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2002.09.30 15:51
moving architecture

Yoshimura Junzoo, Shofu-so (Nagoya /Philadelphia: American Japan Society of Tokyo, 1953-57).
This 16th century style Shofu-so (Pine Breeze Villa) was constructed at Nagoya, Japan in 1953, then disassembled and shipped to New York City for exhibit within MoMA's sculpture garden in 1954, then disassembled again and shipped to Philadelphia's Fairmount Park.
The "Japanese House and Garden" now within Fairmount Park really is a moving architecture, not just literally moving, but even more so a 'spiritually moving' place. One can't help but feel transported when there. The garden is especially beautiful in early May when the many, many azalea bushes are in bloom.
When I first visited the house in 1975 it was one of those places (in Philadelphia) that was rarely visited. There was a young 'hippie-ish' tour guide 'working' there then, and he admitted to spending most of his time there completely alone. He said he loved it though, especially on rainy days because that's when he opened up the entire wall of the house that faced the lake/pond in the garden, and that's when he sat in the middle of the main room's floor "taking it all in."

2003.01.09 10:31
I think there is an interesting correlation between the evolution of Frank Gehry's architecture and the evolution of Frank Stella's art. Neither does things just to be different. Rather, whatever 'style' is current is also a next step relative to what 'style' came before. Both artists have taken progressive steps with their works, steps that lead to ever freer use of form(s). Thus their 'expressionism' is not at all a free-for-all.
Judging from my own art/design experience/work, one has to know/do-it-by the rules in order to begin moving beyond the rules. And once you've gotten beyond the 'rules, then you work to understand the 'new rules' in order to begin understanding how to go beyond them. And on and on it goes.

2003.04.25 12:12
Re: liberty architecture moving to ground zero?
thread notes:
1. spending Easter with some Jews--it just so happened that when I visited Independence National Historic Park this past Sunday, Easter Sunday, there were several Jewish families (one Orthodox family from NYC for sure) also visiting Independence National Historic Park. Our schedules coincided, hence we visited the Liberty Bell and then Independence Hall together.
2. after visiting various sites within Independence National Historic Park and on the way back to my car I passed (again) in front of the Liberty Bell Pavilion. Since this was just after 4:00 in the afternoon, I witnessed a silent vigil for peace that several Quakers have been keeping in front of the Liberty Bell (Pavilion) every Sunday between 4 and 5 PM for a couple of months now. Somewhat surprisingly, the same Orthodox Jewish family that I went through the Liberty Bell Pavilion security checkpoint with more than two hours earlier was also witnessing the Quaker vigil at the same time. (Then I found that the same Jewish family was also going back to their cars (with NY license plates) which were parked several cars in front of my car on North 6th Street.)
3. Is July 4th 2003 to be the last Independence Day for the Liberty Bell Pavilion? Or is the Liberty Bell Pavilion somehow going to be "saved by the Bell" symbolism?
4. What do the first Stock Exchange of the USA and the Grosse Neugierde [a park pavilion at Schloss Glienicke, Berlin] have very much in common?
They both reenact the choragic monument of Lysicrates from ancient Athens.
The Merchant Exchange is designed by William Strickland, 1832, and the Grosse Neugierde is designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, 1835-37. Both designs represent an 'international style' of architecture at the time, specifically a style of architecture "learning from" the then recent French documentation of ancient Greek architectures/sites [sic most likely inspired by the Gran Durand], and hence seen as symbolic of democracy. The Grosse Neugierde now stands at the quondam West Berlin end of the famous Glienicke Bridge where spies were exchanged during the Cold War. The Merchant Exchange, all clad in what looks like and probably is King of Prussia marble, first stood as a beacon for the early commerce of the USA, and today houses the National Park Service's offices of Independence National Historic Park.
from A Handbook of Architectural Styles translated from the German of A. Rosengarten by W. Collett-Sandars:
"Of a less ambitious class were those monuments erected in hounor of the victorious choragus in musical competitions. In these structures the tripod, as the reward of victory, was borne in mind. An instance of this style of building is preserved to us in the choragic monument of Lysicrates which was famously known under the name of the Lantern of Demosthenes..."
5. There are a few other examples were Strickland/Philadelphia architecture coincides with Schinkel/Berlin architecture.
6. The ever evident fact that all buildings function as symbols is something that will never actually be quondam.

