Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
This photograph conceals the true size of the complex. There are one story appendages that extend back from the front of the building and go on forever.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
I'm skeptical of the notion that the gender bias in the profession reflects innate abilities. Architecture involves listening to people, assessing needs, and applying a creative geometric solution with the appropriate materials. Anybody can do that, although a lot of folks who get into design mess up because they don't do well with the "listening to people" part of the equation. I'm also skeptical of the notion that forms and materials in a building can be assigned a gender. Gang achieved a sensuous beauty in the Aqua tower, but Saarinen did the same thing at Dulles Airport. Hadid and Libeskind use acute angles and tilted walls. Although oak panelling is associated with a man's study and pink walls are associated with a teenaged girl's bedroom, those are stylistic choices imposed by a cultural period.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
How did he draw like that? How do we know that they are buildings and not abstract sculpture?
One issue with his designs that gives credence to my claim that his work is unbuildable lies in the way that surfaces are portrayed as perfectly seamless. Building scale prohibits this effect except for a brief period immediately after the cladding is applied. From that point on, everything deteriorates. Modern buildings that look seamless are simply a collection of well-organized control joints. Mendelsohn's work captures the spirit of movement, but denies its impact at the level of the detail.
Friday, September 16, 2011
The devastation above was financed by deficit spending.
Monday, September 12, 2011
My favorite character in the movie is the city, and I think that few media can portray the architectural character of that era more effectively. New York was able to shrug off the ill effects of 9/11 with considerably less effort than the long degradation that was the hallmark of American urban centers in the 60's and 70's. But Shaft captures the inherent strength and fundamental beauty of Manhattan. Long streets flanked by solid, conservatively decorated buildings; storefronts catering to any human need; people and cars moving with a sense of purpose (my goodness! the cars, the cars are all the size of aircraft carriers....).
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I take a harsh point of view towards the architectural decisions that went into many works of "modern" architecture. As I get older, I am holding the architects of record less responsible for some of those mistakes.
I'm also unimpressed with the character of the new, formerly named "Freedom Tower" at the WTC site. Not so much because of its architecture, but because it was planned and designed with the same mindset that informed the original development. It's a more robust building, and will most certainly be a nicer place to work than what Yamasaki designed.
This photo shows the potential fate of all architecture. Whereas some ruins look glamorous and sublime, this is merely sublime. Or pointless, depending on your point of view.
Monday, September 5, 2011
Although the nuclear family house reflects an aspirational paradigm of the happy couple with two children and a dog and cat, the reality of this family dynamic is improved by having a minimum of 4 bedrooms so that in-laws can stay over more frequently to help with child-rearing.