======================================================================== Cybernetics in the 3rd Millennium (C3M) --- Volume 7 Number 1, Jan. 2008 Alan B. Scrivener --- www.well.com/~abs --- mailto:abs@well.com ========================================================================

Top Tech

~ or ~

Architecture in Buildings and Software

(Part One)

Frank Lloyd Wright once stated that "physicians can bury their mistakes, but architects can only advise their clients to plant vines." -- vine web site at Home & Garden channel (HGTV) ( www.hgtv.com/hgtv/gl_plants_vines_climbing/article/0,,HGTV_3616_1397771,00.html ) This issue of C3M concerns amateur and professionals interests of mine, the arts of ARCHITECTURE and SOFTWARE ARCHITECTURE respectively. Architecture is generally defined as what an architect does. But what are the roots of this word "architect"? The Online Etymology Dictionary ( www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=architect ) gives this as its origin: 1563, from M.Fr. architecte, from L. architectus, from Gk. arkhitekton "master builder," from arkhi- "chief" (see archon) + tekton "builder, carpenter" (see texture). Architecture also is from 1563. The Greek prefix "tekton" comes from the same roots as technology. As I explain in my book "A Survival Guide for the Traveling Techie" ( travelingtechie.com/ ) the word "technical" comes from Indo-European "teks," to weave; also to fabricate, especially with an ax, also to make wicker or wattle fabric for (mud-covered) house walls. -- The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition (2000) ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0395825172/hip-20 ) Later I elaborated: From the derivation in the American Heritage Dictionary that began this chapter, we learn that "technique" once meant being good at weaving and fashioning stuff with an ax, and making wicker or wattle fabric to cover mud walls. Presumably just about anybody could pressed into slavery to make bricks, and then pile them up with mortar to make walls, but it took some kind of specialist to cover the mud with good wattle. Hence my title of this issue, "top tech" is a possible translation of "architect." I have had an amateur interest in the architecture of buildings since the mid-1980s, when I was introduced to the subject's charms by my friend Will A. I have had a professional interest in software architecture since the late 1970s, when my friend Wayne H. introduced me to that subject's charms. This issue will "contrast and compare" these two fields of master building, after examining each.


Radiation leaks are made by fools like me but only God can make a nuclear reactor that's 93 million miles from the nearest elementary school. -- Ann Herbert, 1980 "The Rising Sun Neighborhood Newsletter" quoted in "The Next Whole Earth Catalog" ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000GTHUJY/hip-20 ) I feel very fortunate that before I ever learned about the Byzantine zigs and zags in the recent history of the ART OF ARCHITECTURE, I had been introduced the TECHNOLOGY OF SHELTER by Bucky Fuller and others. Bucky devoted most of his life, over six decades, to working on the problem of shelter for humans. Of course this was after a rocky start. As J. Baldwin explains in "Buckyworks" (1996), ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0471198129/hip-20 ) his book on applications of Bucky's technology: "I'd like to introduce myself as the world's most successful failure." R. Buckminster Fuller often launched his lectures with those startling words. Chunky and forthright, he did not have the looks or demeanor of an unsuccessful man. By conventional standards, however, he was a failure: Harvard had dismissed (he said "fired") him twice -- the first time for taking a New York chorus line to dinner instead of taking his midterm exams. After the first firing, his outraged family shipped him off to learn some responsibility as an apprentice machinist in a Canadian cotton mill. He was, after all, the fifth generation of Fullers to attend Harvard. Margaret Fuller, the famous feminist/transcendentalist, was his great aunt. The mill gave him a dirty-hands feel for machinery and engineering that can only be gained by making, installing and troubleshooting complex mechanisms. (At that time, most technology was understandable by looking at it.) He also learned firsthand about the world of the blue-collar worker -- experience that was rare among old-guard New England families. He did so well that his family and Harvard relented. Unfortunately, his good performance in the cotton mill did not signal an improved respect for academia. Expelled a second time for "showing insufficient interest in his studies," he got a job wrestling sides of beef in a meat-packing house. Bucky (everyone but his wife called him Bucky), never did acquire a college degree or the requisite awe of academe. A stint as a Naval officer in World War I put his experience to work. He had the good luck to be assigned to a ship involved with wireless communications and aircraft -- the most advanced technology of that era. Mechanical skills and ingenuity honed at the mill gave him the know-how to recognize and solve the problems of extracting pilots from ditched aircraft before they drowned. He designed a boom that enabled the crash boat to yank the aircraft from the water in seconds. The Navy rewarded him with a few months at Annapolis, where he learned to think in terms of global communications, air travel, and logistics -- all of which would become central to his future work. He had no trouble with those courses, and he recognized why: They dealt with reality -- often a very harsh reality. Learning was easy for him when theory was connected to experience. The war over, he resigned from the Navy and joined the seething pre-stock-market-crash business world of the 1920s. For a while, things went well for the aggressive, hard-drinking young Bucky. While in the Navy, he had married Anne Hewlett, the daughter of a prominent architect. They had a baby. He founded the Stockade Building System, making his father-in-law's patented fiber- concrete building blocks. Then, in 1922, disaster struck. This time, it was more serious than a student's problems with the dean. Bucky and Anne lost their first child to disease that he partially blamed on his inability to provide her with healthy living conditions. Determined to do better, he worked furiously to win acceptance for his Stockade system. Acceptance proved to be a frustrating, and ultimately unachievable goal. He sold about 240 buildings, but the business was being strangled by local codes that required him to seek approval for each structure. Then, at the height of the struggle, a takeover drove him out of his own company, ruining him financially, and losing his friends' money as well. That blow brought him to a standstill. He was a failure, a "throwaway," as he said. He had a healthy new daughter, but no job. He would not be able to take proper care of her, either. Worse, he had little incentive to get a new job and work hard in the same corrupt system that had put him out on the street through no fault of his own. It was the low point of his life. He considered suicide. "It was jump or think," he said. He chose think. Standing on the shore of Lake Michigan, Bucky concluded that if he could come with a good reason NOT to kill himself, now would be an excellent time to do so. He concluded that "I do not belong to myself," that he had no idea what positive difference he might be capable of making in the world and he had no right to take that away. Bucky concluded from his recent experiences that he did worse when he was only trying to take care of small groups of people, like his wife and daughter, and did better when he took care or larger groups, like a ship full of sailors. So he extrapolated that he would be most effective if he endeavored to take care of all humanity. One of humanity's biggest problems was shelter for all humans, so he decided to work on that problem for the next 50 years, making himself a human "guinuea pig" to do the experiment of how much positive difference one human could make. Here are some of the important lessons about solving the shelter problem that Bucky has learned in this 50 year experiment, and that he has taught to me through books, lectures and prototypes: * suggestions are a waste of time Bucky said that in his experience, all attempts to change the world by reforming humans, by suggesting that they behave better, were ineffective. Only by reforming the environment can change occur. He gave the example of a dangerous curve: putting up "caution" signs didn't work; banking the curve did. * a house is a machine for living Despite any romantic notions we have of a "house," it is fundamentally a mechanism for manipulating a defined portion of the environment to make it more livable for humans, mostly controlling temperature, humidity and wind, and providing security and privacy. By way of analogy Bucky pointed out that some modern factories (such as oil refineries) have become so weatherproof that they have dispensed with buildings altogether. * tension vs compression For millions of years humans have materials like stone which are stronger in compression than tension. So we built buildings with compression, by piling up stones. Since the industrial revolution tension has offered an alternative that is often better, but the banking and building industries have lagged due to inertia and ignorance. The universe uses compression to keep planets round, and it uses tension to keep planetary orbits round. The problems with compression are that columns depend on gravity to be load bearing, and must remain vertical; also they buckle when they fail, taking them out of alignment and worsening their failure. Tension elements (cables and beams) do not depend on gravity, do not need to remain in any given orientation, and their failure mode involves stretching, which creates compression in the two dimensions perpendicular to the load, increasing the element's strength (if only temporarily). Kenneth Snelson, a sculptor who studied under Fuller, created the TENSEGRITY structure ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tensegrity ) to illustrate concepts of tension and compression. ( youtube.com/watch?v=hOoCHQIyF0s&feature=related ) * it takes 50 years to innovate in shelter tech Bucky plotted the rates of innovation, from research to deployment, in various industries, from slowest -- residential construction, fifty years, -- to the fastest, aircraft, five years, and electronics, three years. He applied aircraft tech to housing and was 45 years ahead of his time. * weight matters Bucky pointed out that the Queen Mary cruise ship and the Waldorf Astoria hotel have approximately the same number of beds. The captain of the Queen Mary knows how much it weighs to the ton. The hotel captain has no idea what his building weighs, but it must be many times as much. The QM can also cross the ocean, generate the electricity she needs and desalinate her own water. (No wonder that Stewart Brand lives in a houseboat on the land; compact and efficient work areas and storage without the leaking and rocking.) * triangles are the building blocks of stable structures Rectangles are subject to "racking" as they turn into parallelograms, as old buildings often show. ( home.flash.net/~mfitch/Scoops2004_01-04_files/image004.jpg ) ( images.inmagine.com/img/designpics/dp020/dp0037645.jpg ) Only triangles are stable building blocks. Our language and habits of thought encourage us to think of squares and cubes as fundamental. Bucky points out that we talk of a number being "squared" when we multiply it by itself, making a geometric analogy to line segments and squares. A square can be broken into 4 or 9 sub-squares, and so on. But a triangle can be broken into 4 or 9 sub-triangles, and so on, as well. We might well speak of a number being "triangled" instead of "squared." * geodesic domes are good for units, octet trusses for growing structures If you need to enclose a space with maximum volume under minimum structure, a geodesic dome is the way to go. Start with one of the five platonic solids, ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platonic_solids ) "triangulate" the surfaces, puff the vertices out to lie on a sphere, and "Bob's your uncle," there's the structure. Truncate as needed. But you're out of luck if you want to add on later. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geodesic_dome ) If you need a space-filling structure that holds itself up and can be extended indefinitely, you're better off with the so-called "octet truss" made of octahedron (eight face) and tetrahedron (four face) cells connecting to share faces, edges and vertices, in a mixture of 4 to 1. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octet_truss ) * sooner or later we'll need housing built in standardized slide-in drawers Bucky designed mega-structures (similar to ARCOLOGIES, described below) that included floating cloud cities inside gi-normous geodesic spheres that acted like hot air balloons, as well as floating harbor or mid-ocean tetrahedronal cities. (Both of these designs offered the incentive of having NO REAL ESTATE COSTS). His most famous mega-design was for a dome over lower Manhattan, though I would argue the southern Las Vegas strip is a better choice. Another intriguing design of his was for the red-lined, high crime and real-estate-busted slum of East Saint Louis, Illinois. His moon-crater-shaped and dome-covered commercial and residential structure, "Old Man River City," is designed to help rebuild the community socially and economically. ( solutions.synearth.net/stories/storyReader$513 ) Why build such mega-structures? Because of the "Square-Cube Law," which says the surface area to volume ratio becomes negligible as a structure becomes huge, which increases insulation and reduces energy requirements dramatically. Bucky said in some cases energy savings would pay for the projects quickly. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Square-cube_law ) All of these designs require the preexisting infrastructure of standards connections in the megastructures, and matching slide-in drawers of housing, plus the transportation systems to uninstall, deliver and install them. The other thing they require is a consensus of enough citizens (a "mass market") willing to live in 2500-square foot apartments with terraces and only one balcony open to the outdoors, though with a large garden. In 1988 I stayed in a hotel in Ixtatpa, Mexico, on the side of a mountain where the Sierra Madres plunge into the Pacific Ocean, with similar large terraced rooms and gardens. There was luxurious indoor space, outdoor space, big sky and sea views, and total privacy. I know I could live that way, especially if my house and I moved from harbor to sky city to mid-ocean to urban environment, etc. * unions are a big problem Though a card-carrying union machinist himself, Bucky railed against the construction unions. Tribal Afghans who couldn't read English assembled a color-coded dome he designed four times faster than New York union construction workers, and made fewer mistakes and did less damage. When Bucky built the Dymaxion house, a manufactured home designed to be delivered by helicopter, plumbing and electrical unions demanded to be able to dismantle and reassemble the factory-built plumbing and work in the house. * the greatest advancement in affordable shelter in the 20th century Believe it or not, Bucky pointed out that the greatest advancement in affordable shelter in the 20th century was the so-called mobile home, or trailer. Mostly ignored or reviled (only "trailer trash" lives in trailers) they have been the vanguard of manufactured housing using industrial revolution techniques in the otherwise Feudal construction industry, and providing our civilization with an abundance of back-up housing, in people's RVs as well as on manufacturer's lots. In fact, as Katrina showed, providing people with emergency housing is now so easy, such a non-problem, that only the Federal government can really screw it up. * form follows function only if function precedes form Almost everybody likes to say "form follows function," but in fact there seems to be an almost perverse impulse to defy function at the expense of some visionary form, ranging from Eero Saarinen's Kresge Auditorium at M.I.T. (1953), which seems to concentrate the weight of its massive roof in two mathematical points, ( www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fnart/fa267/20th/mit_aud.jpg ) to Frank Gehry's Stata Center at M.I.T. (2004), which is so wrapped up in its "trippy, drippy" morph of a building that it can't seem to keep the rain off, so M.I.T. -- finally wising up -- is suing him. ( www.mediabistro.com/unbeige/people/meanwhile_frank_gehry_gets_sludge_slung_from_fortune_magazine_73514.asp ) ( images.google.com/images?q=gehry+mit&hl=en&safe=off&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=ni ) But of all the classicists, modernists, anti-modernists, post-modernists, and deconstructivists, only Bucky seems to believe IN HIS BONES that form follows function, and to act accordingly. Al the others seem to be practicing a "functional style" that is actually aesthetically derived. I have lots more to say about Bucky, and in fact I plan to devote a future issue of C3M to his geometry and whole systems ideas, but that's enough for now.