2003.04.26 14:53
Re: liberty architecture moving to ground zero?
Paul, your perspective of Schinkel given from the viewpoint of an early 21st century Berliner(?) is interesting. As you attest, the symbolism of Schinkel and his buildings is still very present, and will probably remain present for a long time to come. If Philadelphia were ever bombed and virtually destroyed like Berlin has been, I doubt Strickland the architect, for example, would be evoked as a symbol (either guiding or misguiding) when considering the rebuilding of Philadelphia. Ground Zero, however, has been destroyed like Berlin, and isn't it interesting that a "Berlin" architect is now the architect of Ground Zero?
A comparative study of the work of Schinkel and his architectural contemporaries in America suggests a surprising early 19th century "international" style based on the newly documented architectures of ancient Greece--it was not until the Turks were militarily pushed out of the Greek mainland by Europeans in the late 1700s that these ancient buildings were re-discovered. The "liberation of Greece" was seen politically by the Europeans as another victory for democracy, and hence the ancient Greek style of architecture became a symbol of democracy, especially in the USA. Schinkel and his contemporaries were thus great reenactors, manifesting a real reenactionary architecturism.
Does any of this relate to, or help make sense of, or provide guidance for what is now going on at Ground Zero? Libeskind's design certainly harbors symbolism, a very late 20th century Jewish symbolism, and even a very late 20th century Berlin Jewish symbolism--Libeskind too practices reenactionary architecturism. Of course, this symbolism is not discussed/criticized for fear of its being seen as somehow anti-Semitic, yet the symbolism is there nonetheless. The expressed symbolism of the 1776 foot height of the GZ tower is hardly as real (as Brian as demonstrated, and especially if the USA ever goes metric). Will what is ultimately built at Ground Zero in anyway relate to the "liberation of Iraq"? [I have envisioned a large mosque at Ground Zero since 16 September 2001.]
Is an educated blindness to symbolism today's international architectural style?

2003.05.15 10:25
the art of being picky (I guess)
July 1985:
otherwise the self proclaimed "world wide manual of style"

2003.05.20 12:28
Re: cinematic style
All those that have trouble seeing reenactments as they exist in our modern times, please go to the movies. a movie is a movie is a movie? the brain is a mnemonic organ?

2003.06.25 15:31
top 5 movies with great architecture or regarding architecture
Atlantis the Lost Continent -- dream and nightmare all in one
Two For The Road -- the architect's wife style
The Ruling Class -- house and garden and Jesus
12 Monkeys -- been there, done that
Baghdad Cafe -- "where is za zenter?"

