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2004.05.15 08:43
REPORTAGE- Rhythm & Gender
Regarding Post-Modern Architecture and it's "origin", my first thought was of Jencks' reference of Lubetkin and Tecton's Highpoint II, Highgate, 1938.
Part three of Jencks' The Language of Post-Modern Architecture (1977), offers a fairly concise 'history' of architecture's seminal works that portend or indeed manifest a post-modernist style.
Some have argued that Venturi's Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966) is the primal manifesto of Post-Modern Architecture, while other's like to point out that Rossi's The Architecture of the City (also 1966) plays an equal role in shifting architecture theory/practice away from strict Modernism.
Post-Modernism in architecture was a much discussed and written about subject. Does it really matter as to what was the precise origin of the "movement"? It doesn't matter to me because official history is rarely as inclusive as it pretends to be.

2004.05.30 12:26
Re: Any idea ?
Vaughn, I'm curious about your comment that "the Black Mesa mine and power plant is a large portion of the juice that powers the bright lights and big city of Las Vegas." Do you know what other sources power Las Vegas? For example, I thought the power generated at Hoover Dam was the primary electrical source for Las Vegas, although I have to admit that I really only assumed that.
As to "BTUs and lifestyle", you've got me thinking, and I've come to the conclusion that a modern lifestyle doesn't even exist without abundant BTUs. Does this abundance simply make wastefulness too easy? Does the abundance make (most of) us otherwise oblivious to its actual source? Do the makings of an easier life(style) also make it easier to forget? I'm wondering whether the "hook" you elude to might not be found somewhere near the oblivion factor of 'our' electrified lifestyles.

2004.06.16 05:53
cloning architecture - a global search
I too was thinking of McMansions last night. Swarms of clones sprawling over the US suburban landscape. But notice too what these homes try so hard to reenact, essentially the 'lifestyle' of very wealthy people from quondam times.
Picking up on Helsinki's last sentence, it's interesting that the German word Schloss means 1. castle, palace; chateau, manor-house 2. lock.
On the Campo Marzio issue, I've (already) compiled a bibliography of architectural literature on Piranesi's large plan. Briefly, before Tafuri there is Fasolo in 1956 (who Tafuri in places reiterates, but he did not note any of the 1956 mistakes), and Scully on Kahn in 1962. Tafuri's Architecture and Utopia was first published in Italian in 1973, and his The Sphere and the Labyrinth was first published in Italian in 1980. Since 1980, most architectural writers have sprouted off the Tafuri branch, and there is only one architectural writer who, in 1981, began to sprout off Kahn's branch of investigation entwined with reenactment.