Once in a while you have to be tangent to what the world is thinking, or you go crazy. -- Philip Johnson, architect circa 1987 By "followers" I mean some true disciples but also just those who followed after, in a world containing his ideas. A group of hippie educators running an alternative boarding school, Pacific High School, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, had the kids build geodesic domes to live in. Lloyd Kahn put together a book about, "Domebook" (1970), a paradoxical book, thin but large format, a paperback coffee table book, relatively cheap but beautiful. ( cgi.ebay.com/Domebook-One-1-Two-2-with-Insert-Lloyd-Kahn_W0QQitemZ350009802960QQihZ022QQcategoryZ29223QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem ) ( cgi.ebay.com/Domebook-One-1-Two-2-with-Insert-Lloyd-Kahn_W0QQitemZ350009802960QQihZ022QQcategoryZ29223QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem#ebayphotohosting ) In it he asked people with similar experiences to write. His mailbox full of responses formed much of "Domebook 2" (1972), ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000QFYDES/hip-20 ) which is a catalog of counter-culture dome-building experiments, also very paradoxical, full of chord factors and funky philosophy, hand-drawn pentagonal joist plans and black and white photos of sacred-looking interiors, space-age plastic caulk reviews and organic greenhouse instructions. Then, according to Wikipedia, ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lloyd_Kahn ) Lloyd Kahn's position shifted. In 1971, he bought a half-acre lot in a small Northern California coastal town, and built a shake-covered geodesic dome - later featured in "Life" magazine. After living in his dome for a year, Kahn decided domes didn't work; he took "Domebook 2" out of print and disassembled and sold his dome. He then went in search of other (non-dome) ways to build - across the U.S.A., Ireland, and England, and the book "Shelter" (1973) was the result. ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0936070110/hip-20 ) Kahn's Domebooks and Shelter book had a big impact on me. Despite his change of heart on Fuller's designs he maintained a deep respect for owner-builders, whether 3rd World indigenous people, or various hippies, hermits, visionaries and nuts in the 1st World. I especially loved the luscious pictures of dozens of places I would love to wake up. Another follower of Bucky's lead was Steve Baer. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Baer ) I became familiar with his ideas through his articles in various Stewart Brand publications (mainly "CQ" and "Whole Earth Review"), the "Whole Earth Catalog" books, ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000GTHUJY/hip-20 ) his hilarious and educational book, "Sunspots: An Exploration of Solar Energy Through Fact and Fiction" (1979), ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0889300615/hip-20 ) and from meeting him in 1976 at Zomeworks, his workshop and design firm in Albuquerque. ( www.zomeworks.com/ ) Some of the things he taught me were: * a lot of junk is old heat exchangers Baer liked to point out that if you poke around an old junk yard, a lot of the stuff you will find -- a lot of the big parts of our machines that break and can't be fixed -- are heat exchangers of some kind: radiators, manifolds, refrigeration coils and the like. * the clothesline paradox If you use an electric drier the power company meters that energy and the government pressures them to pressure you to conserve. If you get a more energy-efficient dryer they declare victory. But if you used a clothesline from the start, nobody meters that solar energy and it doesn't end up on anybody's pie charts of past or projected future energy use or savings. Baer called this the "Clothesline Paradox" and used it to explain why Federal tax credits for energy savings don't always encourage the most optimal behaviors. * passive solar is easy if you start with a blank slate When we met him in Albuquerque he took us to lunch, and then drove around looking at the progress of some downtown condo, offices and retail construction, muttering obscenities under his breath. "What's the matter?" I asked. "Passive solar is easy," he said, "if you design it in from the start. These are just the kind of projects that call me up after a few years, wanting to know how to make their buildings more energy efficient." * a southern exposure greenhouse filled with black barrels can work wonders Baer explained that one of the simplest and most effective passive solar designs was a rectangular plan house, long in the east-west direction, with a south-facing greenhouse attached. Inside the greenhouse are 55-gallon drums painted black, filled with water, and some sort of sliding walls or curtains make to possible to either insulate the house separate from the greenhouse (summer night, winter day), or else insulate the greenhouse from the outside while it is open to the house (summer day, winter night). Such a house in a mild climate would still need some energy source to maintain a precise 72 degrees (or whatever) but the energy usage would be reduced. I've always wanted to try this.


I'll remember Frank Lloyd Wright All of the nights we'd harmonize till dawn I never laughed so long So long, So long Architects may come and architects may go and never change your point of view When I run dry I stop a while and think of you -- Paul Simon, 1970 "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright" on the album "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005NKKZ/hip-20 ) I didn't know Frank Lloyd Wright ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_lloyd_wright ) from Stanley Myron Handelman ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Myron_Handelman ) until that trip to Phoenix, Arizona in the early 1980s. You see, my friend Will A. was a recent architecture student at San Diego State University, and had learned about a number of interesting buildings in the Phoenix area that he wanted to see. Will is an amazing guy; he takes the best photos of anyone I know, yet he is legally blind. He is also one of the most persuasive people I know. Since he can't drive, he convinced a bunch of his friends to take a trip to Phoenix (from San Diego) in a rented motor home to see architectural wonders, and to bring him along. (Now, buildings aren't prone to wander off, so we could've gone at any time of year; why we picked July, when Phoenix gets up to 110+ degrees Fahrenheit, I'll never know.) Our tour began with Frank Lloyd Wright's compound for teaching and designing in Scottsdale, Arizona, Taliesin West. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taliesin_West ) I was impressed with its rustic elegance, its profoundly unified aesthetics, and its efficient passive cooling techniques -- mostly involving building semi-underground. (Years later I would get to visit Phoenix's Arizona Biltmore Hotel and see more of Wright's profoundly unified aesthetics.) ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arizona_Biltmore_Hotel ) Next we visited an odd triangular house built for a developer as a PR stunt by some of Wright's students after his death. It was called "Presley's House of the Future" (1979) at 3713 Equestrian Trail, in nearby Ahwatukee, AZ. (I don't know if it's still there.) ( doney.net/aroundaz/celebrity/DA_houseofthefuture.jpg ) ( doney.net/aroundaz/celebrity/wright_franklloyd.htm ) It was nifty to see, had a unifying aesthetic, and only the Motorola- sponsored home computers and house control systems seemed hopelessly dated. (Houses of the Future are never kind to fast-changing technology.) It also used passive cooling, mostly by being set slightly underground. Next we visited one of the two destinations Will wanted to see designed by Italian architect and visionary, Paolo Soleri. I don't believe I'd heard of him until Will showed us a video clip about him, a "60 Minutes" segment that tried to smear him. (It implied that Soleri was wasting tax money, when in fact he doesn't receive any. Yet another reason I think Dan Rather is a scum-bag.) The first was the Cosanti Foundation, in Scottsdale, ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosanti ) which is a facility "in town" that Soleri established in order to have a base of operations while planning the building of Arcosanti 70 miles north. Soleri has a visionary and even theological approach to architecture, designing prototype cities for the future which he calls "arcologies." ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcology ) In "The Omega Seed: An Eschatological Hypothesis" (book, 1981) ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/038517716X/hip-20 ) Soleri explains that the modern city can be miniaturized by removing something we think we need but we don't: ... the cancer ... is, in this case, the sum of all the protean modes of the car: the car itself and the colossal road network, especially inside the cities (it chills the blood to watch Russia plunge recklessly into the car era), the oil refineries, the energy depletion, the oil tankers and pipelines, trains and trucks, the oil wars, the Detroits, the car strips, the parking lots and garages, the gas stations, the insurance companies, the moneylenders, the medical bills, the broken lives, ... the junkyards, the toil for naught, and most critical and crippling of all, the physical structure of the cities themselves. All of it for what? Soleri says a city of a million people with all forms of the car removed could fit into a single building, and each resident would be at most a three minute walk and an elevator ride from every other. This is an "arcology," designed to catalyze a creative cultural revolution, with all those jazz musicians and civil engineers and whatnot intermingling. He says the cities should be built in wilderness, so if you get fed up with the teeming mass of creative humanity you can take an elevator to the ground floor and go for a walk alone with nature. Almost immediately science fiction authors ran with the concept, only predicting that they would be built where real estate prices are already highest, in Los Angeles. This appeared in "Oath of Fealty" (book, 1982) by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1416555161/hip-20 ) as well as "Blade Runner" (movie, 1982) directed by Ridley Scott. (The "Blade Runner" Four-Disc Collector's Edition, featuring the director's final 2007 cut, is now out.) ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000UBMSB8/hip-20 ) When we arrived at the Cosanti Foundation, where initial planning was done for this Megacity, we almost couldn't find it. It looks like an empty lot with some desert bushes, surrounded by a fence. That's because the buildings are mostly underground. (For the passive solar benefits, natch'.) Soleri had his students pile up mounds of dirt and then pour a few inches of cement on top, and when it dried they dug the dirt out from underneath, creating shells which are partially buried and naturally cool underneath, even in a Phoenix summer and while they are casting bells of molten bronze. Some of the structures were in the shape of an "apse" or quarter sphere (i.e., half dome) with the open side facing south. The term in general use refers to a half-dome or cone in any orientation, ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apse ) but Solari is interested in the apse as passive solar device. It tracks the sun with its shape, allowing sun in the winter and providing shade in the summer. ( www.arcosanti.org/project/activities/ceramics/main.html ) Cosanti was good preparation for Arcosanti; we saw posters, plans, artists renderings and models. Then after a long drive up interstate 25 we arrived at the Megacity-in-progress in a beautiful desert. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arcosanti ) It was a mind-blowing experience. And it was nothing compared to the Grand Plan. Liberal use of the apse shape and other sun-aware designs provided passive solar benefits. We concluded our day by visiting a 13th century Native American cliff dwelling misnamed "Montezuma's Castle." ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montezuma%27s_Castle ) ( www.theoutdoorforum.com/images/montezuma-castle.gif ) There, carved into the side of this pueblo, was a south-facing apse shape, obviously there for its passive solar properties.