2003.08.28 12:50
Re: FW: Evolutionary theory and architecture
Regarding "evolutionary theory and architecture," there are some precedents that should be considered. For example, the works of J. N. L. Durand and Seroux 'Agincourt, both from the early 19th century, offer 'histories' of (art and) architecture that are (up until then) unique in their application, indeed a more 'evolutionary' approach towards classification.
Durand, in his Recueil et Parallele des Edifices de tout Genre - Anciens et Moderns, specifically categorizes the history of architecture (including non-Western examples) by type, but he also presents all examples drawn at the same scale, thus simultaneously rendering a history of architecture via comparative size.
Seroux 'Agincourt, in his Histoire de l'art par les monuments depuis sa decadence au IV siecle jusqu'a son renouvellement au XVI (The History of Art through its Monuments from Its Decadence in the Fourth Century to Its Renewal in the Sixteenth), attempts to document how (mostly Western) architectural style became decadent between the Roman Empire and the Renaissance, as if displaying all the mutations (Western) architecture went through until it again became 'classical'.
Both Durand's and Seroux 'Agincourt's tomes are not exactly easy reference books (to find/utilize) these days, and (at least to my knowledge) neither of the texts that accompanied the drawing plates have been translated into English. Durand's Recueil et Parallele was republished by Princeton Architectural Press in 1982 (or 1983), but without any text, and English translations of some of Seroux 'Agincourt's text(s) are available within Vidler's Writing of the Walls.
Quondam's collection holds a late 19th century German edition of Seroux 'Agincourt's architectural engraved plates, and the Princeton Architectural Press 1982 edition of Recueil et Parallele, and recently acquired (last month via ebay) a 1823 3 volume Italian edition of Recueil et Parallele, which is combined with work by Legrande and has Italian text (which I assume is in part a translation of Durand's original text).
Perhaps one could study/document the evolution of "evolutionary theory and architecture" itself. See an architecthetics post.

2003.08.29 10:37
Re: FW: Evolutionary theory and architecture
Alex: I agree. Any theory must be universally applicable. I am just using examples of the architecture that I happen to know. The Chinese will do the same for theirs.
Steve: So far, you have not used any examples of architecture (at least not within your posts here). There's lots of talk about (the science of) evolution, but relatively none about (specific) architecture. What are the "example of architecture that you happen to know?" Likewise, what are the architectural styles that you happen to know? Is it at least safe to say that you know close to nothing about Chinese architecture?
Jennifer Bloomer, when she wrote Architecture and the Text: The (S)Crypts of Joyce and Piranesi, demonstrates that she knows lots about Joyce/Finnegans Wake (probably because there is much already written on Joyce) and relatively nothing about Piranesi (except for what Tafuri had already [erroneously in the case of the Campo Marzio] written. The point being, know your architecture foremost before relating it to some other medium/system. I think it would actually help your theoretical investigation if you did take the time to list/categorize the architecture/styles you know. Of course, it will not be a complete set, but at least it will be the start of a set against which to work.

