectural lacunae harbored critical lacunae itself."

2000.03.22 10:52
Re: Aesthetic Intentions
Ludwig II of Bavaria well understood the potential of absolute monarchy, and it seems architecturally evident that he intended to fulfill that potential. I doubt it escaped Ludwig's cognition that monarchs are rare, absolute monarchs even more rare, and mid-nineteenth century monarchs (like himself), absolute or otherwise, were an endangered species.
Ludwig II took the notion of (European) absolute monarchy to its final extreme, and each of his major buildings, Neuschwanstein, Linderhof, and Herrenchimsee, are Gesamptkunstwerks (architecture, decorative arts, music, theater, mythology) that reenact absolute monarchy, as much as they represent a race against time (specifically, the race of European monarchy against time). Ludwig and his younger brother Otto (the real mentally ill member of his immediate family) were literally the end of their family's line. Ludwig was an extreme European monarch in every sense, and his architecture is also extreme European royal architecture in every sense--consummate examples of Zeitgeist and its effects.

I believe Ludwig II achieved his intentions as far as he could take them. But I doubt even he was aware of manifesting an architecture that will forever spark architectural imaginations.

feeling a bit more positive
I've also recently been reworking Laguna via the addition of mesh surface facades. This work gives the original mesh collection a greater reason, and therefore provides all the more reason to present my initial (hline) studies within OTHERWISE EYES. In redoing Laguna, I've so far generated nine hline perspectives, and it would be great if I generated at least 7 perspectives a week (hlines) of whatever "design" I can think of. I'm now doing both textual work and design work.

2000.04.04 20:39
rammed into an envelope
John Young wrote:
What is peculiar to me is the conviction that the visual in architecture should not evolve from the full implementation of its attributes, not as an envelope into which these attributes should be rammed.
Gregory Wharton wrote:
Well said. This puzzles the hell out of me, too.
Van Varga wrote:
Probably puzzles most of us. Architecture to non architects (most people) is just another expression of fashion. (snip)
Steve Lauf suggests:
Is not the 'architecture' of the human body an envelope rammed full of 'attributes' that DO NOT show their 'implementation' on the outside? For example, breasts with nipples hardly reflect either the lungs or the pumping heart inside, likewise the one-piece torso offers little 'superficial' indication of two cavities inside. And further, isn't the sublime singularity of the navel very much like the exact opposite of the twisting, turning, asymmetrical intestines just inside? [And just think how literally close the activities within barber shops and beauty parlors come to the activities inside the brain, yet who would dare say that these two activities share the same "function"?]
Perhaps the 'popularity' of liking the 'mechanical' out of sight is really only a reflection of simply being human.
Personally, it's no puzzle to me.

2000.04.06 12:22
ironically, I never mentioned skin
After I wrote:
"Is not the 'architecture' of the human body an envelope rammed full of 'attributes' that DO NOT show their 'implementation' on the outside? For example, breasts with nipples hardly reflect either the lungs or the pumping heart inside, likewise the one-piece torso offers little 'superficial' indication of two cavities inside. And further, isn't the sublime singularity of the navel very much like the exact opposite of the twisting, turning, asymmetrical intestines just inside? [And just think how literally close the activities within barber shops and beauty parlors come to the activities inside the brain, yet who would dare say that these two activities share the same "function"?]"
John Young and Van Varga both replied with immediate references to corporal skin. This epidermal connection is appropriate because our skin is indeed our corporal envelope, however, I wish to stress that the examples I used (breasts, nipples, torso, navel, head of hair) where not about skin, but rather corporal design features specific to the body's surface -- yes skin is involved as the predominant material application of these features, but skin is not what predominates the design; our skin is what adapts to the design.
Van also mentioned the sense of touch integral to skin, and this undeniable connection has truly provocative architectural design implications, i.e., envelopes that feel and or respond to contact (or, as inspired by John Young, building surfaces that (visually) indicate how they are "feeling"). About five years ago, while I was heavily doing research regarding (the theory of) chronosomatics, I came to the conclusion that touch is the first sense to have come into being, and that touch/contact was/is indeed the medium by which "life" itself began. Not only did touch exist before tasting, smelling, hearing or seeing, but, most of all, it was the contact of two otherwise lifeless entities that 'spawned' animate life. Moreover, it can well be argued that tasting, smelling, hearing, and seeing are really only very specialized touch/contact senses. Note also that the sense of touch is not just an attribute of the body's external skin, but a sense indigenous to all parts of the body inside and out.
So what were these two lifeless entities that spawned life through contact with each other? Of course, my answer is that I reasonably assume the true answer may at this late point never re-appear, and that even a reenactment would fall far, far short of the original event. Nonetheless, I believe there is a very significant clue as to the 'scenario' of that first contact right on our own bodies, specifically at the body's extreme external tips, i.e., the tips of our toes and the tips our fingers. It is there that last vestiges of humanity's physical hard external shell still exists, namely our nails, and right underneath our nails are those cross-sections of our body's that are largely just skin. I theoretically propose that this soft entity under a hard entity represents the same conditions that first spawned life. Essentially, it was something soft and vulnerable that found "security and protection" under something hard and more permanent. Animate life began when the contact between the soft and the hard actually became a bond, and thus too the sense of touch came into being.
Now skipping millions of years on the evolutionary scale, I see this soft/hard duality as the beginning of two sexes as well. Contrary to common perceptions, it is the female that is hard and the male that is soft. In simple undeniable terms it is woman that enables embryonic development within her own body -- woman's bodies themselves are a hard protective shells (only women corporeally possess and facilitates the human egg that in turn allows fetal development). Men, on the other hand, very much do not have that "built-in" protectiveness, hence men make great displays about forever being on the defensive, and indeed it is almost exclusively men that have continually created our planet's foremost industry, if only to create that protective shell that their sex was not born with -- the age old military apparatus (shields, armor, war ships, submarines, tanks, stealth bomber, etc. are all "man"-made protective shells).
So what then is architecture? Is it a hard, 'simple', 'natural' protective shell that engenders the continuation of life? Or is it a soft formlessness forever (re-)designing an applied shell it doesn't naturally have?