I am not familiar with the theories of modern architecture but what it looks like from the outside is that architects noticed they were designing for the masses and decided the masses didn't deserve to have any fun. Gothic, you can play all kinds of games with -- treasure hunt, hide and seek -- because the builders left curlycues and knickknacks around for you to discover but about all you can say to the maker of a glass skyscraper is You win. (You don't win fair but you win.) -- Ann Herbert, 1980 "The Rising Sun Neighborhood Newsletter" quoted in "The Next Whole Earth Catalog" ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000GTHUJY/hip-20 ) With my eyes newly opened to some of the grander visions of architecture, I began to notice the buildings around me more, in what seemed to be a world that didn't make sense. Pop culture writer and "new journalist" Tom Wolfe came to my rescue. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Wolfe ) I was already familiar with the range of his books from "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" (1968) ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0553380648/hip-20 ) about hippies taking LSD, to "The Right Stuff" (1979) ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312427565/hip-20 ) about America's Mercury astronauts, but it was his book on modern art, "The Painted Word" (1975) ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0553380656/hip-20 ) that provided the first clues to the nonsense I was seeing in the built world. The Wikipedia article on the book ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Painted_Word ) gives this summary: Wolfe provides his own history of what he sees as the devolution to modern art. He summarized that history: "In the beginning we got rid of nineteenth-century storybook realism. Then we got rid of representational objects. Then we got rid of the third dimension altogether and got really flat (Abstract Expressionism). Then we got rid of airiness, brushstrokes, most of the paint, and the last viruses of drawing and complicated designs". After providing examples of other techniques and the schools that abandoned them, Wolfe concluded with conceptual art: "there, at last, it was! No more realism, no more representation objects, no more lines, colors, forms, and contours, no more pigments, no more brushstrokes. ... Art made its final flight, climbed higher and higher in an ever-decreasing tighter-turning spiral until ... it disappeared up its own fundamental aperture ... and came out the other side as Art Theory!" Wolfe followed this up with "From Bauhaus to Our House" (1981) by Tom Wolfe ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/055338063X/hip-20 ) which described how the same impoverishment came about in architecture. Driven by a search for aesthetic purity and a Marxist political agenda, Avante-Garde architecture theory kept removing choices from the architect's toolbox because they were too Bourgeois, including: * color, * curves, * awnings, shades, or other apse-like window dressing, * obvious door frames, * bay windows, * high ceilings, * pitched roofs, * overhangs, * any discernible cultural references, * decoration of any kind But these austere designs were rejected by the Proletariat, who wanted little castles. And so the Moderns sold their new International Style to developers of commercial real estate, for whom in ultimate irony they took their designs for worker housing and pitched them up into skyscrapers for capitalism. Like a Junior High School student who seems paralyzed because they don't want to be ridiculed, architects ended up "trapped in a box" as Wolfe describes: At Yale the students gradually began to notice that everything they designed, everything the faculty members designed, everything the visiting critics (who gave critiques of student designs) designed...looked the same. Everyone designed the same...box...of glass and steel and concrete, with tiny beige bricks substituted occasionally. This became known as The Yale Box. Ironic drawings of The Yale Box began appearing on bulletin boards. "The Yale Box in the Mojave Desert"--and there would be a picture of The Yale Box out amid the sagebrush and joshua trees northeast of Palmdale, California. "The Yale Box Visits Winnie the Pooh"--and there would be a picture of the glass-and-steel cube up in a tree, the child's treehouse of the future. "The Yale Box Searches for Captain Nemo"--and there would be a picture of The Yale Box twenty thousand leagues under the sea with a periscope on top and a propeller in back. There was something gloriously nutty about this business of The Yale Box!--but nothing changed. Even in serious moments, nobody could design anything BUT Yale Boxes. The truth was that by now architectural students all over America were inside that very box, the same box the compound architects had closed in upon themselves in Europe twenty years before. The boxes all looked pretty much like the Seagram Building in New York (1956; architects: Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe and Philip Johnson). ( plaidnet.greenwichacademy.org/arthistoryslides/slideidgal/MODERNISM/LATE20THCENTURY/late20th40.jpg ) The problem, of course, is that hardly anyone likes the damned things. Even photographer Ezra Stoller, who built a career photographing Modern Architecture, admits in his retrospective, "Modern Architecture: Photographs by Ezra Stoller" (book, 1999) by William Saunders, that he didn't like them either. ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0810938162/hip-20 ) A number of people complimented his photographs by saying he made the buildings look better than they were. He himself said he hated skyscrapers, which he considered "filing cabinets for people," and he tried not to think about the "lemmings" that worked in them. Of course they also are mostly terrible heat engines, with major heating and cooling problems, the opposite of energy efficient. In pitching the benefits of a dome over lower Manhattan, Bucky Fuller liked to pint out that the bristles of skyscrapers there resemble radiator fins on a motorcycle engine, designed to maximize surface area and therefore heat transfer. It would be hard to design more energy-inefficient buildings. These and other flaws with the Modern program (water stains, collapsed flat roofs under snow load, vandalism, etc.) are detailed in "Form Follows Fiasco: Why Modern Architecture Hasn't Worked" (book, 1978) by Peter Blake. ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0316099392/hip-20 ) Formerly a revered architectural journalist, this book ruined his career, which in a sad way established his credibility. (His fatal error was in taking on the building materials industry, who are powerful advertisers.) In addition to providing evidence that the whole "forms follows function" slogan was a smokescreen, Blake finds he must at some point confront the fact that in addition to keeping off the snow, buildings have an additional functionality as communications systems. And to fulfill this function their designers must consider the context of the communication, including the cultural expectations of the average occupant. (This, of course, is something that practically no modernists really want to do, the occupants being way too Bourgeois to matter.) Near the end there, about 1980, Modern Architecture went really nuts, writhing in its attempt to escape the Yale Box. There were boxes with light blue mirror glass on the outside and some of the corners cut off, and cement stair wells with rounded corner buildings grafted on that looked like parking garages. I called this style "Crisis Modern" myself, but it turned out the architecture critics later gave it the name "Brutalist."


The term postmodernism was coined in the late 1940s by British historian Arnold Toynbee, but used in the mid-1970s by the American art critic and theorist Charles Jencks to describe contemporary antimodernist movements like Pop art, Concept Art, and Postminimalism. Jean-Francois Lyotard, in his book "The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge" (1979), was one of the first thinkers to write extensively about postmodernism as a wider cultural phenomenon. -- eNotes.com ( www.enotes.com/science-religion-encyclopedia/postmodernism ) My own architectural tastes, Bourgeois Philistine that I am, have always run towards Victorian, like the Plaza Inn at Disneyland. I like all the curlycues and knickknacks around for me to discover. When I first learned HTML in the early 1990s I made a page of interlocking architectural definitions, ( www.well.com/user/abs/PlazaInn/PlazaInn.html ) lifted from "The Penguin Dictionary of Architecture" as well as a standard dictionary when necessary, and beginning with a luscious description of the Plaza Inn from "The City Observed: Los Angeles" (book, 1984) by Charles Willard Moore, Peter Becker & Regula Campbell. ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0940512149/hip-20 ) I admit I love this architecture because of the way it makes me feel; and it makes me feel like I'm at Disneyland, having a great time. But until Post-Modernism architects weren't supposed to care -- or even know -- what emotional reactions I might have to their work. As Wolfe pointed out in "Bauhaus..." they weren't allowed to care until somebody gave them a new theory, approved by the compounds, as to why they should. And that theory came from the unlikely source of Yale's own Robert Venturi and his associates. The most accessible book from this quarter is "Learning from Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form" (1972) by Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour. ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/026272006X/hip-20 ) Venturi took a bunch of Yale architecture students to Las Vegas to study it intently. They timed the rate at which you cross thresholds driving a car down the strip, and compared it with the rate at which you cross thresholds walking through St. Mark's Square in Venice. Seriously. He didn't pause long on the fact that common people LIKED Las Vegas more than Modern Architecture. But he did declare Las Vegas' unschooled designers to have found better solutions to some urban problems than the Yale boxmakers. He said things like "A & P parking lots are almost alright" and I suppose they're better than trying to catch a cab in the snow outside Macy's on Christmas Eve, which is why people move from Manhattan to New Rochelle, NY. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Rochelle ) But I digress. Venturi distinguished between what he called "duck" and "decorated shed" types of architecture. A giant duck he saw on Long Island that sold duck hunting supplies gave him the first name. ( www.johnlumea.com/images/long_island_duckling.jpg ) He accused buildings like the Seagram building as being like a duck, saying one simple message: "modern architecture here" instead of "duck stuff here." He preferred the decorated shed, which is what he designed. Venturi spent a decade or so writing about how communi- cationally impoverished the International Style was and how the "vernacular" had to be let back in. What made him an unlikely rebel were his own buildings. (Critics called them "ugly and ordinary" so he adopted the adjectives as his rallying cry.) But on one, the Guild House (1964) in Philadelphia, he put a small, gold-anodized aluminum television antenna THAT DIDN'T WORK -- IT WAS DECORATIVE. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Venturi ) Take that, Mies Van Der Rohe! Then, what turned the tide was when two of the most celebrated Moderns, Michael Graves and Philip Johnson, turned coat. Graves with the Portland Public Service Building in 1982, ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portland_Public_Service_Building ) followed by Johnson with the AT&T Building in 1984, ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AT%26T_Building ) My own awakening that "something was in the air" came from a friend who was an art student at San Diego State University (SDSU), ( sdsu.edu ) who told me about a group of Avant-Garde designers from Milan, Italy who called themselves the "Memphis Group." ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memphis_Group ) ( www.design-technology.org/memphis1.htm ) Now these folks knew from vernacular! They used color, whimsy, and Flash Gordon references. Soon Post-Modernism was exploding out everywhere. The hip magazine "Utne Reader" did a cover story on Post-Modernism, featuring a collage of the two Davids: Michaelangelo's, and Letterman. MTV even had an "edgy" music video show called "PostModern MTV." ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PostModern_MTV ) Post-Modern sci-fi was cyberpunk, as featured in the U.K. sci-fi show "Max Headroom" and music videos by Billy Idol. When Jencks appropriated Toynbee's term in 1977 in "The Language of Post-Modern Architecture," ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0847813592/hip-20 ) to describe projects like Charles Moore's "Plaza d'Italia" (1976) in New Orleans, which has plenty of vernacular to go around, ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Willard_Moore ) he said: Defining our world today as Post-Modern is rather like defining women as 'non-men.' Little did he know that the pop culture would reinterpret the term to mean "It's OK to have fun now."


