Tag: architecture

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Don’t know what else to say than I guess it’s more accessible than a man on a horse. And I’m sure there is some place to send donations, and it will compensate for about a dozen others that have been torn down. (Yes, people still seem to need to commemorate some things). https://archinect.com/news/article/150212457/g-mez-platero-unveils-design-for-world-s-first-large-scale-memorial-to-the-victims-of-covid-19 Preview Open

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. American Architectural Geography: Part II, Form

 

One popular way to approach American architecture is to distinguish between form and style. Form, the thinking goes, involves the large-scale arrangement of elements within a building, whereas style is inherent in applied ornamentation. The placement and sizing of rooms, the positioning of door and window openings, the divisions of a structure’s facade — all these are elements of form. Of course, form can be related to style, as in the case of hip-roofed Italianate buildings designed to resemble the country houses of northern Italy, but the connection isn’t an absolute one. For readers’ sake, I’ll assume that the dichotomy makes sense, and I’ll devote most of this piece to the subject of form. The conversation on style will have to wait for another day.

. . .

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Swimming the Bosporus 6: Angels in the Architecture

 

Last week, I finished the narrative portion of my swim from the Megachurch to Orthodoxy. I could have drawn it out for a year, but readers were getting impatient — as was I. Several details were left out, so let’s follow those rabbit trails to add some context.

Over the course of my life, there have been several elements of modern American Protestantism that didn’t quite make sense to me. Some questions involved deep theology, while others were … more pedestrian. Architecture, for instance.

All the Swimming the Bosporus posts here.

For years, I annoyed evangelical friends with my rant about church architecture, so I thought it time to annoy a larger audience. You’re welcome! (Years ago, a Greek guy overheard my criticism and said, “are you sure you aren’t Orthodox?” Perhaps it was fated.)

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My browser likes to tempt me with clickbait and I couldn’t say no to this review of Sarah Williams Goldhagen’s new book on the psychological effects of our built environments. You should read it too. We are embodied minds, the author believes, and the interdependence of mind and body is something architects should work with, […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Make Architecture Great Again

 

The brutalist J. Edgar Hoover Building, Washington, DC, built in the 1960s.
Donald Trump is finally courting my vote. His administration has leaked a draft executive order concerning the design of federal buildings. The Washington Examiner reports:

The Trump administration may be crafting an executive order that would require all new federal buildings to be designed with a classical appearance. The Architectural Record claims to have obtained a copy of the order, ‘Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again.’ According to the report, the order makes reference to the architectural taste of the Founding Fathers, who styled buildings from ‘democratic Athens’ and ‘republican Rome.’ The order critiques modern architecture under the General Service Administration’s ‘Design Excellence Program’ for failing to integrate ‘national values into federal buildings.’ It claims the quality of architecture produced in the modern era is ‘influenced by Brutalism and Deconstructivism.’

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In this New Year celebration, the Emaar tower is lit up like a Christmas tree after eight minutes of skyscraper-spanning light displays and intricate firework patterns. Preview Open

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday. Book Review Historic homes show attention to detail, architecture By MARK LARDAS Sep […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Architecture of Happiness

 

“In literature, too, we admire prose in which a small and astutely arranged set of words has been constructed to carry a large consignment of ideas. ‘We all have strength enough to bear the misfortunes of others,’ writes La Rochefoucauld in an aphorism which transports us with an energy and exactitude comparable to that of a Maillart bridge. The Swiss engineer reduces the number of supports just as the French writer compacts into a single line what lesser minds might have taken pages to express. We delight in complexity to which genius has lent an appearance of simplicity.”
– Alain de Botton, The Architecture of Happiness

I ran across this quote while developing a list of potential quotes for discussion. Since I’m in the middle of designing my third house, I appreciate the views of other architects and artists as to what is “good” vs. “bad” architecture. I’ve found the British author Alain de Botton’s book interesting, as he relates architecture to various other art forms, most notably common items such as bowls, plates, and water jugs. He properly criticizes architecture based on elitism and the self-congratulation of architects such as Le Corbusier, whose flat roofs leaked within one week of being occupied. Yet, de Botton properly related Le Corbusier’s 1931 interior staircase to a 1768 design in Versailles nearby. Even Modernist architects looked to architecture to support a way of life that appealed to them.

Most anyone would see the Robert Maillart designed 1930 Salginatobel Bridge above as beautiful. It was designated as an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1991. Like many breakthrough designs, it lacked durability, such as bridge deck waterproofing, low concrete coverage, and poor drainage, which led to extensive repairs in 1975-1976. Unfortunately, de Botton compares this bridge to Isambard Brunel’s 1864 Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, England. Yes, Brunel’s was crude, but it has stood the test of time, and led the way to the beautiful 1883 Brooklyn Bridge.

