I have moved this blogish thing to a place where I can obsess endlessly over every detail of the design and also have a nifty URL, to wit:http://catasterist.com
Eventually it will certainly expand to be a fully-fledged online empire, though for now it's just, you know, a blog.
See you there...
PS: if you want to link directly to the RSS feed, it's here:http://catasterist.com/wp-rss2.php
PPS: if you want to subscribe to receive email notifications, you can do that here:http://catasterist.com/subscribe/
things have been exciting lately (the firemen came to my house today! long story, but no one is hurt or anything), but also quiet (I haven’t been writing much). this doesn’t mean things aren’t afoot—more just a fallow period. I love fallowness; the implication of subsurface processes at work, the promise of impending sprouts, the validation of dirt as a good and useful thing. all good.
so, yeah, plans are a-hatching, but nothing’s quite ready for primetime yet (to mix metaphors a tad). don’t worry—I’ll letcha know when the tomatoes are done ripening.
hey, so I know I've been off the grid a lot lately, but I just wanted to stop in and say I saw some cool architecture today in New Haven in the midst of eating A LOT of hot dogs (long story). anyway, I saw two Louis Kahn
buildings (the University Art Center
 and the Yale Center for British Art
) and an Eero Saarinen building (Ingalls Rink
aka the Yale Whale ), all at Yale in New Haven. plus, you know, a lot of Gothic stuff. I apologize for not taking any pictures--I was too busy actually looking at the buildings to take pictures--but plenty of other people have taken better pictures than I would have, anyway (links are to other people's photos). [ok, next time I take my camera--no one seems to have taken the pictures I want exactly.]
the Kahn buildings are great studies in light and shadow
and in geometry
(and check out his slightly manic take on coffered ceilings
.) Kahn presents a clear narrative in each building of how the pieces come together by articulating joints, alternating materials
, and revealing, for example, the formwork of the concrete
in its texture.
the Saarinen rink is an organic form, but one with a clear structure
that has its own narrative of tension and momentum, unlike a lot of the 'blob' architecture fashionable today. oh, yes, I can be an architecture crank, too!
but if you're ever in New Haven, I recommend stopping to see all three. the museums are free!
It being a new year and all, I’ve been feeling introspective. So forgive the solipsistic, introspective, philosophical bent of this fragment. It’s probably reaching further than any LJ posting has a right to and likely won’t really pull it all together before I get tired of typing, but then there’s a whole fresh new year to draw conclusions and frame philosophies and make connections. 2008—the year of connection. Has a nice ring to it.
So to start (at the heart): do you know what it is I want?( more hubris!Collapse )
So, while I recover from stomach flu, an intermission and yuletide gift for y'all:Music About Architecture
Obliquely or directly, all these songs make me think about architecture.
(my own version of this mix includes a second part with songs about coffee, waking up, and not sleeping...)
1. Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect
2. So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright
(Simon & Garfunkel)
3. The House that Guilt Built
(The Prayers & Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers)
5. The Hexx
6. Steal The Blueprints
7. The Army Corps of Architects
(Death Cab For Cutie)
8. Pet Politics
9. Back to the Old House
10. Birdhouse in Your Soul
(They Might Be Giants)
11. We Built This City
PS: Links will expire in a week--let me know if you miss them, have trouble with them, or, Mom, if you want me to mail you a CD.
PPS: Anyone have other architecture songs in mind? (*Besides* anything by Architeture in Helsinki, Life Without Buildings, etc.)
So there are approximately twelve bajillion architecture topics floating around in my head at the moment. Perhaps this is the result of the two macchiatos (macchiati?) and one regular coffee floating around in my bloodstream (cafes—another topic!), or perhaps it is the result of working on too many projects at the same time, or perhaps it is just mental procrastination protecting me from going home and dealing with cleaning the bathroom and other unfun projects (thanks Cafe Grumpy for giving me a place to work where I don’t have to look at the sink full of dirty dishes!)