Country shade and lemonade, guess I'm slowin' down. It's a turn-back world with a local girl in a smaller town. Open cars, and clearer stars that's what I lack. But fantasy world and Disney Girls, I'm comin' back. -- Art Garfunkel, 1975 "Disney Girls" on the album "Breakaway" ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000255B/hip-20 ) I have long argued that the two greatest architects of the 20th Century were not strictly architects: Bucky Fuller and Walt Disney. Besides the pleasant emotional baggage, I like Walt for his urban design innovations, especially for the future -- more on that later. I was very gratified when the San Diego Union published a special feature on the new Horton Plaza in San Diego, and the only architectural influence mentioned was Disneyland. And yet it is a mistake to think of Walt Disney as some sort of patron saint of Post-Modernism. Walt was firmly Pre-Modern. There was no irony in his curlycues and knickknacks. I have explained to my daughter that one reason Disneyland did so well is that the world outside its gates, Southern California in 1955, was so dreary. Glass box skyscrapers, beige brick commercial buildings (whether a dentist's office or a Sears), and salt box houses with sliding glass patio doors dominated the landscape. Only churches, car dealers and coffee shops were exempt from having flat roofs. See: "Googie: Fifties Coffee Shop Architecture" (1986) by Alan Hess. ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0877013349/hip-20 ) And Modernists used the Disney name as the ultimate insult, as a symbol of the kind of thing they were trying to get rid of; later they used the same insult on the Post-Modernists. In both of the coffee-table books on Disney architecture there is a guest introduction in which this stigma is addressed. In "Building a Dream: The Art of Disney Architecture" (1996) by Beth Dunlop, ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0810931427/hip-20 ) the inimitable architecture historian and gadfly Vincent Scully warns: The very name "Disney" is so packed with opprobrium for old-line architecture modernists that it took a certain amount of courage for Beth Dunlap to agree to write it. In "Designing Disney's Theme Parks: The Architecture of Reassurance" (1998) by Karal Ann Marling, Neil Harris, Erika Doss, Yi-Fu Tuan and Greil Marcus, ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/2080136399/hip-20 ) chief curator of the Canadian Centre for Architecture Nicholas Olsberg says: From the moment it opened in July of 1955, Disneyland has been a key symbol of contemporary American culture, celebrated and attacked as the ultimate embodiment of the consumer society, of simulation and pastiche, of the blurring of distinctions between reality and imagery. As Disney's architectures of illusion have expanded -- to Florida, to Japan, to Paris -- "Disneyfication" has entered the language as a synonym for sham. But the one area where the Retros like Walt and the Pomos like Moore agree is that it's OK to mix fun and architecture.


August 9, 1985. It was a day that historians will record as the rebirth of San Diego's downtown. And one that San Diegans will long remember as the beginning of the Horton Plaza shopping experience -- a center filled with restaurants, fun, theaters and everything to bring them out of the suburbs and back downtown. -- San Diego Union reprint, August 10, 1985 I like Post-Modern Architecture because it makes me feel good, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. There have been five architects who have delighted me to the degree that I shouted with glee; four of them were Post-Modern. For the record, here's the list: Wright, Jerde, Graves, Johnson, and Venturi et. al. 1) In 1985, on a visit to Hollywood with another artist lady we know, we took it upon ourselves to try to walk the length of the Walk of Fame. We started at Hollywood and Vermont, ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=4800+Hollywood+Blvd.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.052731,-118.241955&sspn=0.004525,0.007145&ie=UTF8&ll=34.100851,-118.294086&spn=0.004522,0.007145&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) miles east of the last star on the sidewalk, because we were ignorant fools, but our wanderings brought us upon Barnsdall Park, and a beautiful house that I knew must be a Frank Lloyd Wright. After seeing Taliesin West I could just tell. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_lloyd_wright ) Sure enough, it was the Barnsdall "Hollyhock" House (1919-21). ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollyhock_House ) (I should mention that this same friend "got up in my grill" about how I'd only ready one book and now I thought I was an expert, when I was babbling on about "Bauhaus..." and so -- in what was clearly an ego-based over-reaction -- I went out and bought and read all the aforementioned books, as well as: * "A History of Postmodern Architecture" (book, 1990) by Heinrich Klotz; translated by Radka Donnell ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0262610671/hip-20 ) * "Architecture After Modernism" (book, 1996) by Diane Ghirardo ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/050020294X/hip-20 ) and some special issues of "Architectural Design" magazine about "Pop Architecture" and "Post-Modernism On Trial.) 2) In "Bauhaus..." I saw Philip Johnson's rendering for a new AT&T building. Reportedly the board had begged him, "Please don't give us a flat top," and so Johnson had opened his Venturi and found a pic of a motel sign in Virginia shaped like a piece of Colonial furniture. I got the impression the whole thing was a prank and the building would never be built. Then, I was sitting in a movie theater watching Albert Brook's "Lost In America" (1985) ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000056WRF/hip-20 ) and at the big finish, we he races to New York to take the job he didn't want, you see the Manhattan skyline in the background and there is the AT&T building. They built it! I was tickled pink. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Johnson ) ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AT%26T_Building ) 3) One of the ways Venturi & Co. opened a door to letting decoration back into architecture was through IRONY. A historical reference could be OK if it was an IRONIC REFERENCE. But hey, as they say in Hollywood, any publicity is good publicity if they spell your name right. The first "ironic reference" I saw with my own eyes was at the newly-built Horton Plaza shopping mall in downtown San Diego (1985; architect: Jerde Partnership). ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Jerde ) Windows in a wall of the the new mall recapitulated the old Balboa Theater (1924) next door. ( www.thebalboa.org/ ) I went there last week and took some pictures with my new iPhone. ( i164.photobucket.com/albums/u12/c3m_2007/hp1.jpg ) ( i164.photobucket.com/albums/u12/c3m_2007/hp2.jpg ) What I didn't realize until later was that Jerde's group also helped catalyze what I called the Post-Modern Explosion when they designed the temporary structures for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. ( www.jerde.com/projects/project.php?id=33 ) They introduced a combination of 4 colors: peach, burnt orange, hot pink, and teal. For a while they were the Post-Modern Colors. (Teal especially. For the next few years I saw teal at every trade show I went to; computer Geeks learned the word "teal" from their marketing and design people.) I also didn't realize until later that many of the urban spaces I found delightful were from Jerde, including the Mall of America, Universal CityWalk, and the Las Vegas attractions Treasure Island, Bellagio, and the Fremont Street Experience. ( www.usc.edu/dept/pubrel/trojan_family/summer01/Jerde/Jerde.html ) According to an article at Answers.com, ( www.answers.com/topic/jon-jerde ) Jerde is popular with clients because Jerde's projects are consistently marked by three things: a respect for user experience unique among American architects, a lasting sense of clarity and fun in the final result, and a very high rate of return. (Sounds like Apple under Steve Jobs. More on that later.) And by the way, since Horton Plaza the downtown district of San Diego has undergone a mind-boggling renaissance; other cities study us to see how it was done, when so many Urban Renewal projects failed. I thing Post-Modern Architecture was a major success factor. 4) In 1989 another couple joined my wife and I for a vacation in Orlando, wandering the EPCOT theme park -- walking from the United Kingdom land to the France land over an arched footbridge, ( www.wdwinfo.com/maps/epcot.htm ) and I saw a crazy looking new building nearby which -- except for the swan on the roof, looked an awful lot like a giant knock-off of Venturi's old Guild House. It turned out it was a Michael Graves. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Graves ) It turned out it was part of a secret plan by new Disney CEO Michael Eisner to not build any more dull buildings on the Florida property. The previous Disney management during the Walker / Miller had era only permitted two themed hotels on the property -- and one of them was "modern" theme! The apparently thought the public's thirst for Disney's pixie dust was a small, finite resource they had to manage like dwindling fossil fuels. But Eisner noticed the two themed hotels had one-year waiting lists while the dozen non-themed hotels went unfilled, so when he couldn't get out of a two-hotel project already signed when he took over, he insisted it be themed, and convinced Graves to do it. The surreal and slightly unsettling Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Hotels were the result. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Disney_World_Dolphin ) ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Disney_World_Swan ) I was delighted to find out I wasn't the only one to have an epiphany when seeing the project for the first time. In "Building a Dream: The Art of Disney Architecture" (1996) ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0810931427/hip-20 ) Beth Dunlop tells how the world found out about the project: And, indeed, the revelation of it all didn't come with typical Disney hoopla. It came inadvertently after Diane Sawyer and a film crew came to Orlando and followed Eisner around for days. Most of what was filmed for this segment of "60 Minutes" was already under construction, primarily the Disney-MGM Studios and the Grand Floridian Beach Resort, but Eisner was briefly shown standing in front of a scale model of a building. The night the show aired, Karen Stein, senior editor of Architectural Record, was at home in her New York apartment. She had flipped on the TV almost absentmindedly when an image riveted her attention: it was not Eisner; it was the model behind Eisner. She recognized the distinctive architectural style. The next morning, she got on the phone to Michael Graves's office in Princeton, New Jersey. Was he doing a building for Disney? Graves sent her to Burbank: his instructions had been to keep silent about the two hotels and the office building he was designing, but the secret was out. Soon buildings designed for Disney by Graves, Stern, and Isozaki were appearing on covers of architectural magazines. By then, architecture had become Eisner's passion. He was being regarded, rightly or wrongly, as a "modern Medici," a major patron of architecture. Graves of course went on to design the new Disney headquarters for Michael Eisner to work in, the one with the Seven Dwarves holding up the Parthenon. ( architecture.about.com/library/blgravesteam.htm ) The architectural community has never forgiven him for that one, so he went on to design appliances for Target stores, what the heck, might as well be hanged for a sheep as a goat. ( images.google.com/images?gbv=2&svnum=10&hl=en&safe=off&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=graves+target&spell=1 ) This explains why, when Charles Jencks in "Kings of Infinite Space" (book based on TV show, 1998) ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/031245595X/hip-20 ) tried to equate Graves with Wright, it went over like a lead balloon. 5) Lastly, I was driving around the Walt Disney World property in 1993, attending the AVS User Group Meeting there (and staying in the Dolphin, which is a whole other weird story), when I spotted what looked like a Venturi. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Venturi ) Sure enough, it was the Reedy Creek Emergency Services Headquarters and Fire Station (1993; architects: Venturi Scott Brown & Assoc.), ( www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/florida/disney/venturi/firestation.html ) which I was able to ID not because of the dalmation spots all over it (Graves could've done that) but for the resemblance to the Dixwell Fire Station a.k.a. Engine Company No. 3 (1972, architects: Venturi and Rauch), ( www.bluffton.edu/~sullivanm/venturi/nh.html ) with its peeled-off facade. Alone in my car, I gave a rebel yell. I was having so much fun, I forgot to ask: how is the building working as a heat engine?