2004.07.20 11:46
19 July 326
[Sustainable architecture 4th century style.]
[Constantine visited] the Constantinian basilica [today's St. John Lateran] where he offered the following gifts: a ciborium of hammered silver, which has upon the front the Savior seated upon a chair, in height 5 feet, weighing 120 lbs., and also the 12 apostles, who weigh each ninety pounds and are 5 feet in height and wear crowns of purest silver; further, on the back, looking toward the apse are the Savior seated upon a throne in height 5 feet, of purest silver, weighing 140 lbs., and 4 angels of silver, which weigh each 105 lbs. and are 5 feet in height and have jewels from Alabanda in their eyes and carry spears; [or: which are each 5 feet in height upon the sides and carry crosses and weigh each 105 lbs. and have jewels from Alavanda in their eyes;] the ciborium itself weighs 2025 lbs. of wrought silver; a vaulted ceiling of purest gold; [or: the ciborium itself weighs 2025 lbs.; -- the ciborium itself, where stand the angels and the apostles, weighs 2025 lbs. of wrought silver;] and a lamp of purest gold, which hangs beneath the ciborium, with 50 dolphins of purest gold, weighing each 50 lbs., and chains which weigh 25 lbs.; [a lamp of purest gold beneath the ciborium with 50 dolphins and a chain which weighs 25 lbs.; -- a lamp of purest gold which hangs beneath the ciborium, with 50 dolphins, which weighs with its chain 25 lbs.;]
4 crowns of purest gold with 20 dolphins, weighing each fifteen lbs.;
a vaulting for the basilica of polished gold, in length and in breadth 500 lbs.;
7 altars of purest silver, weighing each 200 lbs.;
7 golden patens, weighing each thirty lbs.;
16 silver patens, weighing each thirty lbs.;
7 goblets of purest gold, weighing each 10 lbs.;
A single goblet of coral set all about with prases and jacinths and overlaid with gold, which weighs in all 20 lbs. and 3 ounces;
20 silver goblets, weighing each fifteen lbs.;
2 pitchers of purest gold, weighing each fifty lbs. and holding each 3 medimni;
20 silver pitchers, weighing each ten lbs. and holding each one medimnus;
40 smaller chalices of purest gold, weighing each one lb.;
50 smaller chalices for service, weighing each 2 lbs.;
For ornament in the basilica:
a chandelier of purest gold before the altar, wherein burns pure oil of nard, with 80 dolphins, weighing 30 lbs.;
a silver chandelier with 20 dolphins, which weighs 50 lbs., wherein burns pure oil of nard;
45 silver chandeliers in the body of the basilica, weighing each 30 lbs., wherein burns the aforesaid oil;
on the right side of the basilica 40 silver lamps, weighing each 20 lbs.;
25 silver chandeliers on the left side of the basilica, weighing each 20 lbs.;
50 silver candelabra in the body of the basilica, weighing each 20 lbs.;
3 jars of purest silver, weighing each 300 lbs., holding 10 medimni;
7 brass candlesticks before the altars, 10 feet in height, adorned with figures of the prophets overlaid with silver, weighing each 300 lbs.;
and for maintenance of the lights there he granted:
the Gargilian estate in the region of Suessa yielding every year 400 sol.;
the Bauronican estate in the region of Suessa, yielding 360 sol.;
the Aurian estate in the region of Laurentum, yielding 500 sol.;
the Urban estate in the region of Antium, yielding 240 sol.;
the Sentilian estate in the region of Ardea, yielding 240 sol.;
the estate of Castis in the region of Catina yielding 1000 sol.;
the estate of Trapeae in the region of Catina, yielding 1650 sol.;
2 golden pitchers, weighing each 10 lbs.;
5 silver pitchers, weighing each 20 lbs.;
a golden paten with a turret of purest gold and a dove, adorned with prases, jacinths and pearls, [white stones,] 215 in number, weighing 30 lbs.;
5 silver patens, weighing each 15 lbs.;
a golden crown before the body, that is a chandelier, with 50 dolphins, which weighs 35 lbs.;
32 silver lamps in the body of the basilica, with dolphins, weighing each 10 lbs.;
for the right of the basilica 30 silver lamps, weighing each 8 lbs.;
the altar itself of silver overlaid with gold, adorned on every side with gems, 400 in number, [with 210] [adorned on every side with 210] prases, jacinths and pearls, weighing 350 lbs.;
a censer of purest gold adorned on every side with jewels, 60 in number, weighing 15 lbs.
Likewise for revenue, the gift which Constantine Augustus offered to blessed Peter, the apostle, in the diocese of the East:
in the city of Anthiocia:
the house of Datianus, yielding 240 sol.;
the little house in Caene, yielding 20 and one third sol.;
the barns in Afrodisia, yielding 20 sol.;
the bath in Ceratheae, yielding 42 sol.;
the mill in the same place, yielding 23 sol.;
the cook shop in the same place, yielding 10 sol.;
the garden of Maro, yielding 10 sol.;
the garden in the same place, yielding 11 sol.;
near the city of Anthiocia:
the property Sybilles, a gift to Augustus, yielding 322 sol.,
150 decades of papyrus, 200 lbs. of spices,
200 lbs. of oil of nard,
35 lbs. of balsam;
near the city of Alexandria:
the property Timialica, given to Constantine Augustus by Ambrosius, [Ambronius,] yielding 620 sol.,
300 decades of papyrus,
300 lbs. of oil of nard,
60 lbs. of balsam,
150 lbs. of spices,
50 lbs. of Isaurian storax;
the property of Eutymus, who left no heir, yielding 500 sol.,
70 decades of papyrus;
in Egypt:
near the city of Armenia, the property of Agapus, which he gave to Constantine Augustus;
the property of Passinopolis, yielding 800 sol.,
400 decades of papyrus,
50 medimni of pepper,
100 lbs. of saffron,
150 lbs. of storax,
200 lbs. of spices of cinnamon,
300 lbs. of oil of nard,
100 lbs. of balsam,
100 bags of flax,
150 lbs. of cariophylum,
100 lbs. of Cyprian oil,
1000 fine stalks of papyrus;
the property which Hybromius gave to Constantine Augustus, yielding 450 sol.,
200 decades of papyrus,
50 lbs. of spices of cinnamon,
200 lbs. of oil of nard,
50 lbs. of balsam;
in the province of the Euphrates, near the city of Cyrus:
the property of Armanazon, yielding 380 sol.;
the property of Obariae, yielding 260 sol.