patterns on mesh skins
My kitchen floor inspired me today to begin applying patterns to the mesh walls of Laguna, specifically the circle/square (Pantheon floor) pattern. I then immediately remembered the early(est?) Intergraph version of the Laguna house with the circle/square pattern on the elevation. The pattern application will take time, but the mesh also opens up all kinds of other patterning and even image (esp. line drawings) applications.
There is now also the whole inclusion of my skin/contact ideas with the Laguna redo, and now I have a bunch of "hypermural and beyond" ideas to include as well -- (another great chapter for OTHERWISE EYES--mesh in the Altes Museum porch, etc.

hypermural paper, etc.
I also thought of a whole new design scheme for the mural which essentially is a fantasy design incorporating mesh surfaces more or less just taking over the museum front--it will be a very virtual design making elaborate use of my cad modeling and presentation capabilities.

exploiting Quondam iconoclastic approach will engender originality at its best. I can see changing the Ichnographia, adding "bold" topics to the Encyclopedia Ichnographica, Philadelphia a a hyper(?) museum of architecture, Synopsis of Architecture by Papidakis and Lauf, "how to be the best architectural client," hyper building additions, religious conversions (Hurva goes Christian, etc.), Seroux and the Denkmal (plus more), the Philadelphia model with all the other site plans grafted on, the NOT THERE imagination.

...a large set of directories, such as: chronosomatics, reenactionary, ichnographiam, ottopia, collection, otherwise-eyes, solarize, innuendo, vapor, acropolis, piranesian-daze, scale, theory, imagination, hyper, almost, lauf-vague-s, casa-vague-s, subcontinental, synopsis, not-there, pieces, seroux, metabolic, hybrid, plans, elevations, sections, details, paradigms, exedra, helena-augusta, enfilade, hypostyle, ramp, porticus, denkmal, sagacity, skin, intention, ludens, zeitgeist, ausland, locale, lacunae, palimpsest, visitation, remove, interpolation, augury, datum.

OTHERWISE EYES directory ideas
5. collection: begin with displaying the two early element libraries and the new mesh surface libraries.


4415   b

Ottopia, etc.
I will begin composing Ottopia with the houses for Otto distributed upon a collage of mesh surfaces; from there I will begin the design process, namely the modeling of the Otto houses. Given the strange terrain, I'm hoping that the house designs readily develop in schizophrenic ways, plus "otherwise" architectural ways. I'm already envisioning a use of mesh surfaces for other design features such as roofs and additional landscapes.
I suppose the greatest challenge will be to actually design a schizophrenic environment. In any case, the main thing is to start composing the house plans within a mesh collage. The work for this will require a wirefaming of the meshes and a grid by grid planer application (scaling and rotating) of the plans. At this point I'm not at all sure whether a Piranesian (a la Campo Marzio) Ichnographia narrative will become part of Ottopia's plan.
Along the same lines as above, I thought of introducing mesh surfaces among pieces (sections) of the Philadelphia model, and thereafter redesigning a new metropolis. Just now I thought that this Philadelphia manipulation could be part of Ottopia, I now see that Ottopia can be any number of built environment landscapes, and not just a "meshland," although I'm sure mesh will play a large role in the overall design.

OTHERWISE EYES - continued work
facading -- designing buildings where the main facades are a flattened version of oblique facades already within Quondam 's collection. There upon the profile of the facades will be extruded. There are many variations and developments that this process will take, e.g., mesh extruding one profile into another; bending/folding the facades (vertically); applying new openings to the flat facades; create buildings with a different oblique facade on each side; use the "skin" elevations as flat facades.
plan -- displaying plans made up via collage and perspective.

There was the idea from last week regarding a z-scale revision of Stirling/Wilford's UNEP/Nairobi design with drawings added to the elevations of the boxes, plus whatever manipulations I think of, especially with regard to mesh surfaces.