With the increasing comfort and speed of transportation, California is fast becoming a winter playground of the leisure class of Americans. I have no doubt that when we have socialism, and the place of a man's abode will be determined by his will rather than it is now by his job, Southern California will be the most thickly settled part of the American continent. -- H. Gaylord Wilshire (namesake of Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles) circa 1888; quoted in "The City Observed: Los Angeles" (book, 1984) by Charles Willard Moore, Peter Becker & Regula Campbell ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0940512149/hip-20 ) I've told the tale before, in C3M v. 4 n. 7, ( www.well.com/~abs/Cyb/4.669211660910299067185320382047/c3m_0407.txt ) of how I spent my first 4 months living in LA in 1986 without my wife or a car, bicycling to work, and dining alone reading Los Angeles guidebooks from the library and taking notes. Two excellent books I read were: * "Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies" (book, 1971) by Reyner Banham ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0520219244/hip-20 ) * "The City Observed: Los Angeles" (book, 1984) by Charles Willard Moore, Peter Becker & Regula Campbell ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0940512149/hip-20 ) Later, I had so much material I decided to organize an L.A. Architecture Tour for ten of my closest San Diego friends. Through the magic of the Internet and Google Maps I can bring it to you now. Of course, there's no substitute for seeing the structures in person, so do that if you get a chance. As part of a Micro-Democracy project I handed out Red, Yellow and Green flags to each attendee on the night before, and presented various categories of L.A. architecture I'd concocted for them to vote on. These won: * Hollywood Babylon * Giant Hotdog (a.k.a. "Duck") * Art Deco/Streamline Moderne * Post-Modern Categories like "Crisis Modern" and "Fifties Dingbat" didn't make the cut, and were only included when convenient. So I threw together an itinerary, based on the voting and my voluminous research (you know me), and here's what it was (with duplicates removed): + = stopped - = drove by

Sat. 13 June 1987

SAN GABRIEL RIVER VALLEY + Embassy Suites Hotel (Post-Mod, 1985) 8425 Firestone Blvd., W. of Brookshire, Downey, CA 90241 (west of Brookshire Ave.) ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=8425+Firestone+Blvd.,+Downey,+CA+90241&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=33.352165,58.535156&ie=UTF8&ll=33.939817,-118.130858&spn=0.008527,0.014291&t=h&z=16&om=1 ) ( images.travelnow.com/hotels/LAX_EMBD-exter-1.jpg ) - Rockwell International Space Station Division (Aviation, '40s) 12214 Lakewood Blvd., Downey, CA 90241 ( www.airfields-freeman.com/CA/Downey_CA_05_n_helipad.jpg ) ( www.columbiaspacescience.org/downey/index.htm ) - Tahitian Village Motel (Googie, 1965) Rosecrans & Lakewood, Bellflower ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Rosecrans+%26+Lakewood,+Bellflower,+ca&sll=32.87049,-116.97098&sspn=0.146773,0.228653&ie=UTF8&ll=33.904046,-118.14281&spn=0.009065,0.014291&t=h&z=16&om=1 ) ( www.roadsidepeek.com/tiki/tikitown/index.htm ) ( www.roadsidepeek.com/losttreas/tahitianvillage/index.htm ) WATTS + Simon Rodia Towers (Arts & Crafts, 1921-1954) 1765 E. 107th St., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=1765+E.+107th+St.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=33.904046,-118.14281&sspn=0.009065,0.014291&ie=UTF8&ll=33.939194,-118.241494&spn=0.004531,0.007145&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.roadtripamerica.com/roadside/Watts-Towers-of-Simon-Rodia.htm ) ( www.grconnect.com/murals/html/r14img1925.html ) DOWNTOWN - Felix Chevrolet (Electrographic, '20s) Jefferson & Figueroa, Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Jefferson+%26+Figueroa,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=33.939194,-118.241494&sspn=0.004531,0.007145&ie=UTF8&ll=34.0222,-118.28001&spn=0.009052,0.014291&t=h&z=16&om=1 ) ( www.publicartinla.com/neon_signs/felix_neon.html ) - I-110 & I-10 (busiest intersection in U.S.) ( www.scvresources.com/highways/i_10.htm ) + Coca Cola Bottling Plant (Streamline Modern, 1937, architect: Robert V. Derrah) 1334 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=1334+S.+Central+Avenue,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.05333,-118.24499&sspn=0.289568,0.457306&ie=UTF8&ll=34.029562,-118.2463&spn=0.004526,0.007145&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( dispatches.blogspot.com/uploaded_images/cocacolala-786850.jpg ) + Museum of Neon Art (M.O.N.A.) - now Lily Lakich Studios 704 Traction Ave., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=704+Traction+Ave.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.029562,-118.2463&sspn=0.004526,0.007145&ie=UTF8&ll=34.045983,-118.236494&spn=0.004525,0.007145&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( pictopia.com/perl/get_image?provider_id=10&size=550x550_mb&ptp_photo_id=462395 ) + New Otani Hotel (International) 120 South Los Angeles St., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=120+South+Los+Angeles+St.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.045983,-118.236494&sspn=0.004525,0.007145&ie=UTF8&ll=34.051495,-118.242599&spn=0.004525,0.007145&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( uk.holidaysguide.yahoo.com/p-hotel_guide-1455081-m-location-the_new_otani_hotel_garden-i ) HOLLYWOOD + Barnsdall "Hollyhock" House (Holly Bab, 1919-21, architect: Frank Lloyd Wright) 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=4800+Hollywood+Blvd.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.052731,-118.241955&sspn=0.004525,0.007145&ie=UTF8&ll=34.100851,-118.294086&spn=0.004522,0.007145&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fnart/fa267/FLW_calif.html ) - Hyperion Avenue viaduct (Public Works) Glendale Blvd. & LA River, Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Hyperion+Ave.+%26+Glendale+Blvd.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.10985,-118.260827&sspn=0.018086,0.028582&ie=UTF8&ll=34.113679,-118.264904&spn=0.004521,0.007145&t=h&z=17&iwloc=addr&om=1 ) ( friendsofatwatervillage.org/blog/GlendaleHyperionViaductBridges_IS.jpg ) - Craftsman style bungalows on Larga Ave. (Arts & Crafts) Larga Ave., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Larga+Ave,+los+angeles,+ca&sll=32.87049,-116.97098&sspn=0.138123,0.228653&ie=UTF8&ll=34.113945,-118.256224&spn=0.004255,0.007145&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Bungalow ) SILVERLAKE - Neutraland (International, 1948-60) 2226 to 2250 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=2250+Silver+Lake+Blvd.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.115393,-118.256063&sspn=0.017125,0.028582&ie=UTF8&ll=34.098692,-118.261213&spn=0.008564,0.014291&t=h&z=16&om=1 ) ( www.midcenturymodernist.com/events/index.html ) ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Neutra ) DOWNTOWN - Carroll Ave. houses (Victorian & Queen Anne) ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=carroll+ave,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.098692,-118.261213&sspn=0.008564,0.014291&ie=UTF8&ll=34.069583,-118.255076&spn=0.004284,0.007145&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( preservation.lacity.org/node/271?size=_original ) ( preservation.lacity.org/node/252?size=_original ) ( bigorangelandmarks.blogspot.com/2007/10/no-79-haskins-house.html ) + 7th Market Place (Post-Mod, 1986, architects: Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Chicago office) Figueroa & 7th, Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Figueroa+%26+7th,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=32.87049,-116.97098&sspn=0.130337,0.228653&ie=UTF8&ll=34.049788,-118.259883&spn=0.004018,0.007145&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( books.google.com/books?id=WWl29hn0C9gC&pg=PA240&lpg=PA240&dq=7th+market+figueroa+angeles&source=web&ots=sUaisw063w&sig=jOPKzt_DJoePA89ZJaRox0Plq_4 ) - Bonaventure Hotel (Crisis Mod, 1975, architect: John Portman) 404 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=404+S.+Figueroa+St.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=32.87049,-116.97098&sspn=0.138988,0.228653&ie=UTF8&ll=34.054277,-118.256042&spn=0.008569,0.014291&t=h&z=16&om=1 ) ( www.answers.com/topic/westin-bonaventure-hotel ) ( www.matthewweathers.com/year2001/downtown_bonaventure.htm ) - Central Library (Public Works/Art Deco 1926) ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=630+W.+5th+St.,+Los+Angeles,+CA+90071&sll=34.054544,-118.256042&sspn=0.008036,0.014291&ie=UTF8&ll=34.049744,-118.255227&spn=0.008036,0.014291&t=h&z=16&om=1 ) ( www.answers.com/topic/los-angeles-public-library ) ( bigorangelandmarks.blogspot.com/2007/07/no-46-central-library-building.html ) - Mooers House 818 S. Bonnie Brae, Los Angeles, CA (Moorish, 1894) ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=818+S.+Bonnie+Brae,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.054971,-118.274174&sspn=0.009049,0.014291&ie=UTF8&ll=34.053531,-118.275794&spn=0.004525,0.007145&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( bigorangelandmarks.blogspot.com/2007/07/no-45-mooers-house.html ) WILSHIRE DISTRICT + Bullocks Wilshire (Art Deco, 1929) 3050 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=3050+Wilshire+Blvd.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=32.87049,-116.97098&sspn=0.146773,0.228653&ie=UTF8&ll=34.062366,-118.288271&spn=0.004524,0.007145&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.robertlandau.com/labw/pages/L.A.%20Bullocks%20Wilshire.htm ) ( www.you-are-here.com/building/bullock.html ) - apartments (Streamline Mod, 1936; architect: Milton J. Black) NW corner, S. Hobart & 9th St. (James M. Wood Ave.), Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=s+hobart+blvd+%26+james+m+wood+blvd,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.05333,-118.24499&sspn=0.257142,0.457306&ie=UTF8&ll=34.055939,-118.305067&spn=0.002009,0.003573&t=h&z=18&om=1 ) - Pellissier Building / Wiltern Theater (Art Deco) SE corner of Wilshire & Western, Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Wilshire+%26+Western,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.055939,-118.305067&sspn=0.002009,0.003573&ie=UTF8&ll=34.06169,-118.309118&spn=0.004017,0.007145&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( img165.imageshack.us/img165/1623/losangelesthepellissierds1.jpg) ( www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=416008&page=4 ) - The Darkroom camera shop (Giant Hot Dog) 5370 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=5370+Wilshire+Blvd.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=32.87049,-116.97098&sspn=0.138123,0.228653&ie=UTF8&ll=34.063041,-118.345585&spn=0.004257,0.007145&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.latimemachines.com/0281extra.JPG ) - The Miracle Mile Wilshire from Sycamore to Masselin, Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&saddr=sycamore+%26+wilshire,+Los+Angeles,+CA&daddr=5757+Wilshire+Blvd,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.063255,-118.353653&sspn=0.008515,0.014291&ie=UTF8&ll=34.062312,-118.348289&spn=0.008515,0.014291&t=h&z=16&om=1 ) HOLLYWOOD + Pan-Pacific Auditorium 7600 West Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA [now gone] ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=7600+Beverly+Blvd,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.076212,-118.392642&sspn=0.008513,0.014291&ie=UTF8&ll=34.074319,-118.355423&spn=0.004257,0.007145&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan-Pacific_Auditorium ) ( www.lafire.com/famous_fires/890524_PanPacificFire/052489_PanPacific.htm ) ( www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=16591 ) - Television City (International, '60s) SE corner of Beverly & Fairfax, Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Beverly+%26+Fairfax,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.074319,-118.355423&sspn=0.004257,0.007145&ie=UTF8&ll=34.074524,-118.359178&spn=0.004257,0.007145&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.you-are-here.com/modern/cbs_tv.html ) WEST HOLLYWOOD - Beverly Center (Crisis Mod, 1982) SW corner of Beverly Blvd and La Cienega, West Hollywood, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Beverly+Blvd+%26+N+La+Cienega+Blvd,+Los+Angeles,+Los+Angeles,+California+90048,+United+States&sll=34.076568,-118.376613&sspn=0.008513,0.014291&ie=UTF8&cd=1&geocode=0,34.076060,-118.376610&ll=34.074542,-118.377482&spn=0.004257,0.007145&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.mitchglaser.com/journal/uploaded_images/beverly2-742449.jpg) - Hard Rock Cafe SE corner of Beverly Pl & Beverly Blvd, West Hollywood, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Beverly+Pl+%26+Beverly+Blvd,+Los+Angeles,+California+90048,+United+States&sll=34.077119,-118.378866&sspn=0.008033,0.014291&ie=UTF8&ll=34.077119,-118.378866&spn=0.008033,0.014291&t=h&z=16&iwloc=addr&om=1 ) ( www.laphotos.com/beverly_hills_hard_rock_cafe.jpg ) - Tail O' the Pup (Giant Hot Dog) [now moved] 329 N. San Vicente Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=329+N.+San+Vicente+Boulevard,+West+Hollywood,+CA&sll=32.786481,-117.150049&sspn=0.032615,0.057163&ie=UTF8&ll=34.077261,-118.379574&spn=0.004017,0.007145&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.preservela.com/archives/000704.html ) - "Miami Vice" office building (black, white & pinks tiles) SW corner of Melrose and La Cienega, West Hollywood, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Melrose+%26+N+La+Cienega+Blvd,+Los+Angeles,+Los+Angeles,+California+90048,+United+States&sll=34.074542,-118.377482&sspn=0.004257,0.007145&ie=UTF8&ll=34.082042,-118.376532&spn=0.002128,0.003573&t=h&z=18&om=1 ) I haven't been able to figure out what this building is really called, or who designed it, but I got a picture from Google Street View. ( i164.photobucket.com/albums/u12/c3m_2007/MelroseLaCienega.jpg ) HOLLYWOOD - Max Factor Building 166-168 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Hollywood+Blvd.+%26+Highland+Ave.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=33.879733,-118.406439&sspn=0.007963,0.014269&ie=UTF8&ll=34.102353,-118.338697&spn=0.003971,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.you-are-here.com/building/max_factor.html ) - Capitol Records building 1750 Vine St., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=1750+Vine+St.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=32.87049,-116.97098&sspn=0.128895,0.22831&ie=UTF8&ll=34.103774,-118.326681&spn=0.003971,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( history.sandiego.edu/gen/recording/images2/425-09a.jpg ) SOUTH BAY + Winnie and Such Co. (Streamline Moderne, 1935) 5610 Soto St., Huntington Park, CA Slauson Ave & Soto St., Huntington Park, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=5610+Soto+St.+Huntington+Park,+CA+90255&sll=33.989879,-118.21906&sspn=0.003736,0.007135&layer=c&ie=UTF8&ll=33.992637,-118.219349&spn=0.003736,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1&cbll=33.989061,-118.21862 ) ( 5610soto.com/ ) SAN GABRIEL RIVER VALLEY - Johnie's Broiler (Googie, '50s) 7447 Firestone Blvd., Downey, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=7447+Firestone+Blvd,+Downey,+CA&sll=33.943716,-118.138003&sspn=0.003738,0.007135&ie=UTF8&ll=33.94749,-118.148346&spn=0.003738,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.houseplantpicturestudio.com/HPS/downey/P4300073.jpg ) ( www.laokay.com/JohniesBroiler.htm )

