Third Year (rationalists, post modernists):
Fourth Year (fascists):
They sorta stopped pushing stuff on me, so I can't remember...
Scary, isn't it?
The classes have been pretty good at not making me feel that I had to
"Design Principles" (props to Rich Griswold) in particular. He is very
careful to note that students are more than welcom to dislike
something; that he does not necessarily show something because he is
presenting it as good. Some he openly disses but most he leaves
opinion for the student and merely explains what is interesting/
important/educational about a given work. The histories have been on
the dry side or, at times, the controversial side. That is "this
building is important and everybody gets to look at it because..." or
"Bob said this and designed this. Now Steve said something entirely
else. Note the controversy between Bob and Steve. What would Steve
think of Bob's building?"
I've never been shut down for saying "Well, Corb says thus and so yet
his buildings seem to contradict that in practice" and the like.
The things we must revere come about more from the casual discussions.
Saw a film in studio though that gave me the idea that a certain piece
of crap was "really good" not just "really good at illustrating an
idea." Of course, if a building exemplifies exemplary design behaviour
then it must be good. Even if it's a pile of crap. Ne?
It's been too long for me to remember specifics, except I do remember:
1) They tried damn hard to make me like it and failed miserably.
2) Anything by "Corbu" was perfect and to be emulated.
3) Kahn was great, but not as great.
4) Mies, was far superior to Wright.
5) Wright was whispered as they whisper "Voldemort" in the Potter books.
6) I did have one professor who tried to get the school to issue
Wrightian capes to the students and professors. He was serious--and I
supported the idea because I thought it would have been a laugh (and I
wanted a cape).
7) What annoyed me most, and still does to this day (as it continues in
the trade rags) is that simply stating an idea makes it valid. If a
building "does X" because I said a building "did X", then it was so.
8) My own experience taught me that the best buildings are most often
those that are not well known and by "lessor" architects. I also
learned that unless you've been in the building and talked to those that
use it, you have NO idea what it is as "Architecture." Sculpture,
maybe. But to architecture, if by architecture you mean "structures
that people inhabit".
9) I was able to get a professor to be so incensed by what I wrote that
he crumpled it up and stuck it to his tack board with a knife. It is
probably my proudest moment from architecture school.
Haha exactly. Profs never said his name out loud unless to ridicule him.
We had to look like we slept in our clothes at our desks.
Ah, the BS factor. We actually have a bit of a contraversy brewing here in
TO. A steadily more pretentious newspaper critic, and the usual suspects
attacking on of their own who has grown into a local titan. The rhetoric is
all there, just like the old days. http://tinyurl.com/2qzljm
Sounds like our experiences were very similar. I wrote a paper where I
compared the 'good guys' with some 'bad guys' under the an existential lens
that showed them both as ultimately doing the opposite of what they said
they were doing. It was pretty good for first or second year. I got an A for
it but it was never returned. I've often wondered what happened to it.....
Fair enough... Good with the bad. The problem with my school was FLW
was unspeakable, for good or ill, and those who were speakable, were so
due to their perceived perfection.
A little "fair and balanced" would have helped.
But, then again, I'm not sure I really cared. I'd learned how to learn
and learned what was important to learn, not what they wanted me to learn...
When I was a Junior in college the Columbiana tried to make me love Corbu's
Villa Savoye. And I must confess, one could do worse in buildings to be
forced to love.
At Rice as a grad student, there was the afore mentioned Moneo building.
There was Gunnar Birkerts Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston.
Kahn's Phillips Exeter Library was in there.
I'm sure there were others. I just can't remember them. Probably a
Stern? Who's he? His name was one that would get you kicked out of
school. They didn't even want you thinking he existed... we weren't
even allowed to criticize his work---because he wasn't supposed to exist.
Ditto. One who was considered HUGE at our SOA was Louis Kahn. Mostly due
to 2 or 3 full professors coming from the Philly area and the Penn
We would often say, "That's what LOU would DO!!!"
What's most scary about it is that I think we're all about 10 years
apart in our school experiences. Nothing's changed in all that time. I
expect to see more crap being peddled as "good architecture" in the
coming decades. I suspect it'll be another 40-50 years before we can
hope for a significant change...
Whoever said Mengoni was a fascist architect did you a disservice. The
Galleria is nearly 50 years before there was fascism in Italy. The
Galleria is really electic, and is a product of Italy's Gilded Age,
which was a bit earlier than America's, by 10-15 years.
Terragni was more a Rationalist than a fascist. Piacentini was more
Fascist than Rationalist.
When I was in school, it was Corb, Kahn, Venturi, Eisemann, Meier,
Graves, in roughly that order of priority of importance. I preferred
Van Eyck and Gaudi. Later I came to appreciate the Renaissance
architects. Now I'm working my way backwards from Art Nouveau period.
As a kid (12-14), I thought Soleri was cool. Now he's just quaint.
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