1. While at Penn yesterday, I looked through some magazines and in AREA 00:02 there was a new wavy, bottom undulating project by MVRDV. I liked the project (I see both Le Corbusier's Olivetti project and OMA's Algiers hotel, plus it reminded me of the undulating plane question I posed to Sarah Whiting at Inside Density. Again, it seems that my own design ideas are right in sync with the latest "moderns," but I so far don't have proof that how I design is right there because there are no drawn out designs of what is in my mind or somewhere in my notes.
I seriously have to begin executing and displaying my designs. For example, I already have the mesh work Laguna study model, and the idea to reenact Bilbao along the Schuylkill River.
4. there is also the new idea of rotate-extruding building sections; I was particularly thinking of extruding the Firminy sections, but actually the sections can be from any building (like Hurva). A building composed of a number of various extruded sections could be extremely innovative.

The Architecture of Being [FOG]
Architecture projects:
a. Go Go Home museum - distorted but planer shapes collaged and the planes have mesh perspectives applied; then extrude-rotate any portions of the elevation mesh, thus creating further (novel?) architectural deformities.
b. World Trade Center NY tower addition.
c. low income infill housing - Francisville site.
d. Independence Mall.
e. graffiti walls for Philadelphia parks or Philadelphia Graffiti Museum (better idea).
f. Stenton or Ryress addition, or some other obscure historic structure, or an installation at Memorial Hall. g. Altes Museum Hyper Mural.
h. pedimental sculpture designs for the PMA.
i. an Art School for Girard College.
j. Corporate offices for Ebony magazine (ebony chairs @ Girard College)
k. Buddha tooth temple - a new design.
l. parent's house in Southwest Africa. m. house for a couple encrytomology experts - very rich.
n. suburban sprawl master plan (?)
o. Casino Collagio, Las Vegas.
p. Wavelength Casino and Hotel, Atlantic City.
q. house in West Cape May.
r. Manly Beach house.
s. Beverly Hill's mansion (?) - faux-faux?
t. Temple University Architecture school.

Diptych: architecture and thinking twice
The next step will be to conceptualize what kinds of images will also be in Diptych. Of course, many (if not most) will be cad drawings, and I'm straight off thinking that I want to create all kinds of new "buildings" via collage, mesh surfaces, rotation extrusions, design developments.

2000.07.17 15:01
Re: 3 things architecture (websites) should do
I'm interested in provideing a place for content, especially content that can't be gotten anywhere else. The look is incidental, and changes at my discretion.

cad play -- Quondam Ludi
After my initial setup and play with the "Bilbao Affect" last night, which almost immediately demonstrated promising and playful results...

data filters
I've found that the best defense against "drowning in protoinfo" is to manifest one's own (hopefully triumphant flow of) content -- simply a matter of toggle switching from passive voice to active voice. Drowning becomes less of a danger once you're part of the current.

the new Quondam
...tapping into the "virtual's" greater potential, that being the ability to create something completely other in all respects. It's like the more unreal I make Quondam, the more something really other it becomes.

Bilbao "Affect" 001
Ichnographia Quondam.
project: The Working Title Museum
site: east bank of the Schuylkill River, Quondam

Learning from Lacunae: a progressive inquiry of the acquisition of knowledge via reflection on what is not there

dtm - new work
I (finally) got around to wireframing the mesh surfaces generated earlier this year, and I also deleted virtually all of the earliest surfaces I generated because they were mostly overwrought with grid quadrants and not very modular. I'm utilizing the freeze triangle command (with edge display = 1) to generate the wireframe lines, and the process is very effective and not at all tedious. That is the main reason that I'm going to focus on mesh surfaces over the next few days, because I can now compile a library of many wireframe surfaces. I also streamlined the surface generation process on the old system by using sketch lines instead of spline lines.

Ichnographia Quondam: agenda
Part of the reason for getting a collection of mesh surfaces organized is to then begin further work on the Working Title Museum within IQ.

Re: collision architectures
Reintroduce collision architecture from early 1997 at the new Quondam. This time, however, along with the original presentation, there will also be a new, more vivid set of images (perhaps many in animation). After newly deforming and colliding Savoye and Weber, record the results from various angles.

Frei Otto and Free Otto Architectures
...present pictures of the 1972 Olympics site next to captured images of the rotate extruded forms...
"the free ottopology of Ottopia" ...relates to the dexterity and schizophrenia of rotated surface extrusions, at least my version of the phenomenon and data manifestation...
...the notion of hypersurface versus a new hyperform architecture...

...a very real and indeed interactive architectural novel...

2. mesh surface "sculptures" up and down the Parkway.
3. mesh surfaces "bonded" via "walls", "towers", and "floors", etc., e.g., Hejduk architecture ideas; new typologies.
4. Quondam model collection Interrotta.
5. an orbital Ichnographia Campi Martii?

Architecture's Duchamp.
The ongoing (progressive) history of the circle-square juncture.
A digital collage architecture publication...
The Architecture of Virtual Eventuality

being [an] architectur[al] Duchamp . . . living in a large 3D painting, in a hyper painting, being in a hyperzone, within an environment of many unknown factors . . . "the working title museum" . . . how people will buy their art and architecture in the future . . . Rita Novel Tea [room] - a book of cult fiction . . .