Sun. 14 June 1987

SAN GABRIEL RIVER VALLEY + Samson Tyre & Rubber Co. (Holly Bab, 1929) 5675 Telegraph Rd., Commerce, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=5675+Telegraph+Rd,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.00118,-118.155&sspn=0.119542,0.22831&ie=UTF8&ll=34.006708,-118.153603&spn=0.007471,0.014269&t=h&z=16&om=1 ) ( www.learningsites.com/NWPalace/NWP_Assyromania.htm ) WEST SIDE + Westside Pavilion (Post-Mod, 1985) SE corner of Pico and Westwood, Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Pico+and+Westwood,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.040232,-118.428476&sspn=0.007468,0.014269&ie=UTF8&ll=34.041174,-118.428476&spn=0.003734,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.flickr.com/photos/pnoeric/1315677746/ ) ( www.barb.nl/disneyficatie/Image61.jpg ) BEL AIR - Playboy Mansion (Holly-Bab) 10236 Charing Cross Rd., E. of Beverly Glen, Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=10236+Charing+Cross+Rd.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.05333,-118.24499&sspn=0.47787,0.913239&ie=UTF8&ll=34.076461,-118.429699&spn=0.003732,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( johnmm.bol.ucla.edu/playboy.htm ) - Beverly Hillbillies Mansion (Holly-Bab) [now disguised] 750 Bel Air Rd., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=750+Bel+Air+Rd.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=32.87049,-116.97098&sspn=0.12111,0.22831&ie=UTF8&ll=34.087391,-118.442413&spn=0.001866,0.003567&t=h&z=18&om=1 ) ( virtualglobetrotting.com/map/13137/ ) - Zsa-Zsa Gabor (formerly Howard Hughes) residence (Holly-Bab) 1001 Bel Air Rd., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=1001+Bel+Air+Rd.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=33.94749,-118.148346&sspn=0.003738,0.007135&ie=UTF8&ll=34.093335,-118.443754&spn=0.003732,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.guideofhollywood.com/main/celebrityaddresses.htm ) BEVERLY HILLS - Beverly Hills Hotel (Holly Bab, 1911-12; architect: Elmer Grey) N. of Sunset Blvd., at Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Sunset+Blvd.,+at+Rodeo+Dr.,+Beverly+Hills,+CA&sll=32.87049,-116.97098&sspn=0.137546,0.22831&ie=UTF8&ll=34.080549,-118.414164&spn=0.004239,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( honeymoons.about.com/od/beverlyhills/ig/CA--Beverly-Hills-Hotel/Beverly-Hills-Hotel-Sign.htm ) ( www.hotelplanner.com/Hotels/4178-0-lex/Reservations-The-Beverly-Hills-Hotel-&-Bungalows.html ) - Spadena ("witch") house (Holly Bab, 1921; architect: Henry Oliver) SE corner of Walden & Carmelita, Beverly Hills, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Walden+%26+Carmelita,+Beverly+Hills,+CA&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=31.150864,58.447266&ie=UTF8&ll=34.068929,-118.411294&spn=0.001986,0.003567&t=h&z=18&om=1 ) ( static.flickr.com/97/212028246_2f2afbfab6_o.jpg ) ( bldgblog.blogspot.com/2006/08/visionary-state-interview-with-erik.html ) - Rodeo Drive shops (mixed) Rodeo Dr. S. of Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Rodeo+Dr.+%26+Santa+Monica+Blvd.,+Beverly+Hills,+CA&sll=34.068929,-118.411294&sspn=0.001986,0.003567&ie=UTF8&ll=34.070205,-118.403692&spn=0.003973,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.hellobeverlyhills.com/Photos_Photos.Cfm ) - Union 76 Station (Electrographic, 1965) 427 N. Crescent Dr., SW corner of Little Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=N+Crescent+Dr.+%26+S.+Santa+Monica+Blvd.,+Beverly+Hills,+CA&sll=34.072791,-118.401504&sspn=0.003733,0.007135&ie=UTF8&ll=34.07172,-118.400388&spn=0.001866,0.003567&t=h&z=18&om=1 ) ( www.you-are-here.com/modern/76.html ) ( www.roadsidepeek.com/roadusa/southwest/california/socal/socalauto/socalgas/index.htm ) + Greystone mansion (Holly Bab, 1925-28) E. off of Loma Vista Dr., N. of Doheny Rd., Beverly Hills, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Loma+Vista+Rd.+%26+Doheny+Rd.,+Beverly+Hills,+CA&sll=32.87049,-116.97098&sspn=0.128895,0.22831&ie=UTF8&ll=34.091967,-118.400795&spn=0.003972,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( lastheplace.com/2006/11/10/greystone-comes-to-life-once-again-the-beverly-hills-garden-design-showcase-at-historic-greystone-estate-2/ ) WEST HOLLYWOOD + Pacific Design Center (Crisis Mod, 1973) 8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=8687+Melrose+Ave.,+West+Hollywood,+CA&sll=34.07172,-118.400388&sspn=0.001866,0.003567&ie=UTF8&ll=34.08293,-118.382642&spn=0.003732,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( 3quarksdaily.blogs.com/3quarksdaily/2007/08/grab-bag-the-pd.html ) HOLLYWOOD + Melrose Avenue shops ( maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&saddr=gardner+and+melrose+ave,+los+angeles,+ca&daddr=la+brea+and+melrose+ave,+los+angeles,+ca&sll=34.083545,-118.348655&sspn=0.009046,0.014291&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=16&om=1 ) ( www.seeing-stars.com/ImagePages/MelrosePhoto1.shtml ) Here my friends snuck off and bought me the beautiful book, "L.A. Lost & Found: An Architectural History of Los Angeles" (1987) by Sam Hall Kaplan (Author), Julius Shulman (Photographer) ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0940512238/hip-20 ) to show their appreciation for my organizing the tour, and signed it with some kind words. - Del Mar Studios (Punk and Post-Mod) 486 Caheuenga, SE corner of Willoughby, Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&safe=off&q=%22cahuenga+%26+willoughby%22++hollywood&ie=UTF8&ll=34.087093,-118.328741&spn=0.001986,0.003567&t=h&z=18&om=1 ) - Paramount Pictures gate (Holly Bab, 1926) 5451 Marathon Ave., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=5451+Marathon+Ave.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.087093,-118.328741&sspn=0.001986,0.003567&ie=UTF8&ll=34.085552,-118.317153&spn=0.003972,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.cobbles.com/simpp_archive/1film_antitrust.htm ) - Pantages Theater (Holly Bab, 1930) 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=6233+Hollywood+Blvd.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.101653,-118.325398&sspn=0.007463,0.014269&ie=UTF8&ll=34.101917,-118.325586&spn=0.003731,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.inetours.com/Los_Angeles/Images/Hlywd_Blvd/Pantages_7649.jpg ) - Egyptian Theater (Holly Bab, 1922) 6708 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=6708+Hollywood+Blvd.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.056944,-118.239884&sspn=0.003733,0.007135&ie=UTF8&ll=34.101158,-118.336476&spn=0.001866,0.003567&t=h&z=18&om=1 ) ( www.americancinematheque.com/egyptian/egypt.htm ) - 3-D Mural (Tourist) SE corner of Hollywood & Wilcox, Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Hollywood+%26+Wilcox,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.101917,-118.325586&sspn=0.003731,0.007135&ie=UTF8&ll=34.1015,-118.331144&spn=0.001866,0.003567&t=h&z=18&om=1 ) ( golosangeles.about.com/od/laphotogalleries/ig/Hollywood-Photo-Tour/Mural-of-Stars.htm ) - On Location Hollywood (miniature 1940s Hollywood) (Holly Bab) 6834 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=6834+Hollywood+Blvd.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.1015,-118.331144&sspn=0.001866,0.003567&ie=UTF8&ll=34.102886,-118.33919&spn=0.007462,0.014269&t=h&z=16&om=1 ) The location is now Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store Hollywood, adjacent to the El Capitan Theater. ( disney.go.com/disneypictures/el_capitan/soda_fountain/main.html ) The miniatures are now with the Hollywood Museum, which recently closed its Hollywood venue. Their future is unknown. ( www.hollywoodmuseum.com/ ) - Chinese Theater (Holly Bab, 1927) 6925 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=6925+Hollywood+Blvd.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.117774,-118.288765&sspn=0.119378,0.22831&ie=UTF8&ll=34.101535,-118.340403&spn=0.003731,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.sights-and-culture.com/America/Hollywood-Chinese-Theatre-1.html ) - Magic Castle ("the old Same place") (Holly Bab, 1909) N. of Franklin at Orange, Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Franklin+at+Orange,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=34.101535,-118.340403&sspn=0.003731,0.007135&ie=UTF8&ll=34.105195,-118.341744&spn=0.003731,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.yesterdayusa.com/MagicCastle.htm ) + Griffith Observatory (Art Deco/Public Works, 1935) Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Griffith+Observatory,+Los+Angeles,+CA&ie=UTF8&ll=34.118466,-118.300148&spn=0.001865,0.003567&t=h&z=18&om=1 ) - Western Avenue sleaze Western Ave. between Hollywood Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=d&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&saddr=Western+Ave.+and+Santa+Monica+Blvd,+los+angeles,+ca&daddr=Western+Ave.+and+Hollywood+Blvd.,+los+angeles,+ca&sll=34.09626,-118.30922&sspn=0.014926,0.028539&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=15&om=1 ) ( www.tndwest.com/hollywoodwestern.html ) DOWNTOWN - Pueblo de Los Angeles & Olvera St. (Pueblo/Tourist, 1871+) SE corner of N Spring St. & W. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=N+Spring+St.+%26+W.+Cesar+E.+Chavez+Ave.,+Los+Angeles,+Los+Angeles,+California,+United+States&sll=34.056819,-118.239112&sspn=0.007466,0.014269&ie=UTF8&ll=34.056944,-118.239884&spn=0.003733,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.image-archeology.com/olvera_street_los_angeles.htm ) - Union Station (Mission Revival) Alameda S. of Macy St., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=800+N+Alameda+St,+Los+Angeles,+CA+90012&sll=34.057335,-118.236537&sspn=0.007466,0.014269&ie=UTF8&ll=34.056659,-118.236537&spn=0.003733,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( www.visitingdc.com/city/union-station-los-angeles-address.asp ) EAST LA - "General Hospital" a.k.a. Los Angeles COunty-USC Medical Center (Art Deco, 1912; architects: Allied Architects of Los Angeles) 1200 N. State St., Los Angeles, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=1200+N.+State+St.,+Los+Angeles,+CA&sll=32.87049,-116.97098&sspn=0.12111,0.22831&ie=UTF8&ll=34.059824,-118.209157&spn=0.003733,0.007135&t=h&z=17&om=1 ) ( general-hospital-online.com/general_hospital1.jpg ) ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_County-USC_Medical_Center ) - Baby Doe's (Disneyfied) SE of I-710 and I-10, Monterey Park, CA ( maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=3600+W+Ramona+Blvd,+Monterey+Park,+CA&sll=34.058722,-118.163152&sspn=0.007466,0.014269&ie=UTF8&ll=34.062721,-118.163002&spn=0.007466,0.014269&t=h&z=16&iwloc=addr&om=1 ) ( www.babydoe.org/restaurant.htm ) Those of you who went on this trip (you know who you are): if you I have any photos of it you'd like to share, I'd love to digitize and aggregate them. Thanks.