Re: FW Evolutionary theory and architecture
In response to Alex's posting:
1. I discovered the other printing of Piranesi's Ichnographia Campi Martii, something undetected by architectural theorists and historians for close to two and a half centuries. 2. I wonder how many brain cells it took to figure out the latest legend of St. Helena. 3. Alex, I too can list my credentials (and put down others) as a form of evading questions.
How much does architectural history have to henceforth change/evolve because there are now known to be two Ichnographia Campi Martii? Certainly, Wilton-Eli's and Ficacci' "Complete" Piranesi publications are actually not complete. Likewise, what Tafuri, Allen, Bloomer, Aitkens, and Eisenman wrote about Piranesi's Campo Marzio was done without knowledge of two Ichnographias--what good are theories if they are not based on correct history, ie, reality?
Alex, you started this thread with the statement, "In my continuing research into the history of architecture I am continually surprised by the lack of an adequate theory of change to explain the shift from style to style." It was my ongoing research of Piranesi's Ichnographia Campi Martii that unexpectedly led me to, and via Helena I found that architectural history so far lacked recognition of her predominant role in the empire-wide spread of Christian (church) architecture. Helena's 'building' activities coincided with Constantine's legalization of Christianity, and after Helena's death (c. 28 July 326), Constantine began a selective, but ongoing, outlawing/destruction of Pagan cults/temples--here architectural 'style' changed because of a very intentional metabolic, ie, simultaneous creative/destructive, process.
Aside from strictly religious (temple and church) architecture, the case can be made that classical Roman architecture, in general, reached its climax during the reign of Maxentius, and ended 28 October 312, when Maxentius lost his life in battle with Constantine at the Milvian Bridge--Maxentius became (usurpative) emperor of Italy and North Africa 28 October 306, and Constantine attributes his Christian conversion to events that occurred the eve of 28 October 312. The architecture built in Rome under Maxentius is of the utmost refinement, eg, the Circus of Maxentius manifests the most precisely designed of all Roman circuses. [Incidentally, the Circus of Maxentius plays a key role in the manifestation of two Ichnographia Campi Martii.] Records indicate that it may have been only a month after Constantine's triumph at the Milvian Bridge that the first Christian Basilica in Rome, first named after Constantine and today St. John Lateran, began construction. The architecture of Rome executed under Constantine (312-330) further includes (at least), St. Peter's at the Vatican, separate Basilicas of St. Lawrence, Agnes, and Peter et Marcellius, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (which is all that remains today of Elegabalus' Sessorian Palace, where Helena took up subsequent residence in Rome), the Arch of Constantine (which reused pieces of the Arch of Trajan), the Baths of Constantine, the Baths of Helena, and the Mausoleum of Helena (whose ruins exhibit construction very similar to the ruins of the great Constantinian Bath of Treves (Trier, 306-312), which were the largest Roman Baths outside Rome).
It is important to remember that during Constantine's 31 years as first partial and then sole ruler of the Roman Empire, the amount of time he actually stayed in the city of Rome amounts to only several months. [I'll have to check, but it appears that, when Emperor, Constantine spent the most time at Constantinople, and the second most time at Treves.] Nonetheless, the architecture of Rome (the city) began to change dramatically under his rule, and this is due to Helena's sustained presence in Rome. Moreover, Constantine can be credited with beginning the Byzantine 'style' when he ultimately moved the capital of the Roman Empire to a whole new and Christian city, Constantinople (founded 324 and dedicated 330).
By the end of the 4th century, Paganism was completely outlawed under Theodosius, and thus Pagan temples were no longer to be built.
The 'paradigm shift' from Pagan architecture to Christian architecture does not need a "theory of change" for it to be "coherently" explained. What it requires is a full knowledge of the history of the time when the change occurred.

2003.08.31 13:28
Re: Evolutionary theory and architecture
Going back to Alex's initial statement, "In my continuing research into the history of architecture I am continually surprised by the lack of an adequate theory of change to explain the shift from style to style. At the same time I have become increasingly aware of the power of evolutionary theory to explain the concept and mechanisms of change," I am curious which shifts from style to style are being referring to. Are they the shifts from Greek to Roman to Early Christian to Romanesque to Gothic to Renaissance to Mannerist to Baroque to Rococo to Neo-Classicism to Eclecticism to Modernism to Post Modernism to today's architecture? Furthermore, what exactly substantiates the claim that an "adequate theory of change" is lacking from the explanation of shifts from style to style?

2003.09.01 11:05
Re: Evolutionary theory and architecture very much got, and explained far better than I could, what I was trying to get at regarding Alex's "Evolutionary theory and architecture" proposal. A. may indeed be right about there being a lack in architectural history when it comes to explaining shifts from style to style (and this interests me greatly), but I'm not convinced so far that evolutionary theory (which ever one that may be) is the best(?) way to explain shifts from style to style.
Up until (more or less) the "International Style", architectures where very much linked to geography/locale and the politics(/religion) that comes with geography [--and here Norberg-Schulz's Meaning In Western Architecture offers good explanation]. Of course, European colonialism can be seen as an "internationalization" (or is it "globalization"?) of European/Western architecture precursing the "International Style," as well as the beginning of the eradication of many indigenous architectural styles throughout the world. Is this history best explained as evolutionary? Is the shift from Mayan architecture to Baroque architecture in Mexico, for example, something evolutionary? Not exactly survival of the fittest; more like survival of the one's with the guns and the greed, and, oh yes, the holy mission to spread the Christian faith.
Personally, I sometimes wonder whether Mayan architecture may have sometime/somehow played an influencing/inspiring role in terms of (particularly) Spanish Renaissance and Baroque architecture.



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