ruminations about architecture and design

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

delayed prediction market

Towers of ilium is considering reviewing some of its January predictions. Although this is a breach of protocol, 2015 is shaping up to be an interesting year. The following events are noteworthy:

-The detente with Cuba
-The agreement with Iran
-The Chinese stock market bubble and its eventual impact
-The drama of the 2016 presidential race
-The Boston Olympics bid debacle

This blog was only spot on about Cuba. Maybe about Jeb and Hillary. The larger issue is that all the pretty houses aren't big enough for all the idiots out there to stay dry in a thunderstorm. The Chinese economic crash will be better contained than the real estate/finance crash of 2008 by virtue of the fact that the Chinese are hardcore Keynesians.

Towers of ilium will stand by this prediction. In the line at the soup kitchen.

Monday, July 27, 2015

goodbye, mr. anderson

The breaking news this afternoon was the death of the Boston 2024 Olympics bid. More credible news sources will be all over this story; towers of ilium will stick strictly to the opinions.

-It was doomed from the start. Even if the proponents had been more tactful in the their approach, the weaknesses of the city would have manifested themselves.

-The Widett circle development proposal will probably go nowhere. Too many eggs in one basket to attract a serious party that could manage the construction and handle the long payoff.

-Mayor Walsh is politically weaker. Baker is stronger. No one else is really impacted.

-Some of the renderings were pretty. It was old school design--architecture masquerading as urban planning.

Monday, July 20, 2015

25 years of more accessible design

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990--legislation that was passed with the help of Ted Kennedy and Bob Dole--ushered in an era of objective, results oriented architecture. The great lie of Modernism was functionality. The ADA, which has no aesthetic agenda, created a functional framework for public space that is now deeply ingrained in the design profession. You can't put steps at the front door of a building. (Well, you can, but you need to have a ramp also)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

japan tries to avoid sunk cost fallacy

This will remain a rendering.

The fact that Zaha Hadid lost the commission for the Tokyo Olympics stadium will not have much effect on the trend toward sci-fi architecture in certain venues. Although boxes still dominate building design and construction, the curvy lunacy of our computer mad age will continue to beguile well-funded clients.

Apple, meanwhile is quite happy with their sunk costs in their new California headquarters. What company will be occupying it in 25 years? Towers of ilium predicts not Apple.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

joel kotkin and the political status of the suburb

This article by Joel Kotkin is worth reading.

He uses the term "forced densification" to describe the means and goals of the New Urbanists, modern planners, ULI, and other shadowy forces of the hipster elite when it comes to dealing with the enemy. The enemy, of course, is the  detached single family home that is the aspirations of most Americans.

Towers of ilium, despite its architectural leanings--which demand that all humans live in concrete skyscrapers--is an introspective fan of the suburb. The suburb is democracy. A house is not just a symbol of success, it is the logical extension of a shelter method that is most consistent with our biology. Humans are hive and herd oriented up until the point when we need some elbow room for individual activities.

Monday, July 6, 2015

small is relative

Yotel is in the process of planning a hotel with small rooms for a site in the Seaport District of Boston. Presumably, it will follow the model of a NYC Yotel that has rooms like that featured above-- 176s.f. shot with a wide angle camera lens. When did 176 s.f. become small, towers of ilium is forced to ask? Rooms that small--or that large--have been used as temporary lodgings for a long time.

The design feature that is intriguing is the location of the bathroom on the outside wall. Shower in solitude.