ruminations about architecture and design

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

if you want objectivity, buy a fish

After months of excited cheerleading and promotion of the Boston Olympics bid, the Boston Globe has turned on the organizing committee with a fierce vengeance. The tragic arc of this journalistic idiocy is all too typical. The circus is coming, the circus might be coming, it will be great, fun for the family, the circus is late, the circus is composed of drunks, child abusers, dope addicts, and thieves, the circus is evil, thank God the circus isn't coming.

Towers of ilium maintained a skeptical stance on the 2024 bid. Our editorial staff prides itself in not shooting from the hip or using too many common expressions or turns of phrase. Our work is fresh, original, and carefully researched.

The Olympics venture is exposing weaknesses--and not just in the infrastructure of the city or the poorly conceived and badly presented plans from the committee, but in the ability of Boston to articulate a vision of its capacity as a city.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

shopping for ted kennedy on columbia point

Towers of ilium places some value on first impressions. Not a lot, but a little, and sometimes, a little can make a big difference. The walk from the parking lot to the front door of the Edward Kennedy Institute is a little long. The efforts by Rafael Vinoly are appropriately discrete, and the open feeling of the building is refreshing. It has elements that resemble a strip mall, and other retail experiences. There's nothing wrong with that--it's America. Why should a person have to climb a flight of stairs and pass through columns to experience government?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

eichler is not greene and greene

Towers of ilium doesn't trust Eichler. He was not Greene and Greene. He was not Frank Lloyd Wright. His brand of ranch housing is overblown and uneconomical. If you need a ranch house, don't hire an architect, unless you want a ranch house that looks like a Cape. Or a bungalow. Bungalows work well. Towers of ilium receives funding from the Bungalow Association of America.

wednesday bonus post-in colour

A small bulldog guards its castle in the middle of an Beckett inspired wasteland.

the last starfighter

Towers of ilium has still not made a decision as to whether or not the movie "Lucy" should be added to the list of architecture themed films. The committee is cool towards the idea, because although Luc Besson crafts a competent mix of action and religious jargon posing as science he never lets the scenes speak.

Should abbreviations be phased out? More on this later. NASA owns space, but ABAA is not a rock band from Scandanavia.

Friday, March 20, 2015

death in an afternoon

Michael Graves and Jon Jerde died within two weeks of each other. Thus, the icons of post-modern architecture are left orphaned. Who will carry the vision forward? Modernism is the defining aesthetic for commercial design. The delivery of construction projects demands a more direct approach that doesn't leave room for irony or whimsy.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

more graphic literacy tests

Eventually, architects will stop issuing formal drawings. This will be a good thing. Some paper copies of information will be retained for legal purposes, but their existence will be a function of cultural stupidity, not logic.

Towers of ilium contends that detailing in particular will be converted to a 3d representational medium within the next few decades. 2D information will persist as guide to 3d details. Internet maps are the basic analogy.

graphic communications

Quite appropriately, no graphic today. A picture is worth only as much as the view can recognize. The most effective graphics that towers of ilium employs often bear little resemblance to reality. The image does not have to be the truth, it merely has to tell it. In this respect, Pablo Picasso was partly correct. Art is not a lie, it is a narrative that cannot be disassociated from context.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

balancing a mattress on a bottle of wine

Towers of ilium is adopting a reporting posture of quality over frequency and quantity. In a perverse analogy, Daesh/ISIL/ISIS employs the same strategy. They selectively display actions that cause the greatest impact in the media. This has the effect of distracting attention from outside forces that are supplying and supporting them. It also helps them conceal their weaknesses.

Their destruction of museum artifacts, and lately, of portions of the city of Nimrud, is sad and annoying. All of that antiquity is worth less than one human life. But, it may turn more opinion against them.