2000.10.05 21:21
Re: architectural photography
I think architectural photography is extremely valuable when the architecture in photographs no longer exists but in photographs.
Just over three years ago I went to photograph Venturi & Rauch's big BASCO 'sign' building. The building was then derelict, and I took many 'unflattering' snapshots, e.g., lots of empty beer bottles and a plump vinyl lounge chair provideing an interesting domestic tableau just behind the big 'A'. Alas the film did not develop at all, and hence no photographic record and just a memory for me. Almost exactly a year later I returned to BASCO to take pictures again, however, the big letters were that time completely gone. I turned out to be the person informing Venturi's office of the loss.
The point is that 1) many buildings today change radically in short periods of time, therefore ALL photographic records (not just the flattering ones) are important items in understanding the 'life' of architecture most fully, and 2) a photograph of a building that once was but is no more is perhaps the easiest form of virtual architecture invented thus far.

2000.10.07 12:18
non-Euclidean geometry
Non-Euclidean geometry, that term oft-used but not exactly understood by many of today's non-orthogonally 'inclined' architects and theorists, stems from the many age-old mathematical attempts to disprove one of Euclid's axioms:
"There was in particular one axiom, the axiom of parallels, which they disliked and attempted to eliminate. The axiom states that through a given point one and only one parallel can be drawn with respect to a given line; that is, there is one and only one line that does not ultimately intersect with a given line and yet lies in the same plane." (from H. Reichenbach, The Rise of Scientific Philosophy, 1951.)
With the discovery that light does not travel in a straight line, the notion that parallel lines can then (eventually) intersect seems to disprove Euclid's parallel axiom.
Another aspect of non-Euclidean geometry is that the sum of the angles inside a triangle can add up to more that 180 degrees, but such triangles only truly exist when the area of the triangle is extremely vast, say a triangle created by connecting three galaxies.
Basically, it is still Euclidean geometry that governs what architects on Earth are capable of building.
As an aside, I remember reading that Gehry's office, when first dealing with designs that collaged many non-orthogonal surfaces and forms, resorted to 'descriptive geometry'.

2000.10.07 17:03
Re: geometry notes
Could it be that human perception of space may be non-Euclidean, but that human imagination has evolved (so far) in a very Euclidean manner?

2000.10.10 10:54
Plea for Euclid - some comments
Just read Cache's "Plea for Euclid" (in ANY 24) and here are some comments:
1. the outline of the history of Euclidean and non Euclidean geometry that Cache provides in the initial portion of the essay is virtually the same history available 50 years ago (e.g., "The Nature of Geometry" in Reichenback's The Rise of Scientific Philosophy). Without being explicit about it, Cache too seems to feel that the recent architectural (avant-garde) notion of using non-Euclidean geometry is in need of correction and clarification.
2. Cache briefly mentions the problems (often) encountered with CAD-CAM produced parts machined to extremely low tolerances that, when assembled on site, have difficulties fitting together. Cache has made a career as a CAD-CAM designer, so I believe anything he says on that subject is worth a listen. I found myself wondering whether architects should be taught more about physical world tolerances before learning about sophisticated geometries. I then also found myself thinking that by and large architects are trained to be extremely intolerant of anything that doesn't 'fit' properly. (Should the new schools of architecture be schools of tolerance?)
3. the latter half of Cache's essay provides a (so far) unique analysis of the 'natural' geometric deformities that CAD-CAM engenders, and it is here the 'plea for Euclid' comes through. Essentially, Cache finds that all kinds of strange and unexpected geometries manifest themselves within the very Euclidean system of CAD-CAM.
4. In the end, it is interesting that Cache very much advocates a study of 'parallels'.

2000.10.16 19:10
baroque (cyber?) theater
The following is a passage I first read over 23 years ago. It comes from Timothy K. Kitao, Circle and Oval in the Square of Saint Peter's: Bernini's Art of Planning (New York: New York University Press, 1974), pp.22-23. I was reminded of this passage after some reflection upon the recent bit of cyber theater that occurred here a month and a half ago.
"In the well know production of the Due Teatri, first given in 1637, Bernini developed a simulated amphitheater of a very elaborate kind. This is, of course, the best known of Bernini's theatrical works, but a recapitulation is in order.
According to Massimiliano Montecuculi, who witnessed the performance, the stage was prepared with "a flock of people partly real and partly feigned" so arranged that, when the curtain had fallen for the opening of the play, the audience saw on the stage another large audience who had come to see the comedy. Two braggarts, played by Bernini himself and his brother Luigi, then appeared on the stage, one facing the real audience and the other the fictitious; and recognizing each other in no time, they went on to claim, each in turn, that what the other saw as real was actually illusory, each firmly convinced that there was no more than one theater with its audience in that half he was facing. The confusions of realities in mirror image thus heightened, the two firmly decided "that they would pull the curtain across the scene and arrange a performance each for his own audience alone." Then the play was performed to the real audience, that is, the main act to which that preceded was only a present prelude. But through the play another performance was supposed to be taking place simultaneously on the second stage introduced by Luigi; the play was, in fact, interrupted at times by the laughter from those on the other side, as if something very pleasant had been seen or heard.
At the end of the play, the two braggarts reappeared on the stage together to reaffirm the "reality" of the illusion. Having asked each other how they fared, the impresario of the fictitious performance answered nonchalantly that he had not really shown anything but the audience getting up to leave "with their carriages and horses accompanied by a great number of lights and torches." Then, drawing the curtain, he displayed the scene he had just said he had shown to his audience, thus rendering complete the incredible reversal of reality and illusion to the confused amazement of the real spectators, who were now finding themselves ready to leave and caught in the enchanting act of feigning the feigned spectators."