Sully did jobs at Disneyland, the Visitor's Center on top of the Hoover Dam, the Long Beach Convention Center which looks like a wave and is all color and no stamping, the Los Angeles Country Fairgrounds and the Pomona Convention Center, the light Rail Project in East Los Angeles, the Hyatt Alicante Hotel, which mirrors the ocean front walk in Rio de Janeiro, the wharf of the Queen Mary in Long Beach, Pershing Square, Sea World -- you name it, no matter where you go, Sully has already been there and provided the pavement for you. -- Leslie McGuire, 2007 Managing Editor, Landscape Online "Profile: Francis 'Sully' Sullivan, The King of Stamped Concrete" ( www.landscapeonline.com/research/article/8541 ) Fast forward 20 years. Last summer my friend Wayne H. and I were watching our daughters swim at the Embassy Suites Anaheim South as part of a Disney resort minivacation, and we were facing another highrise hotel, the Hyatt Regency Alicante ( www.casenet.com/travel/anaheimhyattregencyalicante.htm ) at Harbor and Chapman. This was a building that didn't quite make the cut for the L.A. Architecture Tour, which he attended, in 1987. "Do you know anything about that building?" he asked me. "Funny you should ask," I replied. "That's probably the only building within a 10 mile radius that I know much of anything about." I told that when it first opened in 1987 as the Princess Alicante Hotel, huge and fancy-looking, exactly one mile south of Disneyland, there were giant pink flamingos in a fountain out front, and giant Flamingo-pink steel cut-out palm trees by the pool. Flamingo-pink accents abounded. I'd loved it. Later the flamingos and pink accents vanished, as the hotel changed its name several times. Then, around 1999, I decided to track down who the original architect was. Web searches eventually yielded the firm "Webb Zerafa Menkes Housden Partnership" (WZMH), ( www.wzmh.com/ ) which used to have an office in Santa Monica but now is in Toronto. There was a paucity of information on the web. Nobody seemed proud of this project. (Eventually the above-named Sully, who did the front driveway's stamped cement, was identified.) Finally, on the web site for CHS Hospitality, "A Hotel Investment, Advisory and Financial Services Firm" ( chshospitality.com/ ) I found, among their many accomplishments, the following: Princess Alicante (now Hyatt) and office tower XMD - Garden Grove, CA for the developer Review of initial operations after opening (1987), and the marketing plans. Recommendations to owner led to replacement of Princess Hotels and Resorts as operator and flag, by Hyatt Hotels. Also, assisted owner in Debtor Workout negotiations with the S&L lender. I wondered what the real story about all this was. "Well, the reason I mention it," Wayne said, "is that huge glass facade in front there must bleed energy -- hard to cool and hard to heat. It must be an operations nightmare." "I wonder if that's whey they had financial setbacks," I suggested.


The essential paradigm of cyberspace is creating partially situated identities out of actual or potential social reality in terms of canonical forms of human contact, thus renormalizing the phenomenology of narrative space and requiring the naturalization of the intersubjective cognitive strategy, and thereby resolving the dialectics of metaphorical thoughts, each problematic to the other, collectively redefining and reifying the paradigm of the parable of the model of the metaphor. -- Chip Morningstar, 1993 "How To Deconstruct Almost Anything -- My Postmodern Adventure" ( ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/academic/communications/papers/habitat/deconstr.txt ) No sooner had the Modern era ended than it became an object of nostalgia. The 21st century designation "Midcentury Modern" reframes some 1950s eccentricities as High Art. For example, see "Palm Springs Weekend: The Architecture and Design of a Midcentury Oasis" (2001) by Andrew Danish and Alan Hess. ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000H0M6P0/hip-20 ) But architecture moved on. The Po-Mo era, like the Pop Art era in the 1960s, proved too popular with the Unwashed Masses, and so was quickly ended. Since the mid-1970s, guys like Gehry, Koolhaas and Zenghelis were doing "deconstructivist architecture," but in 1990s the style became mainstream and seemed to stick permanently. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deconstructivism ) ( www.answers.com/topic/rem-koolhaas ) When Gehry was selected to design the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Old Guard in Los Angeles weren't sure they liked the idea; he was just this wacky local boy. Fundraising stalled. But when he won acclaim for the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (1997), ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guggenheim_Museum_Bilbao ) suddenly he is an international star and the project was greenlighted, opening in 2003. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Disney_Concert_Hall ) A previous project of Gehry's, the Chiat/Day Building in Venice (1995-1991), ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiat/Day_Building ) provides a visual timeline of recent architectural history: * a tedious modern period (the section looks like what Tom Wolfe described as resembling an "insecticide factory,") * a brief, exciting post-modern period (the giant binoculars), * and then a less tedious than the Modern but more oppressive, a large Deconstructivist section. (Those giant supports for the overhang are utterly unnecessary given the materials used.) In the novel "Virtual Light" (1993) by William Gibson, ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0553566067/hip-20 ) a poor, clueless Southern guy living in L.A. in the early 21st century tries to make sense of the aesthetic forces at work in his world: {It] reminded him of a summer job he'd had in Knoxville, his last year in school. They'd been putting condos into the shell of this big old Safeway out on Jefferson Davis. The architects wanted the cinder block walls stripped just this one certain way, mostly gray showing through but some old pink Safeway paint left in the little dips and crannies. They were from Memphis and they wore black suits and white cotton shirts. The shirts had obviously cost more than the suits, or at least as much, and they never wore ties or undid the top button. Rydell had figured that was a way for architects to dress; now he lived in L.A., he knew it was true. He'd overheard one of them explaining to the foreman that what they were doing was exposing the integrity of the material's passage through time. He thought that was probably bullsh*t, but he sort of liked the sound of it anyway, like what happened to old people on television. But what it really amounted to was getting most of this sh*tty old paint off thousands and thousands of square feet of equally sh*tty cinder block, and you did it with an oscillating spray- head on the end of a long stainless handle. If you thought the foreman wasn't looking, you could aim it at another kid, twist out a thirty-foot rooster tail of stinging rainbow, and wash all his sunblock off. Rydell and his friends all wore this Australian stuff that came in serious colors, so you could see where you had and hadn't put it. Had to get your right distance on it, though, 'cause up close those heads could take the chrome off a bumper. Rydell and Buddy Crigger both got fired for doing that, finally, and then they walked across Jeff Davis to a beer joint... I think one reason that the Decons have so much staying power -- the same reason they are so impenetrable to the common Man -- is their basis in the Deconstructionist philosophies of Derrida, Foucault, Lacan, and other impenetrable French intellectuals. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deconstruction ) Sherri Turkle, who was an American in Paris in the late 1960s, and she said something very strange happened then. Freudian psychoanalysis permeated French society, especially the Marxist left, in a way unknown in the U.S., where revolutionaries were skeptical of Freud. But in France this grand unification of Marx and Freud was undertaken, and it lead to Lacan and others paving the way for the whole Decon thing. Her version of events is laid out in "Psychoanalytic Politics: Jacques Lacan and Freud's French Revolution" (1992). ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1853431109/hip-20 ) If you ask me, this whole Decon thing has nearly ruined intellectual discourse in our Academies, alas. Meanwhile, every young architect wants to be Frank Gehry and design molten buildings that may or may not keep the snow off. And the buildings continue to SUCK (pardon my French) at being heat engines. Ironically, one Decon building I really wanted to see, that sounded really charming, and was well-liked by its occupants, was dismantled before I had a chance. It was the so-called "Towell Library" (temporary Powell Library) at the University of California, Los Angeles (1992; architects: Hodgetts + Fung), ( www.arcspace.com/calif/build/towell.htm ) ( www.usc.edu/dept/architecture/slide/ghirardo/CD3/new/94.jpg ) designed to temporarily replace the historic Powell Library during a refurbishment. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powell_Library ) It was made entirely of construction parts available from catalogs, and could be (and was) easily reduced to parts again. The Decons show no signs of going away. Last night I happened to visit the ultr-trendy Urban Outfitters store in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, ( www.urbanoutfitters.com ) and the Decon aesthetic was in full force. ( i164.photobucket.com/albums/u12/c3m_2007/decon1.jpg ) ( i164.photobucket.com/albums/u12/c3m_2007/decon2.jpg ) ( i164.photobucket.com/albums/u12/c3m_2007/decon3.jpg ) ( i164.photobucket.com/albums/u12/c3m_2007/decon4.jpg ) At the end of "Bauhas..." Wolfe describes how the architectural community (mostly) ultimately embraced Po-Mo because it didn't change the rules. Architectures were still in charge of deciding which designs had the official blessing, and they took their cues from the compounds. (That was what was wrong with Disney; he went around architects to build Disneyland, and then they spent 30 years going around him.) As long as THAT status quo is preserved, nobody seems worried about the occasional roof collapse or lawsuit. And the client (the one who pays for and then owns the buildings in question) continues to "take it like a man," tolerating this status quo.