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At least this candidate has a unique idea for a change although I suspect he wants a government takeover/solution. But, interesting that he has singled them out and maybe some need a little guidance and creative thinking nobody has mobilized. There are other philosophic (liberal) articles roasting Malls as relics of over-optimistic captalism, etc. I […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Making Better Architecture

 

A recent comment by Ricochet member extraordinaire James Lileks discussed an article from Forbes which stated “Frank Gehry, the world’s most famous architect, recently said that “98% of everything that is built and designed today is pure [crap]. There’s no sense of design, no respect for humanity or for anything else.”*

The Forbes article continues with “insulated architects are “increasingly incapable … of creating artful, harmonious work that resonates with a broad swath of the general population, …this has been a problem for over forty years, and that things are even worse today.” The article also shows a pretty “Katrina cottage” vs. another modern monstrosity in New Orleans. As we have little power over what’s chosen by politicians, we can (still) choose our residence to reflect both our needs and wants.

When I was young, I enjoyed drawing superhighway exchanges and houses, so I thought of becoming either a Civil Engineer or an Architect. My older cousin went to a special four-year program at Michigan State University in Architecture Engineering but then became an Urban Planner instead. After I graduated with a Computer Science degree in Engineering, my Architect dream never faded, and within ten years I designed the first of two houses.

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday. Book Review ‘The Texas Calaboose’ a study of small lockups By MARK LARDAS […]

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I owe Unsk an apology. Many moons ago, in March, I wrote a piece about the clash between classical liberalism and historic preservation. It occasioned about a dozen comments, all thoughtful. Unsk, an architect, shared a story about his (her? . . . some names are ambiguous) experience with the Secretary of the Interior’s preservation guidelines. According […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Suckers for Jesus! Or, Holy Kitsch!

 

I can’t call it “only in America,” because kitschy and silly, though harmless, religious trinkets seem to be a universal phenomenon. Still, there is something endearingly American about this online Christian storefront, selling Testamints, crucifix-shaped lollies, gourmet Scripture suckers, chocolate tulips (must be for the Calvinists), and little gummy Jesus “footsteps”: show that you walk in His footsteps by eating His feet!

“Take and eat… do this in remembrance of me.” In a religion based on the Eucharist, I suppose it’s not exactly blasphemous to consume Jesus in gummy form, though I doubt my grandmother would have agreed: she would have seen candy shaped like all or any part of Jesus as blasphemously irreverent, even if abstract religious symbols were commonplace in eats where she came from. Part of the wider Christian culture in America is to downplay aesthetic differences: high church or low, contemporary or old-fashioned, why argue adiaphora, huh? At the same time, aesthetics go to the heart of worship: whatever we think “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” means, it only seems fitting to give of our best (whatever that is) in acts of reverence. Religious kitsch occupies a funny place, not just strange, but amusing — and not just amusing to snobs who wish to disdain the rubes. The Babylon Bee, a favorite site of many of us here, often pokes fun at Christian kitsch, and it could hardly be said to disdain American Christians: it pokes fun at the kitsch because it’s run by American Christians.

What even counts as kitsch depends on your background. My grandmother, raised very Lutheran, had pretty exacting standards for what wasn’t kitschy. Were the sanctuary and music too contemporary and informal? Kitschy. Were they too ornate? Kitschy. Most religious statuary and paintings? Also kitschy. That she was Lutheran may have had less to do with her severe standards than the kind of Lutheran she was: she came from a place where Lutherans and “Papists” (Catholics) didn’t quite get along, and when she arrived in America, she was (mostly) eager to assimilate. More eager, she thought, than her Italian neighbors, who might plant a bathtub Madonna in the midst of their front lawn.

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday. Book Review Exploring Texas and its forgotten places By MARK LARDAS Preview Open

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The temples of Cambodia are more than just Angkor Wat and that other one with the giant faces. An acquaintance, who just got back from a visit a few weeks ago, said he thought there was just two or three until his driver pulled out a map of Angkor and asked which one he wanted […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Interminable Musings on Historic Preservation and Classical Liberalism

 
The Historic Charleston (SC) Foundation, whose store’s proceeds go to historic preservation in the city. / Shutterstock.com

I am a preservationist. I am also, I’d like to think, a classical liberal. By any conventional logic, this makes me a walking, talking contradiction.

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The Hobbit-hole is a tubular, subterranean dwelling, built into a hillside. Hills are of course a scarce resource in a dense city, especially in a place like Hong Kong, which is naturally hilly, but very built up. Architect James Law has come up with an ingenious urban solution for those craving that tubular, subterranean feel: […]

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Do modern campuses actually value ideas and intellectual discourse? Should there be limits on capitalism? Is modern architecture bad? Sir Roger Scruton and Christina Hoff Sommers join ‘Viewpoint’ on the AEI Podcast Channel to discuss each of these topics and more.

This conversation originally aired on the AEI YouTube Channel on March 22, 2017.

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Cambodia is dotted all over with temple ruins, big and small. Some of you might have heard of Angkor Wat or recognize the giant faces at Bayon. Most of the temples are congregated at Angkor, modern day Siem Reap province. Angkor was the seat of the Khmer Empire (802 CE to 1431 CE), where naturally […]

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