Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Maison de Verre

26ouro.xlarge1, originally uploaded by harvard4.

Maison de Verre was one of the first building that I was asked to study in architecture school. It was in a studio where we studied the relationship between a building and a piece of technology. I chose the relationship between this building and an SLR camera and the comparison still effects my thinking seven years later. Built from 1928 to 1931, it is one of the earliest examples of a truly modern house and in many ways it is still innovative and strikingly modern by todays standards. Pierre Chareau was a furniture designer and this was his first house. Look here for an interior and entrance shot.

I'm also just a big aalto fan in general.

Besides the library at Mt Angel Abbey, the other project that I really love by Aalto (although I've never seen it in person) is the Viipuri Library


, originally uploaded by [lolo].

Alvar Aalto's library at the Mt Angel Abbey in Oregon is high on the list because of the quality of light in the space. It is perched on the edge of a step hill side with views out over the farmland of the Willamette valley but one only appreciates these views through a few small windows that come as a surprise between book shelves. The focus of the space is on a central area that is lit by a combination of natural and artificial light. It is the kind of space that is so conducive to getting lost in a book.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Branding Cities

DSCF3135.JPG, originally uploaded by Kodamakitty.

What does the sign mean anyway? If cities become brands then what?

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Pyongyang Metro, originally uploaded by my new office.

As the value of the "development project" buy the world bank and others, becomes more dubious, other plans for the future of the planet have room to expand and take the place of that previous model. A country or region's degree of "under-globalization" could be a new lens to replace the rhetoric and sound of inevitability around the measures of "underdeveloped, developing and developed" nations. However you feel about globalization, it is likely mixed. And mixed is more likely how people in many parts of the world feel about the changes occurring around them at the moment.
As the US continues to out-source and as a result "un-develop" it's own economy, the development model of the last century takes another blow. This and other trends will continue and the only useful meta-distinction that may remain is that between "globalized" and "under-globalized" locals. The scale and distinctions (boarders) of these places become much smaller as communities try to maintain their "sense of place" (to use a new urbanest term), and people seek to preserve or invent what make their environment unique. I'm not totally against these forces however. My hope is that like the unbroken mountain range of 100 million years ago which once connected all of North and South America and lead to an incredible spike in the range of species diversity because of it's networked and connected nature, the cultures of the world today can gain diversity and strength through their interaction.
Places like Pyongyang, North Korea are decidedly under-globalized and as a result poss an interesting parallel to the "under-developed" regions of the last century. Like the orientalist fetishisation of the casaba or barrio for its otherness, now anywhere that is under-globalized can take on parallel alure. Anywhere that is lacking in plastic signs and english menus, or people without a shred of sarcasm (this may not deserve to be in the list but it has held true in my experience), is ripe for fetishisation.
This can be seen in a deluded form in people's urning for the uniqueness of small towns in america, but when it pervades an entire country and builds up behind a damn of sanctions and travel restriction, like in the case of North Korea, this isolationist cocktail can provide a powerful punch to the "hardcore-cultural-connasseur."
Alright, this blog entry has good pedantic and out of hand so I think that I will just stop there. When I think too much in the above voice I start feeling like the really lame step-dad in michel gondry's "science of sleep." I still haven't found a "voice" for this blog that I like, but maybe it just needs to be the outlet for the above voice so that I don't bore people in conversation by slipping into it, conversely I'm reinforcing it buy indulging in it... not sure?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

548 Riverside Drive

548 Riverside Drive, originally uploaded by kymtyr.

I left New York two days ago and now I'm in uncharted water... At least for me. I'm taking a year off graduate school and I don't really know what I'll be doing for the next year which is the 'uncharted water' part. I just know that I needed time away for school, and now I have it.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

positive futures?

Most of the "CCCP in space" stamps that I uploaded to Flickr were very optimistic in nature. But these to are a real exceptions!

This is my first Blog entry in a long time but my plan is to do a lot of blogging from China, so stay tuned.

Friday, February 10, 2006

welcome to the fun palace

more cedric price then cedric price's "fun palace."


the century with mushroom clouds

I was looking for this project/piece today and I found the artist's web page. Given the singularity, and brilliance of "the century with mushroom clouds," I was surprised that so much of his work is so bland and almost corporate. I guess that is the disadvantage of having a web site that catalogs all your work; the mystique is lost. Good and bad work, sit on the same plain at the same resolution. His page, of any "fine artist’s" web-presence I’ve seen, is most like that of an architectural office (and that is not a good thing!) Instillation artists (who are commissioned) must face similar self-promotion issues to architects, and presenting a large volume of work would imply an ability to produce consistently...
However, when branding becomes an issue, there is probably more cultural capital in being under-exposed.

cultural melting bath

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Jersey chiaroscuro

light and dark is relative...