ruminations about architecture and design

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

design has no criteria

False! They shout. Design does not exist without a set of assumptions and desires. Its criteria is manufactured. It is fantasy and deception--in whole or part a futile attempt to predict and contain the future. And it succeeds, because design and evolution are similar in one crucial regard: Perfection is less important than function. A car works better than a horse 9 times out of 10. A house designed by an architect is only marginally better than one designed by an amateur.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

assumption markets

The recent flurry of posts does not signal a return to the golden ages of towers of ilium. There never was a golden age. Maybe 1966 and early '67.

Residential solar could turn out to be a big thing. Most houses have appliances and a rooftop solar array is just another appliance. That it can be purchased on an installment plan is something that will appeal to many homeowners. Buying things on a credit is the first sign that a culture has become suffused with optimism.

Oil prices will recover.

There is no contradiction between the comment about residential solar systems and our continued reliance on petroleum.

Friday, September 18, 2015

the reality of art

"Whichever technique he chooses, the architect's function is to propose a way of life...."

Thus spake British architect Peter Smithson. He designed the above--a fitting tribute to the corrupt awfulness of English culture. That the British managed to achieve the nadir of modern architecture is not much of a surprise.

What towers of ilium would like to dwell on here is not the absence of warmth or beauty in this blasted heath of an urban courtyard, but on the truth of Smithson's claim. All art is totalitarian and all artists are dictators. The stroke of the brush, the tap of the chisel, the mark of the pen, and the line on the computer are all authoritarian gestures.

autumn of content

Towers of ilium is all for progress; it's change we can't stand. This old version of the Google logo is being preserved on towers of ilium as a tribute to George Santana. Not the historian--and imaginary person who is charged with preserving strange bits of history.

Friday, September 11, 2015

the hard rain will continue through the weekend

The staff of towers of ilium took a long deserved vacation. How fitting that everyone is back to mark the memorial of this day.

When the towers fell.
When the president realized that he was very much in over his head.
When the vice president and his league of assassins realized they could start do some real damage.
When the strange prosperity and even stranger peace following the end of the Cold War came to a grinding halt.
When we all went on with our lives except for those who lost it, or were about to lose it, or their limbs, or their minds, or their souls.

And now, as is the custom every four years, we are in the midst of a great theatre to find a new leader. A leader who will take the pledge to use any means necessary.