2000.10.22 14:47
Re: AR:Evo Model (brown 2)
Is the more aesthetic problem, perhaps, the ongoing (generational?) process of institutionalize evasion itself? And hasn't the 20th century already well proven that humanity's artists now overwhelming treats art via what it COULD be rather than what it SHOULD be? And just maybe the biggest problem for architecture (and architectural aesthetics) today is its struggle making the methodological/critical shift for what should be architecture to what could be architecture.

2000.10.26 15:20
Baroque beginnings?
A. asks:
To repeat a previous question: who designed the Baroque? OR How did the Baroque arise (emerge)? Any takers?
S. offers:
I think Michelangelo's architecture (which was more or less a product of his late life) manifested tremendous 'new' inspiration for 16th -17th century architecture. The details of the Porta Pia and the wholly integrated articulation of the Sforza Chapel offer architectures completely unprecedented until that time, which in turn inspired new architectures. Likewise, the 'undulating' wall of St. Peter's no doubt became the new paradigm, especially considering that St. Peter's then (as now?) represented the ultimate place of worship. In simple terms, it is best to learn from the best.
To this day, I am intrigued by Michelangelo's fortification designs for Florence (some executed and otherwise recorded as plan drawings). They exhibit many proto-Baroque flourishes, and it is interesting to note the military connection.
"This places Michelangelo's fortification projects among the incunabula of modern military architecture, just at the most fluid and inventive moment in its history, at a time when experience had established no proven formula of design. Unlike the situation in other arts, the lessons of antiquity and of preceding generations were of little account; this is one of those rare events in the history of architecture when technological advances altered the basic precepts of design."
James Ackerman, The Architecture of Michelangelo (Penguin, 1970), p. 127.
I see architecture as the product of human imagination(s), and that is why I spend my time trying to figure out where human imagination comes from.

2000.10.27 12:43
Baroque ending (for sure)
Although most of the current discussion at architecthetics deals more or less with theorizing of how 'style' (might) come to be, generally how things/styles emerge, I nonetheless offer the following as an example of how (a) style ends, in this particular case the Baroque style.
The following is a passage I first read over 23 years ago. It comes from Thomas K. Kitao, Circle and Oval in the Square of Saint Peter's: Bernini's Art of Planning (New York: New York University Press, 1974), pp.22-23. I was reminded of this passage after some reflection upon the recent bit of cyber theater that occurred here at design-l [i.e., the email list I first sent this post to on 16 October 2000--design-l and architecthetics are the double theaters I play in] a month and a half ago.
"In the well know production of the Due Teatri, first given in 1637, Bernini developed a simulated amphitheater of a very elaborate kind. This is, of course, the best known of Bernini's theatrical works, but a recapitulation is in order.
According to Massimiliano Montecuculi, who witnessed the performance, the stage was prepared with "a flock of people partly real and partly feigned" so arranged that, when the curtain had fallen for the opening of the play, the audience saw on the stage another large audience who had come to see the comedy. Two braggarts, played by Bernini himself and his brother Luigi, then appeared on the stage, one facing the real audience and the other the fictitious; and recognizing each other in no time, they went on to claim, each in turn, that what the other saw as real was actually illusory, each firmly convinced that there was no more than one theater with its audience in that half he was facing. The confusions of realities in mirror image thus heightened, the two firmly decided "that they would pull the curtain across the scene and arrange a performance each for his own audience alone." Then the play was performed to the real audience, that is, the main act to which that preceded was only a pleasant prelude. But through the play another performance was supposed to be taking place simultaneously on the second stage introduced by Luigi; the play was, in fact, interrupted at times by the laughter from those on the other side, as if something very pleasant had been seen or heard.
At the end of the play, the two braggarts reappeared on the stage together to reaffirm the "reality" of the illusion. Having asked each other how they fared, the impresario of the fictitious performance answered nonchalantly that he had not really shown anything but the audience getting up to leave "with their carriages and horses accompanied by a great number of lights and torches." Then, drawing the curtain, he displayed the scene he had just said he had shown to his audience, thus rendering complete the incredible reversal of reality and illusion to the confused amazement of the real spectators, who were now finding themselves ready to leave and caught in the enchanting act of feigning the feigned spectators."
Here's my analysis:
Of course, the Baroque style continued beyond Bernini--I believe even the double porticos of St. Peter's Square were done after the above performance. All the same, Bernini's theatrical performance manifests the Baroque's consummate ending. Within his double theater Bernini capsulized the beginning of Western culture's new bifurcation of the real and the illusory, introduced mirroring as a henceforth dominant Baroque (stylistic) theme, and, at base (or should I say at the ultimate end), inverted reality into a reenactment of its own illusory mirror (--is this perhaps also the genesis of historiography?).
Essentially, beyond the Baroque (and still often in our own modern times) architecture at its best is very sophisticated theater, keeping in mind that theater is one of the earliest forms of (man made) reenactment.

quick idea
New history of the Baroque (fortifications to double theaters).

