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.
Frank Gehry is proof that among intellectuals, we're way past "The Emperor Has No Clothes," and are now in the realm of: "The Emperor Has No Clothes And No Genitalia And His Pasty-Skinned Stick-Like Appendages Are Being Moved Solely By His Brain Stem, Which Is Loaded With Porphyrins."
Other than that, the building is a triumph. On that I'm sure we can all agree.
roger de hauteville
One of Gramsci's stronger suggestions was to uglify public spaces under the ''art'' rubric --in order to confuse & demoralize us average joes about our own abilities to make value judgements.
Of course, when one finds oneself agreeing that something is valuable and beautiful on the grounds that everyone says it is rather than on the grounds that it creates a high emotion in one's own self, one is losing faith in oneself, fading one's own identity. Becoming riper fruit for the Borg.
i'd be interested in any links to Gramisci's comments
on uglifying public spaces (or any online article discussing the same...it would seem a prime topic for the Criterion online eZine ).
i have no trouble linking it to Gramsci's other destructive prescriptions in kind,but i've not come acros a specific discussion(s) on that Gramscian topic before.
i've always felt the uglification
was partly a product of rationalization of construction and the arrival of new materials(steel,glass,concrete)
combined with the speed,lower costs and
broad removal of hand labor from the building process
(as an example,bricks piled one-at-a-time have a human scale we can easily relate to)...
there is a distinct difference
also between humane environments and an
more exclusively engineering-orientation
to large scale projects that typify the modern city.
human-scale is one of the common casualties.
good built environments are hard to achieve.
bad built environments are relatively easy.
some are gifted are cranking them out
like a sausage factory.
You have a keen insight to Frank’s architecture, and you are right, he is extremely focused on shape and is not interested nor does he spend the time to analyze these aspects of his designs. I worked with Frank for twelve years and introduced his office to the use of the computer. I tried to get them to understand the power of the computer for analysis for these very purposes but as I said they were more interested only in its use for sculpting. The following is an excerpt from a book I am writing which was an incident regarding the glare on the building:
It was decided that a mockup should be built to evaluate various metals to clad the building with. Because of the notoriety and success of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, titanium was first considered. Stainless steel was later settled upon but there were a number of finishes to evaluate that could give texture to the surface. It was decided the exterior of the hall would have a dulled brushed finish. The founder’s room was to be of a highly polished reflective finish. I went to see the mockup one day with the architects. The mockup was built from a portion of the building’s walls taken directly from the computer model and then detailed with the structural ribs and connections to prove the attachment concept. Walking around the large full-scale replica I noticed at certain places where you stood, the sun’s rays cast a concentrated reflection of intense light and heat. I pointed this out to the architects saying, “Do you realize that at certain times of the day the light and heat will be really intense and reflect right into the apartments across the street. We can perform some computer analysis in the model to adjust those conditions.” They dismissed my concern and responded with, “They can close the blinds during those few minutes. At most times of the day the tenants will have a beautiful building to look down upon.”
April 07, 2005 5:46 PM
Wow. "They can close the blinds during those few minutes" --the perfect illustration of you-know-whatism.
On the Gramsci--I'll have to think where i read that. It was in a discussion of 'revolutionary art', how the revolution must not cede art to bourgeois decoration (blah blah) but rather must forever co-opt the avant-garde (blah blah), and how large public artworks for public spaces could advance 'open-mindedness' (euphemism alert). If I can recall the source, i'll post it here--or elsewhere if this one has rotated out.
Just because "they" i.e. designers, can draw it does not mean "we", i.e. builders, can (or should) build it.
The Freedom Tower on the WTC site will prove to be, IMHO, a case that will illustrate that point. I think the many angles that are incorporated into the buildings design will make for a lot of waste of very expensive materials and result in large cost overruns. The extra time the trades people will need to cut and fit each different angle will be huge and the odd angles will very likely make the interior difficult and expensive to finish and furnish.