The future is like a bird in a bird suit. -- Stewart Brand When thinking about the "future of architecture" it's easy to get sidetracked by "Futuristic Architecture," visions of the future past and present, like those in the book "Yesterday's Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future" (1996) by Joseph J. Corn and Brian Horrigan. ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0801853990/hip-20 ) The thing people don't understand about the actual future (as opposed to the idea of "the future") is that it's only going to be the future for a little while longer, and then it will be the past forever, and it won't seem the least bit futuristic. Since I was a boy the year 2000 was a symbol of the future. Try telling that to today's kids and they'll tune you right out to text somebody. I have long held that we won't have truly attained a high level of civilization until we have bathrooms in cars. This may come in the form of making cities mobile. In 1964 some revolutionary architects from a compound called Archigram proposed a "Walking City." ( www.leap.umontreal.ca/en/projets/logement/archigram1.jpg ) ( www.leap.umontreal.ca/en/projets/logement/goals.htm ) But they were probably right for the wrong reasons (like Democritus about the atom.) I think the changes we need will not come from the compounds. The wisest thing I have read about the design of buildings recently was "How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built" (book, 1994) by Stewart Brand. ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140139966/hip-20 ) He went to a convention of building operations and maintenance professionals, and asked in a large session if any of them had gotten a visit from the architect after a building had been occupied for a while, to see how things were going. There were no hands raised; it had never happened. Since this is a cybernetics 'zine I suppose I should point out that this is TRAGIC LACK OF USEFUL FEEDBACK. But Brand creates his own feedback, by looking at which buildings survive and why -- some are torn down as being more trouble that they're worth, while others are reused and even repurposed. One thing he found was that buildings with complex roofs, or those with multiple roof penetrations, didn't wear well. If a roof fails, the building is often done for. Brand also chronicles the rise of historical preservation movements and their effects on building re-use (large) and new architecture (small). This is something I dig. On my business travels I seek out old, repurposed buildings like lima bean elevators and trolley barns. (I remember a clue that Wolfe tracked down was that many of the "compounds" in America -- academic architecture departments -- were housed not in modern buildings but in historic ones. Hmmm.) So how amused I was to see Stewart Brand this week answering the question "What did you change your mind about this year?" saying "Good Old Stuff Sucks." ( www.edge.org/q2008/q08_8.html#brand ) he said: Remodeling an old farmhouse two years ago and replacing its sash windows, I discovered the current state of window technology. A standard Andersen window, factory-made exactly to the dimensions you want, has superb insulation qualities; superb hinges, crank, and lock; a flick-in, flick-out screen; and it looks great. So I guess we're going to have to figure out how to do Good New Stuff, buildings that work as heat engines, keep the snow off, use less energy, AND communicate emotional messages that we like, using space-age materials and some kind of Post-Post-Modern architecture theory. I mean, something's got to give soon, with these atrocious energy-bleeding ego trips continuing to go up. Whether you live in a Blue State and want to reduce your carbon footprint, or you live in a Red State and you want to stop sending oil money to the Mideast that you know ends up supporting terror, there are good reasons to build buildings that save energy. For starters, I think is the height of folly to have a house design that is independent of orientation, that can be slapped down facing North, South, East or West. You see it all the time in developed tracts. The first thing that a passive solar designer needs to know is "where's the sun?" I am hopeful that a field I am invested in, Computer Graphics, can make a contribution here. We finally are getting architectural graphics packages cheap enough for the average homeowner to use. Soon these should include solar analysis. It's computer intensive, since it must use ray tracing, which crunches a lot more numbers than the textured polygons you see in 3D games, but computers keep on getting faster. I have high hopes for the owner-builders making breakthroughs in passive solar design using solar analysis software. Another lesson I've learned in my travels and reading is that for both heating and cooling nothing beats building underground. Even partially underground structures have remarkable energy efficiencies. I highly recommend a visit to the Forestiere Underground Gardens in Fresno, ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forestiere_Underground_Gardens ) and a look at the book "Underground Architecture" (1978) by Malcolm Wells, ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0006WVP8S/hip-20 ) and subsequent works: just search Amazon for "underground architecture." But in the short term, is there hope beyond the owner-builders? I stumbled across another cause for hope recently. I noticed a cute little building in the Disneyland Resort complex, on the west edge of the southern Downtown Disney parking lot. It looked like a cartoon. It had nicely awninged windows, and looked pretty energy efficient even as it was adorable. ( i164.photobucket.com/albums/u12/c3m_2007/toon_bldg.jpg ) I wondered who designed it. I called Disney, and found it it is the Disney Vacation Club building, also HQ of Disneyland Resort catering and weddings. A nice woman in catering called me back with the information that the architect was Tsuchlyama Kalno Sun & Carter (TKSC). ( www.tkscengineering.com/ ) But if you look at their web site, they aren't an architecture firm, they are "Consulting Mechanical Engineers." They've been doing a nearby project, "Disneyland Hotel - Anaheim, California Renovation of three hotel towers, ballroom and exhibition hall, Architect: LPA." www.lpainc.com/ So on that project LPA was the architect, while TKSC was the engineering firm. So does this mean this little building was done with NO ARCHITECT? Maybe an Imagineer sketched the building on a napkin and the engineers took over. Could this be an omen of the future? If you don't want a big ego trip that leaks heat and to end up having to renegotiate your debt, then skip the architect and go straight to the engineers? It just might work. But what about the long term? One of the best-thought-out plans for integrating transportation, housing, commercial, recreational, industrial and communication functions of a city came from Walt Disney, in the visionary work known to fans as "The EPCOT Film" (1966). ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000BWVAI/hip-20 ) It's on YouTube, don't know long that will last. ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9M3pKsrcc8&feature=related ) His plan takes Frank Lloyd Wright's idea of "little villages" with housing and services within walking distance, and scales it up into a city by integrating two public transportation systems, local low speed low capacity (Peoplemover), and express high speed high capacity (Monorail). But, actually, I think some of the biggest breakthroughs in urban design in the long term will be made by computers. I have seen the power of genetic algorithms, Brothers and Sisters, and I am a believer. All that is needed is good quality "Sims" -- simulated occupants who will drive in and park or ride the bus, walk around, go in to buildings, do things, and have opinions about the convenience, the temperature, the cost... Once you've got good sims you can evolve your designs at CPU speeds, testing and rejecting trillions of variations. My intuition is that we will get some pleasant surprises from such a process. I keep thinking we'll find a radically improved parking structure design. I expect the results to look organic, like some of Soleri's designs, ( images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=soleri&btnG=Search+Images&gbv=2 ) or the Simon Rhodia Watts Towers. ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watts_Towers ) I expect we'll find some validation of Bucky's distinction between heroic, solo domes and humble, extensible trusses, also like Venturi's heroic, solo "ducks" versus humble, extensible "decorated sheds." And I expect we'll finally achieve some quantifiable evidence of the superiority of some traditional, event ancient designs. Stewart Brand once defined a tools as having "a grasp on one end and a use on the other." For a building, the "use" is its interface with the environment and other infrastructure systems, while the "grasp" is its user interface. My expectation is that as the "use" side evolves, into drawer-mounted dwellings in energy-efficient macro-structures, that the "grasp" will remain remarkably familiar, and human scale, like a window seat in the sun. A comprehensive catalog of human-scale architectural solutions are given in two books I haven't read but plan to: "A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction" (1977) ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0195019199/hip-20 ) and "The Timeless Way of Building" (1979), both by Christopher Alexander. ( www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0195024028/hip-20 ) Alexander argues that most architectural problems have already been solved, and there's no need to re-solve them. So he put together a catalog of architectural problems and solutions, and a guide to using them in new design. The architectural world was underwhelmed -- where's the fun in looking up a pattern, when you can CREATE? But according to Wikipedia, ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Alexander ) Alexander has had a big impact on computer programmers! Alexander's "Notes on the Synthesis of Form" was required reading for researchers in computer science throughout the 1960s. Marvin Minsky, founder of MIT's Artificial Intelligence Lab, recommended it to students and colleagues. It had an influence in the 1960s and 1970s on programming language design, modular programming, object-oriented programming, software engineering and other design methodologies. Alexander's mathematical concepts and orientation were similar to Edsger Dijkstra's influential "A Discipline of Programming." A Pattern Language's greatest influence in computer science is the design patterns movement. Alexander's philosophy of incremental, organic, coherent design influenced also the extreme programming movement. The Wiki was invented to allow the Hillside Group to work on design patterns. Will Wright wrote that Alexander's work was influential in the origin of "The Sims" computer game, and in his current new work. TO BE CONTINUED... ======================================================================== newsletter archives: www.well.com/~abs/Cyb/4.669211660910299067185320382047 ======================================================================== Privacy Promise: Your email address will never be sold or given to others. You will receive only the e-Zine C3M from me, Alan Scrivener, at most once per month. It may contain commercial offers from me. To cancel the e-Zine send the subject line "unsubscribe" to me. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I receive a commission on everything you purchase from Amazon.com after following one of my links, which helps to support my research. ======================================================================== Copyright 2008 by Alan B. Scrivener