[a] vanguardist reports 2001
The troops who march at the head of an army.
The leaders of thought, taste, or opinion in a field (as art, letters, or politics).
Hence, one who or that which is foremost.
Those who create, produce, or apply new, original, or experimental ideas, designs, and techniques in any field, especially in the arts.
A group (as of writers or artists) that is unorthodox and untraditional in its approach.
The predilection for or practice of intellectual or artistic experimentation.


Nicolas Poussin   The Arcadian Shepherds   1638
Et in Arcadia Ego
reality reenacting its own illusory mirror
double theater

Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini
Piazza San Pietro

2000.11.07 09:07
Baroque Intuition?
Alex states:
When in my previous post I rhetorically asked who had 'invented' or 'designed' the Baroque, I was somewhat shocked to see candidates actually being proposed for this mythical position.
Steve replies:
When I proposed Michelangelo as a place to look for the 'beginnings' [Alex's original rhetorical only asked about who 'designed'], I also particularly called out Michelangelo's fortification designs for Florence. In the almost two weeks since then I did some further reading/research on the fortifications. I read what Ackerman and Argan/Contradi offer, and I was surprised to learn that fortifications by Michelangelo were indeed executed, but in an impermanent fashion--packed dirt and straw--and did not stand up well to attack. Their only record today are Michelangelo's design sketches. Also surprising were the dates of the designs: 1528-29, i.e., before Michelangelo's mature [architectural] works in Rome. I was surprised because of the relative earliness within the 16th century--"is it possible that there were Baroque 'beginnings' so early in the 16th century?"
I also took a more careful look at Michelangelo's fortification designs, of which there are several dozen drawings, and, in purely design terms, they are indeed extremely (i.e., at the beginning of a alpha-omega polarity) Baroque.
I then looked through The Timetables of History, a reference book that chronologically lists events year by year. There I found that the Sack of Rome occurred in 1527 and is "referred to as 'End of the Renaissance'." Now I was very intrigued by what was going on politically and socially in Italy at that time, and did further reading throughout Encyclopedia Britannica. For example, the Marxist view of the end of the Renaissance calls out Luther's "protests" of 1517. In any case, very unstable times for the Roman Catholic Church, 'the' Establishment.
History is both a collective and an individual collection of occurrences, especially in terms of design.
On 27 October 2000, I posted a "Baroque ending"--a double play by Bernini first performed in 1637, again a very early date and closer to what is generally termed the beginning of the Baroque. In The Timetables of History, I found that Poussin painted The Arcadian Shepherds (Et in Arcadia Ego) in 1638 and in Rome! This surprised me because I always viewed that particular painting as holding strong Romantic and Neo-Classical evocations--again a date much earlier than I expected.
I stated that Bernini's play capsulized Western cultures new bifurcation, so what was this new split? The fact that the Roman Catholic Church was no longer 'believed' to be the harbinger of the 'true' reality throughout Europe is now on one side and the Roman Catholic Church's now mostly violent (albeit sanctimonious) insistence that they were still the 'true' reality is on the other side. Europe, between roughly 1528 and 1637 was very much a bloody double theater.
The above is only a very basic outline of a (new) thesis (for me) that the essential Baroque occurred between 1528 and 1637. There are many more factors to consider and research, e.g., the rise of French political and cultural 'power' during the same period. I realize that the [so-called?] Mannerist period occurred within the early half of what I now propose as the Baroque's essential 'period', but I also propose that architecture after 1637 is reenactionary, specifically reenacting the Baroque 'play'.
Does it help to be 'baroque' when analyzing the Baroque?

2000.11.07 10:20
Re: two for the road
I like what you say about not recalling "another film that, structurally, collages space and time in that particular way." Two for the Road does indeed collage space and time, but I was never sure how unique its particular method of cinematically doing so might be. In any case, it's worth noting that the collage here very effectively relates a narrative, specifically a 'modern' life narrative. Is the film's "collage of space and time" a (romantic) reflection (i.e., mirror) of modern life itself?
Could it be that the age old narrative journey motif's (Homeric epic) modern replacement is the narrative 'vehicle' motif?

inconsistencies and hyperboles?
Thanks for your replies. I now have a better understanding of your evolutionary theory of architectural styles, and for that I'm grateful.
I'll add a few comments, however.
1. I agree that historians will never really know what an artist was thinking, and to that end whenever I analyze historically I try to give exact textual reference and/or make it clear that what I say is my opinion/interpretation (hopefully with some basis). Nonetheless, there is that (exciting) element about historical research that is akin to being a detective finding clues and then 'fabricating' a possible or likely scenario. Moreover, it is more and more the historian's job today to search out and correct the mistakes of previous historians (a kind of Baroque activity?).
2. I'd like to be on the record for proposing that in essence the Baroque involved: a) a bifurcation of reality and illusion, b) pervasive mirroring (figuratively and literally), and 3) reality reenacting its own illusory mirror. For now I'm working on the premise that the combination of these three attributes is mostly unique to the Baroque. [I am not asserting, however, that the artists of the Baroque were actively thinking about the combination of the three attributes when creating their works. I'm simply calling out a (distinct?) pattern that (for me at least) is there.]
3. Please consider my contributions to the recent discussion as addressing the notion of emergence of style as opposed to the invention of a style. [Although, I have to again stress that there really is a lot of invention going on within the designs of Michelangelo's fortifications of Florence.]
4. I'm going to venture into some new activity at architecthetics, and that is to outline and ruminate on the beginnings of Christian Church architecture and specifically the (very possible) role that Flavia Julia Helena Augusta (the mother of Constantine, St. Helena) played within those beginnings. I'll be sporadically sending posts that are more notes than polished texts, and the intention is simply to share the information I've gathered as well as invite comments and questions.