2004.10.05 11:39
critical regionalism
It's ironic that critical regionalism is now-a-days also something textbook.
The only regional critics I completely trust are those that remain living in the same place their whole life--an increasingly rare entity that is almost always ignored (by architects).
Isn't architectural education anymore always (positively or negatively) about the lastest "international" style?

2004.12.17 18:58
afternoon field trip
Took some pictures of the Youth Study Center on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, future site of the Barnes Foundation.
Then crossed the Parkway to the future site of the Alexander Calder Museum, where about a dozen different Calder sculptures -- 'stabiles' -- are scattered on the present park lawn.
This outdoor exhibit is a lot like the virtual exhibit, zomescape, I saw in the morning. Last year, when I went to see the smaller, prior exhibit, I mentioned here that I really like the 'virtual architecture' that Calder's stabiles evoke, and the many new pieces continue to inspire. Like Brian' zomescapes, I now have this desire to make virtual stabiles via 3d cad. In any case, seeing the exhibit up close (as opposed to just driving by in a car) is well worth the trip.
Then I went to the Free Library (initially just to get a particular book) and I remembered that the long library of Briar Hill is actually part of the Free Library's Rare Book Department, so I went to take a look at it. Not only is the room completely paneled in the Georgian style with light brown oak(?) with lots of knots showing, but all of William Elkins' books and the original library furniture are there as well. I didn't have time to take pictures, but the librarian definitely wants me to come back. The construction documents for Briar Hill (Trumbauer, 1929) are also in the Rare Book Department collection, and I can take pictures of them as well.
[took pictures of soon to be quondam building, visited museum exhibit without the museum building there yet, entered room that moved from inside one Trumbauer building to inside another Trumbauer building. where do I get my best ideas?]

2004.12.29 11:18
Sontag died on Dienstag
from an email to a friend 28 December 2004:
"Today is Horace Trumbauer's and Guy Debord's birthday, the beginning of LEAVING OBSCURITY BEHIND, the 2005 Horace Trumbauer Architecture Fan Club Convention. Lots of activity at Logan Circle/Hadrian's Tomb."
Hadrian's Tomb was built because the Tomb of Augustus was full. Record numbers of recently dead attend the opening--LEAVING OBSCURITY BEHIND indeed.
Otto's speech? Impeccable! "It appears we should add some Cret paper to the roster."
The induction ceremony of new members of the Horace Trumbauer Fan Club thrilled all.
Dr. Albert C. Barnes and Susan Sontag
It was great seeing Le Corbusier slap Barnes around during the initiation.
[Le Corbusier, too, while on a lecture tour in America, was a victim of the doctor's bad manners, though he almost had a chance to see the collection. His application for admission, he was informed at first, was approved--for a date and time specified by Barnes. When the architect replied that the time was not suitable because of a previously scheduled lecture, however, Barnes was offended. He wanted a fight. In a letter accusing Corbusier of being drunk during his stay in Philadelphia, he informed him that he was no longer welcome at the foundation. The architect's reply was conciliatory, He was not interested in quarreling with Barnes, he wrote; he preferred to fight with those that disagreed with him on artistic matters, and he knew that the doctor, instead, shared his own enthusiasms. He was certain that he would never meet Barnes, but he wanted the senseless state of war that existed between them to come to an end. Barnes never answered the letter; he returned it, with the word "merde," written in large letters on the envelope.
--Howard Greenfield, The Devil and Dr. Barnes: Portrait of an American Collector, p. 252-3.]
It was also fun seeing Barnes circumnavigate Logan Circle in an envelope with "Shit" all over it. A spectacle suggest by Debord.
The fan club is always in need of more woman members, so Sontag's initiation was a most happy event. Tableau reenactments ensued:
"Against Interpretation"
"Notes on Camp"
"On Style"
"The Aesthetics of Silence"
"The Pornographic Imagination"
Susan is now in charge of the "Unguided Tour" department, and she joins Duchamp and Jennewein in the presentation of "[Learning from] Nudist Camp at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Barnes is so impressed with AFRICAN ART, AFRICAN VOICES: LONG STEPS NEVER BROKE A BACK that he's even further rethinking the display of his collection after it moves to Philadelphia.

