We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Sunday, January 4. 2009
I agree with Gateway: These kids must want jobs.
Alternative buildings and cities, from the 60s.
EU denounces carbon offset
The cost of hollow virtuousness: Taxpayers pay for UK's mountain of recycling. Isn't it called "garbage" for a reason?
Rangel update (h/t, Insty). Yes, Rangel is an expert in ways and means.
What I've learned from my students is that students today are completely full of sh*t.
More Burris Fun 'n Games. Politics is one disgusting game.
Just one more totalitarian bureaucrat who thinks she is smarter than me. She is not. She just likes power more than I do.
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That link to alternative architecture makes one thing about the 60's abundantly clear: everybody took a lot of LSD. I mean, a whole lot, like, Lots to the third or fourth power.
Ms Browner should be disqualified for that erased hard drive. We don't need appointed criminals in the government, we have a sufficent number of elected ones.
Al Maviva ... I suspect that a lot of architects took drugs in the 1960s, just as everybody else seemed to [except me -- never got around to it] but bad architecture has always been with us, and still is. Take Frank Gehry, for instance. He's being revered currently for deconstructing traditional ideas about buildings. But he has some massive flaws of his own. His buildings, many of them, leak and crack and sustain visible structural damage, because they defy the laws of gravity and the simple commandments of building a structure that is water tight and comfortable to occupy..
Take the Stata Center at M.I.T. which opened in 2004 at a cost of $300 million. the four-year-old structure is suffering from massive cracks, pervasive leaks and visible structural damage which have already cost the University $1.3 million to repair. Then there's the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain... interesting and flashy at first glance, but not, I think, designed with as much care for its stated purpose, the careful display of artworks, as the Guggenheim Museum in New York City was.
There are far better buildings in the world than Gehry's. Philip Johnson's, for instance, or Louis Kahn's. Le Corbusier's and many other less well-known designers in the various schools of architectural thought. But a building which doesn't shelter and comfort its occupants while serving its stated purpose isn't worth much, no matter how flashy it is.
Sorry for the rant. You can probably tell, Al, that I'm a lifetime building watcher, and, as usual, pretty opinionated about it.
One thing I found annoying the second time I was at the Gug in NYC, a day that it was fairly busy, it seemed that the elevator (apparently there is only one?) was not adequate for the reasonable volume of people that were in the building at the time. We (and other more vigorous people) opted to take the stairs. And as I recall, the elevator shaft is internal to the spiral exhibition space. I'm no architect but it seemed to me it would have made more sense to put it outside. Perhaps this was for some design purpose that is lost on me, but it seemed odd for such an esteemed architect like FLW. I also found it interesting that the man himself found many of his own chair designs to be uncomfortable. Then there's the cantilever deck issue at the Kauffman house.
It's always seemed wrong to me that architects get so much fame but engineers, who often are the ones who make the architect's poor original designs work, don't get near the glory. Of course that's probably because engineers have personality types that don't seek fame.
Great last paragraph! It's so true and it never crossed my mind to think it. My brother-in-law is an architect and I dated an engineer for years. As I was thinking about what you said, I thought of them and noted my brother-in-law is a free thinker, out-of-the-box creator with fantastic vision and a man who lives by possibilities, while my engineer was a linear type, thoughtful, analytical, foundational, and only dealt with possibilities that could work. --- And to give credit: Both were perfectly capable of standing in the other's shoes.
What an observation. I feel odd never having voiced it before.
At both colleges I attended, the architecture building was by far the ugliest structure on campus.
KRW ... There's a famous condo building on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive by some famous architect or other [could be Le Corbusier--can't remember] but it was "hot stuff" back in the 1960s. They had already almost completed the building when -- hello! -- they realized that they had only one elevator shaft, not two, which a large residential building should have. OOpsie! They quickly took the shaft they had intended for garbage/waste disposal and turned it into a second elevator shaft. I'm imagining the endless curses by housekeepers and other maintenance workers that were lofted to the skies over the years.
And yes, you're right. The engineers don't get nearly enough credit for the embarrassing mistakes they save the famous architects from Maybe I feel this way because in my youth I edited and wrote for an engineering magazine, which is where I got my interest in architecture, and why Frank Gehry offends my sensibilities so much.
M., what type of engineering magazine was it? Or the name if you care to share?
MM, could that have been a Frank Lloyd Wright --? Mr. Cantilever?
I always liked Les S. Moore of the 'bout house school, who saw cantilevers as kant alevers
KRW ... it was the Engineering Society of Milwaukee's publication, Milwaukee Engineering. A few years later I moved to D.C. and edited a national trade magazine, Electrical Contractor, until I met my future husband and moved to Texas.
Buddy ... I don't think it was Frank Lloyd Wright that designed the Lake Shore Drive condo. My faulty memory says it was an admired French architect, but the name escapes me. The Midwest is strewn with FLW designs. many of them in Wisconsin and Illinois. By the way, speaking of FLW, have you ever seen Falling Water, his famous residence design which is intimately involved with water [of course]. Fascinating design. But damp ... definitely constantly damp.
No MM, haven't seen it --but it does for a fact sound like a better Phoenix or Vegas motif than a (say) Houston or New Orleans. There's a FLW in Amarillo near where my parents lived in the 70s & 80s --striking design 9striking for it's utter lack of obtrusiveness), merged into one of the low broken wrinkles characteristic of the Llano Estecado; appearing from the ouside as having grown in place --a complete confidence of style.
MM, we were at Falling Water just this summer (Kauffman house to which I referred). We used to live in Pittsburgh when I was very young and the Roto section of the paper had a feature on the house that I now remember (this was probably before I could read) and I thought the stairway down to the water was a great way to go fishing. I had forgotten about these stairs until we visited this year and I was disappointed to be reminded of them only to learn that its true function was temperature control. I believe Kauffman Sr. called the place "Rising Mold".
My father worked for a civil engineering firm in Pgh, Richardson, Gordon, & Assoc. They built the double-decker Ft. Pitt bridges that carry I-279 traffic into town.
Meta, any chance your BIL likes to dance but ex-BF was a wall-flower?
haha. Are you clairvoyant? :)
B-I-L is unfazed by anything. I mean anything. Genius type without the trappings of it on the outside. My BF was a wall-flower until the lights went out. He could build the leaning tower of Pisa in one minute. Made me dance a nice tango.
:} ... hey... where is he anyway?....
Carol browner has quite arecord already --she ruined wasp spray, which is hell on us desert dwellers in the Giant Red Hornet range. She also made GE dredge the Hudson River, at great cost and disruption, for a PCB problem that popped into her head one dreamy day as she leafed thru her Stalin scrapbook. She had the power to do this cuz she worked for the government at the time. Lesson: buy shares in river dredge companies.