vehicles of symbolism?
Since beginning this "vehicle" film thread, it has dawned on me that when "vehicles [in films] are both very literal and very symbolic, and, moreover, it is the seamless transition from literalness to symbolism that the vehicles deliver," that this phenomenon is much akin to the notion of the medium simultaneously being the message.

Alex wrote:
Where is this 'immaterial' realm where the circle exists? I would like to make contact with it…….. It is worth noting that these 'perfect' shapes: circle (sphere) or cube or pyramid, etc. do not exist in nature. (The Earth, for instance is an oblate spheroid in other words, a sphere fattened at the equator). I am reminded here in Paul's thinking of Ptolemaic and Renaissance astronomies. They thought planets revolved in pure Pythagorean spheres (with musical accompaniment.) It took Kepler and Newton to show them they were wrong: the ellipse was the answer. Anyway, these perfect shapes do not exist other than as idealizations in peoples minds.
Steve comments:
While I agree with Alex about there really being no 'perfect' shapes in actual existence, I nonetheless can't help but believe that the real 'inspiration' for the perfect circle comes from the pupils of our very own eyes. Who knows, it might even be the physical 'perfection' of our sight perception organ that somehow makes our brains/minds think ideals exist in the first place. Kind of like the medium being the message.

Domestic - playing with all the domestic architecture at Quondam.
Quondam Muses or Musarum Muses - museum play using Quondam's museum collection.

perhaps not OTHERWISE EYES, but promenade architecturale
...believe it would be wiser to take a single topic and develop it to the fullest. The topic I'm thinking of starting with is the "promenade architecturale." The following is an initial outline to proceed with working on the "promenade architecturale" documentation:
1. collect all notes on the subject.
2. collect all web pages on the subject (Not There, letters to India).
3. collect all the CAD graphics and models relative to the subject (Monzie, Savoye, Strasbourg, Danteum, Cologne, Altes Museum, Düsseldorf(?)).
4. collect all material on the Campo Marzio triumphal way.
5. review Plattus' text on the Roman Triumph.
6. working title: from triumphal way to promenade architecturale?.
7. the triumphal way formula nicely matches the promenade architecturale formula.
8. web searches on The Divine Comedy.
9. construct the Altes Museum rotunda, construct the Campo Marzio triumphal way in 3D.
...several further ideas/areas of research to pursue:
1. excerpts from Livy and Plutarch on Romulus.
2. web search Nero and his triumph (in Suetonius).
3. search Eusebius for Constantine's triumph October 29, 312.
4. my triumphal arch as triumph over gravity idea.
5. is Bernini's Scala Regia a transition from triumphal way to promenade architecturale?
6. might there be something in The City of God Against the Pagans that relates to a triumphal way or an ascending promenade?
7. the "Rape of the Sabines" as a prelude?
8. end with the triumphal way of Diana and thereby end with the notion of reenactment.
9. title: Quondam Eventualities: Triumphs, Promenades and Reënactments.