2005.02.25 11:49
Re: [dis]content .1
Funny, when thinking of flaws, I'm also reminded of the 'quest for the flawless' in current popular (mostly American?) culture--the extreme makeover craze, etc. "metabolic slash delivery" indeed!
One flaw in architecture culture I'd like to see fixed is for 'history' to portray late Roman architecture and early Christian architecture within at least the same 'chapter'. The two 'styles' really played an integral role with each other, and that 'history' isn't even addressed, let alone recognized.
Anyway, since it's Breaking The Silence Day, here's to everyone now knowing that Constantine has an older half-sister via his mother. By the time they met Eutropia in Palmyra, Maximian, Helena, Theodora, Constantius and Constantine were already a tight little bunch. Theodora was immediately enthralled with Eutropia, and a wonderful 'step-mother-daughter' relationship blossomed. Ultimately, Helena and Eutropia became the best stealth operators of late antiquity. Even Constantine didn't know until he was over fifty that his step-mother was also his half-sister.
Perhaps it's also worth mentioning that many components of this convoluted blood line were architecture keen.

2005.03.01 13:08
Re: thoughts on body art....
Although I've never read the text myself, I'm pretty sure Adolf Loos in "Ornament Is Crime" has a lot of negative things to say about 'primitive' tattoos. This text became somewhat seminal with regard to the Modern Movement in architecture, and can be seen as precursor of the purist aesthetic of Esprit Nouveau (which later got sort of rehashed as The International Style).
Is "From White Cube to Tattooed Cube" yet to be written?

2005.03.23 13:47
Forms and Functions of 20th Century Architecture
Yesterday's post delivered Forms and Functions of 20th Century Architecture.
I remember these books from my student days in the 1970s, but haven't looked through them since then. I kind of remember thinking these books were not "inspirational" enough (for me) back then. After seeing them so cheaply available at eBay, I went to the library to look them over again, and decided I definitely want these book. I found them to now be very inspiring! They very much manifest what Brian wrote about above.
It's also interesting to compare these four heavy 1952 volumes ("prepared under the auspices of the School of Architecture of Columbia University") with the slim 2003 Index Architecture: A Columbia Book of Architecture.
Where in 1952 there are lengthy and well illustrated topics beginning with "The Elements of Building: Introduction" through to "The Architect and Urban Planning" and a whole volume dedicated to "The Principles of Composition" and vols. 3 and 4 fully devoted to addressing the designs of a great variety of building types (including Catholic Churches, Protestant Churches, and Synagogues), the 2003 Index Architecture curtly covers topics like 'abstraction' 'film' 'form' 'multiple' 'real' 'style and symmetry' etc.
Over a year ago I wrote (at archinect) that a lot of Index Architecture is pretty much useless and more like sophisticated advertising copy than anything else. Now, relative to Forms and Functions..., I see Index Architecture as not just a missed opportunity to 'build' further upon architecture, but a sign of how overly pretentious the study of architecture can be(come).
What I particularly like about Forms and Functions... is how lessons from architecture's past are well integrated with newer architecture design practice up to the mid 20th century.
[Of course, I get a kick out of the fact that the first building illustrated in Forms and Functions... is the Basilica of Constantine in Rome, which began construction under Maxentius, and was finished (I believe) under the design supervision of Eutropia (Maxentius' mother) and Helena (Constantine's mother).
Plus, there is this great little diagrammatic drawing demonstrating a scale comparison with the Sphere and Pylon of the 1939 New York World's Fair--from left to right: the Great Pyramid, Parthenon, Pantheon (which looks to me a bit bigger than it actually is), Santa Sophia, Constantinople, St. Mark's Venice, Chartres, St. Peter's Rome, the Sphere and Pylon.
Forms and Functions of 20th Century Architecture really should be a free online resource now, and the volumes might just begin positively informing Quondam's overall agenda.
Anyone have any personal experience utilizing Forms and Functions of 20th Century Architecture?

Forms and Functions of 20th Century Architecture, vol. 2, pp. 512-13.



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