Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I'm not sure how I feel about it. I support it as a matter of principle and I admire the design features which make it climate appropriate (big roof, the right number of windows, compact footprint). It stands a good chance of being around in 250 years, if Seattle is, at any rate--don't they have a semi-active volcano nearby?
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Architecture is still so far from a science that terms like "building science" make me smile. Science is not about absolute predictability, but through the efforts to accumulate information from many events, greater clarity can be achieved about the probable outcome of events. Architects delight in making outrageous claims and there is very little follow-up in our profession. Insurance companies, however, take a harder look at building performance during events like the one we are about to experience. I hope I'm not a statistic.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Post edited--Towers of Ilium would like to apologize for spelling and grammar errors in recent posts. The people responsible have been sacked.
Saturday, August 20, 2011
But, we make it work, because we humans are adaptable and complacent.
Friday, August 19, 2011
on it also.
As a story, I think it's cracked--full of plot holes, inconsistencies and a generally implausible narrative. Harrison Ford looks confused, but he plays it. Even so, it's better than the Philip K. Dick original story, which is just completely messed up and nearly unreadable.
But, Blade Runner is about the architecture of a future, and not a very pleasant one at that. The film manages to create a simultaneous effect of overwhelming scale and insanity provoking claustrophobia--all in the same scene. I've only seen it on the big screen once, and it was an eye opener for me. I'm worried that Scott will go CGI crazy in his planned film. The temptation to add visual clutter is overwhelming, and the ultimate effect could be boredom.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I've travelled to ground zero a few times since the attack and it's been hard for me to visualize what could, or should go there. When I was in N.Y. back in the 90's I never bothered to make a trip down there so I have no frame of reference to compare what they're building to what used to be there. It is very much Manhattan--big buildings, busy streets, people walking with a sense of purpose.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Thursday, August 11, 2011
I am critical of WalkScore's methodology and results. Their algorithm seems to catalogue the relative density and diversity of public and private amenities like schools, shops, banks, hair salons, as measured from a fixed zip code datum. This zip code datum, which generalizes and condenses the broad sweep of a geographical human settlement into a convenient, fixed point, is biased towards any major type of population center. Houston, Texas and Dayton, Ohio are considered walkable communities, and if you have a residence near the downtown area, then this is true. However, most people do not live near the "main drag" where most businesses and public resources are located. This is especially true for Quincy, where several commercial clusters dominate certain arteries and the major blocks of residential neighborhoods, consisting of one and two family dwellings, surround these amenity zones. A ten minute walk from my house lets me get to a multitude of amenities, but I still own, and to a certain extent, depend on an automobile.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Complete social collapse has been the subject of many good books, ranging from Gibbon's treatise on the Roman Empire to Jared Diamond's aptly titled Collapse. While both are subject to endless criticism, they force us to confront the issue of social and institutional mortality. Absent a rare event like an asteroid strike, most geological changes move at a far slower pace than human decision making. Even earthquakes and volcanoes, which have a devastating effect on architecture, have a limited scope, both in area and time. I believe that a strong culture can persist and prosper in a changing environment if they have a strong rule set. So, in effect, I'm blaming the Mayans for not doing more to preserve themselves when they had a long run of bad luck.
Now, since I live in a house that sits about twelve feet above sea level, I'm wondering what set of bad decisions I'm contributing to that could result in my turning into a penniless and starving refugee, struggling to survive while everything falls apart around me.
The next post will be more slightly more cheerful.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
I find it beautiful, and I'm not sure what the future holds for this place. As I write this, there is unrest in London, which I would like to believe is a consequence of the government's disengagement with its younger citizens. Would it make a difference if some of them lived here? What would they do?
Update: The quarry is in Devon, and near Princetown. Classic moor country. Also, my claims about the predominance of forested land over history are completely unsubstantiated. The only valid claim is that there is a high probability that various human activities regularly deforested the British Isles multiple times over a period of three thousand years.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
What I like most about it is that it proves how versatile sheds can be. A row of columns and a roof can give you both a functional and beautiful building. I've read in places that we haven't quite settled on the perfect form for the airport terminal. I think that is an unfair criticism because all transportation buildings suffer from a philosophical transience. At some point they get worn out and it makes sense to build fresh. More work for the profession.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Meanwhile, folks on submarines put up with a lot less space.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
I am deeply skeptical of any architectural pre-fab solution. The issues of scale and joinery details tend to overwhelm any benefits associated with the cleverness of the design. And, as always, what about the site-work? Every project I've ever been associated with or seen or read about has had sitework issues that dominate the schedule, the budget and the initial and final architectural solution.