context (Quondam thinking?)
Whenever I read about architecture and context I can't help but automatically recall my architectural education at Temple University, Philadelphia, 1975-81. Temple's architecture program was then in its infancy (begun 1973), and the faculty were largely either/and/or students of Louis Kahn, former employees of Louis Kahn, current or former employees of Romaldo Giurgola (Mitchell/Giurgola Architects), or employees at Venturi and Rauch Architects. Besides that 'august' lineage, what impressed my design thinking most was the issue of designing with respect to context, indeed I'd say that that notion was the touchstone of my entire formal architectural education. [I also have a strong independent streak when it comes to continually self educating myself architecturally, and my subscribing to Oppositions throughout the late 1970s through the early 1980s--I have all 26 issues except nos. 1 and 3--is just one example of that. Oppositions was never required reading at Temple U. while I was there.]
I now want to make a bold statement regarding (the evolution of?) contextualism and architecture:
What is probably the best example of Philadelphia architecture from the 1990s happens to not be in Philadelphia at all, rather it is in London, namely the Sainsbury Wing addition to the National Gallery by Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, Philadelphia.
I have never been to London, but I know the Sainsbury Wing fairly well via publications, plus, and here's the beginning of my point, I almost viscerally understand all the 'contextual' design idioms and eccentricities because they are, and the building as a 'whole' is, a consummate example of (questionably labeled post-modern) Philadelphian contextual architectural design thinking. I'm not suggesting that Philadelphia has some sort of propriety when it come to designing architecture contextually in the late 20th century, rather that there is a uniqueness to Philadelphia's 'brand' of contexturalism (indeed retrospectively related to Rowe's thinking, but clearly distinct nonetheless mostly because of Giurgola and Venturi who both taught at the University of Pennsylvania at the same time that Kahn taught there). What's wonderful about the Sainsbury Wing is that as a program and site it boiled down to being almost entirely about designing in context, and, with Venturi and Scott Brown as the competition winners, they were given the opportunity to do, in a sense, a 'hyper' contextual building, i.e. dealing with both London (and even royal) contexts as well as Philadelphia's theoretical architectural 'contexts'.
I'm going to be even more bold by suggesting that the Sainsbury Wing is not so much 'post-modern' design, rather very good 'post-imperial' design. Isn't the UK still more specifically operating within a post-imperial milieu (as a childhood stamp collector of the 1960s I'm very aware of exactly how and when the British Empire ended) and isn't Philadelphia the foremost post-imperial city when it comes to the British Empire--site of the Declaration of Independence and all that? I actually think the world of architecture is extremely fortunate to have an iconic post-imperial building in a post-imperial capital transplanted there by architects from the Empire's proto post-imperial city.
[Earlier, when the discussions here centered on evolution versus invention of style, I wanted to introduce the notion of Venturi's role vis-à-vis POMO, specifically the publication of Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, which is based almost entirely on the early 1960s architectural theory course that Venturi taught at the University of Pennsylvania (in Philadelphia, founded by Benjamin Franklin). Essentially, I wanted to raise the question as to what influence the Philadelphia 'context' had on 'Post-Modern Architecture'. If you asked me, I'd say the influence was indeed seminal, and Venturi's Mother's House (Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, a 15 minute ride from where I'm presently sitting as I write this) had a great deal to do with the earliest manifestation (dare I say invention?) of what has come to be labeled Post Modern Architecture.]
I'm going to table the issue of what exactly Philadelphia contextualism is in specific terms of style, and instead ask all you that can readily visit the Sainsbury Wing to go there next time with the thought that you are going to a truly Philadelphian building because the style you'll see there is, like I said, an example of Philadelphia architecture at its best. If you don't know Philadelphia itself, and/or are not too familiar with Philadelphia's indigenous architecture, I'd suggest concurrently looking at (any book on) the architecture of Frank Furness (1839-1912), the sort of ur-architect of Philadelphia uniqueness and perhaps Venturi's strongest stylistic influence.
Like Venturi and (almost) Kahn, I am a Philadelphia native (although I'm also the only member of my immediate family born in America), and I've sort of made Philadelphia context an integral part of my life, e.g., I've been living in the same Philadelphia house for almost 43 years, all but the first 20 months of my life). As much as Philadelphia is often called the cradle of democracy, a kind of New World Athens, at base (i.e., literally infrastructurally) Philadelphia is a Roman colonial camp reenactment (and you might even put camp in quotes, a la Learning from Las Vegas via Philadelphians). Philadelphia's original plan is a Roman grid complete with a real cardo and a real decumanus, and the plan is still very much intact today. Indeed, Broad Street, the north-south axis is the longest straight street (in an urban context) in the world, an ultimate cardo, primary axis if there ever is one (and Stauffer Hall, the site of Temple University's architecture program from 1973-1980 was right on Broad Street). I don't have to tell all of you how much I look to/at Rome, but I should mention that the main reason I started redrawing and studying Piranesi's Campo Marzio (and all the subsequent ancient Roman studying being done like on St. Helena) is because I was inspired by the fact that Louis I. Kahn, throughout his mature years, had a copy of Piranesi's Campo Marzio plan hanging on the wall over his desk at his office (on Walnut St. in downtown Philadelphia, and no I'm not suggesting that Kahn was some kind of 'wall nut'). After Learning from Las Vegas, Venturi next published a group of essays under the title A View from the Campidoglio, and just a few years ago it dawned on me that when one is actually standing at the Campidoglio in Rome, the view being taken in is literally Rome's Campo Marzio. I'm going to make one final bold statement here, and that is to ask you to now trust me when I say that I continue to see what some of Philadelphia's best architects looked at.

Palais des Congrès scale changed into mega hotel proportions plus collaged with other Le Corbusier models (that are scale distorted as well).

the stillness of Ulysses' gaze

architecture movements
Here's a list of just some of my favorite architecture movements:
The Altar from Pergamom to Berlin.
The Temple of Abu Simbal to higher ground.
Domitian's Naumachia dismantled to repair the fire damaged Circus Maximus.
The spiral columns from Greece to San Pietro Vaticano.
Cedar Grove from Frankford to Fairmount Park (Philadelphia).
Aldo Rossi's Teatro del Mondo floating into the Venetian lagoon.
...and my most anticipated architecture movement:
The Elgin Marbles returning to the Acropolis.

errors in "speaking architecture"
And I now wonder whether it might be more worthwhile to seek a language of architecture where the medium is the message, or is such a 1=1 language the same as "a language of architecture that goes beyond appeals to a metaphorical sense of 'language'?"

Learning from Lacunae
...introduce new mysteries while solving old ones.

Quondam Wavelengths -- more on
4. play with and display the latest collection of mesh surfaces.



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