But I did promise some people (hello A + Dr.B!) that I would try to work out a series I’ve started and stopped several times: the relationship between music and architecture. So, forthwith: MUSIC + ARCHITECTUREBeing a Series of Investigations into the putative, alleged, and undiscovered Connections, Disconnects, and Relations of the Disciplines in several Parts.Prequel: Provenance
Where it comes from—why I am interested in both music and architecture (this is probably not that interesting to the three people who regularly read this [hi mom!], but is a necessary warmup for me, so feel free to skip or skim at will... the other parts will be less relentlessly narcissistic, I promise)—
I am a prodigal daughter of music. In elementary school I, in response to an assembly publicizing the commencement of orchestra classes for fourth graders, announced to my parents that I would be studying violin. And so I did. Fast forward through (what must have been tortuous for my family) classes, lessons, concerts &etc. I went away to college with an open mind saying I would “major in anything but music.” I majored in music. (My thesis project was a combination of history and performance—a paper and concert on twentieth century American women composers. I know, right?) I did not listen to rock or pop music pretty much ever. I didn’t disdain it, I just didn’t have any idea about it. I studied a bit of jazz history and theory, and took up percussion. My percussion teacher preferred to teach me how to play drum set and tambourine and such rather than timpani or bass drum (though I learned a bit of those, too) I think purely for the incongruity of me jamming on the drums. After school I moved to New York, took conducting lessons for a bit, worked at big-name music institutions, and searched in vain for an affordable place to practice drums. Gradually the music fell away in the din of the city, in the frenzy of urbanity, and in the shadow of other more live-journally stuff.( Read more...Collapse )
So, old cranky-pants Corb was clearly excited by the idea of airplanes. (He also loved cars, bridges, and, uh, grain silos. True story.) He believed that the coherence of engi-neering could shake up architecture and clear out the cobwebs of overly ornate 19th century architecture. And it’s hard not to see his point--how incredible for anyone who’s feet had never left the ground for more than a few seconds to get to see the world from the sky? Before airplanes all but the lucky few who got to go aloft in balloons could only imagine what plan view would look like: the streets of Paris, a village in the High Atlas, farmland, the seashore. But now it could be seen, and what became visible was a new kind of order. Sometimes contained (like the grid of Manhattan) and sometimes sprawling and irregular, but always organic--the city revealed itself as an organic thing. I wonder if this realization didn’t spur Corb’s shift to more organic architectural forms.
Whether or not that hypothesis is true, the power of plan view definitely catalyzed Corb's desire to treat the diseased city as a surgeon.
THE CITY IS RUTHLESS TO MAN.
CITIES ARE OLD, DECAYED, FRIGHTENING, DISEASED.
THEY ARE FINISHED.( more...Collapse )
Recently a friend gave me a kind of amazing present. It's this book (a rare 80s English language reprint of a book by Le Corbusier from the 1930s):
Oh, Corb: condescending, hubristic, misogynistic, tending towards fascistic, but I can't help loving his visionary tendencies, and I do have a well-documented weakness for manifestos. I have, I suppose, the usual architect's love-hate relationship with him, but it is without irony that I say he is astounding and I would have liked to have lunch with him (if only to tell him off about a thing or two).
I have more to say about this book, but for now I'll just give you a few quotes (capitalization and emphasis is as in the original--Corb fancied himself a graphic designer, among other things). The text is set amongst photos of all kinds of airplanes (from 1930s bombers to 'flying machines' from the 1800s) and aerial photos. Anyway, more about the book later, but for now I'll let Corb speak for himself (though I wonder if some of the awkward language isn't a translation problem):
THE EARTH BEHOLDS SPLENDOURS EMERGE WHICH ARE CONTEMPORARY TRUTHS, THE PRESENT BEAUTY WHICH WE LOVE.( More from CorbCollapse )
OK, so here's my thoughts on the new New Museum by SANAA (Sejima). Apparently one isn't supposed to take photos inside, but I did manage a couple. Apologies for the grainy pictures
--I have *ahem* a thing or two to learn about photography.
Executive summary: outside in, the building does what I suppose it was meant to do--it's iconic and dramatic and says "NEW MUSEUM HERE!" in a way the space on Broadway never did. inside out, the building is more problematic. Also, full disclosure: I've never much cared for the art they show. And I think that's the fatal flaw for the space.( read on, MacduffCollapse )
I'm at work where there's internet, so I can tell you that I've got it all covered:
Minimalist black + dark grey outfit. Check.Moleskine
Archtiecture pals. Check.
Yup, that's right--tonight I'm going to the opening of Kazuyo Sejima
's new New Museum
on the Bowery. Expect a report at the next juncture of connectivity. Excited!