I guess not.
I guess not.
But predictably, it has been controversial with some of the neighbors.Uh...and Dan you can honestly say that if you had a house on the block you wouldn't be concerned? Forty-six rooms? Maybe 30 cars at least?
I have no disagreement that there is a need for such housing; I laud the project for serving such a market. The only problem is that it really should be in a neighborhood so well-served by transit that cars are superfluous and a burden. This neighborhood is not like that. No neighborhood in Seattle is like that. But one thing you can say about is that it will be very, very profitable.
If the architecture in the Sherman-Hankin design is too bland and oblivious to sustainability, it's also true that the Onion Flats approach isn't dense enough. Francisville needs pedestrian continuity that comes from lining the block with housing. (italics added)Inga Saffron buries (what to me is) the punch line in the penultimate paragraph. But it is a pregnant assessment, somewhat out of the blue in the context of the column — and I'd like to know more of her thinking.
The Street's Scott Moritz reports that Apple is planning to release its long-rumored tablet computer "in time for the holidays" later this year.And presumably this Tablet is in fact the long-awaited Apple eBook Reader?
What's Wrong With This Building? Read and find out.
We need more analysis of buildings at this level of detail — how they work, in this case visually — especially of the significant buildings which get the big ink in the big media.
"He was a longtime and valued customer," a store representative of art and architecture bookstore Hennessey + Ingalls said Thursday. "We'll miss him."Hennessey + Ingalls? Wow. Puts a different (and more sympathetic) spin on Jackson.
He says: "The architect has two responsibilities: one is for the client and the other is for the passer-by. The passer-by, though, is the one who tends to be forgotten."Do Rogers' designs suggest he forgets the passerby? That is the acid-test for an urban building — how does it treat the person walking by? The Centre Pompidou certainly does not offer a good streetfront on at least one of its two facades. Considering the importance of the structure, one out of two is not very good. Of course I have no idea how much has to do with design versus post-construction management. But my impression when I stood by it was not favorable.
But as to his other buildings?
JEDDAH // Saudi authorities abruptly cancelled this year’s Jeddah film festival after three successful years of screening international films, dealing a blow to the kingdom’s attempt to show a more liberal face. The week-long festival was to have started on Saturday, but authorities announced its cancellation on Friday without a clear reason. Observers, however, have put the move down to pressure from religious conservatives who have objected to the low-key revival of cinema in the kingdom after an absence of 30 years.Since I visited Jeddah last year I have had a continuing interest in Saudi Arabia. I was disappointed that authorities cancelled this year's Jeddah Economic Forum. And now the film festival.
As in previous talks, he spoke of the stores as public places where people can come to check their e-mail, iChat with relatives and loved ones, and feel like they're part of a club.
You know about the issue. Right? If not,
Maybe Frank Gehry was rude; maybe Fred Kent was rude. Who knows. In the long run who cares except People magazine. It doesn't really matter. Everyone gets a little tense at times and speaks out in a socially-inappropriate way; maybe that's what happened in Aspen. Let's put personalities aside.
The important issue is that we need vigorous and sophisticated discussion about our cities. This little contretemps at Aspen could be a great springboard.
I was sorry that I witnessed those thirty seconds. They are impossible to forget and entirely change my impression of the man. I was more amazed when part of the audience, maybe by reflex, applauded. When the video of this episode goes up on the Ideas Festival site, judge for yourself. (italics added)
Hope Fallows is correct.
"Celebrity architects and good urban design don't necessarily go together, as the architects tend to focus on their building and not the overall neighborhood."
Well said. But of course the whole issue is that there is no reason that "celebrity architects and good urban design" cannot reach an accord. People love the glitz and fantasy of starchitecure. It's show-biz and good for business in establishing a brand or an institutional reputation. It's even got a name: the "Bilbao Effect." So it will be with us so long as people want to preen, get attention and further their own goals i.e. forever. The question is how to mold such desire for attention -- the desire for a unique and stand-apart "precious object" -- into something not socially obnoxious.
I'm not a restauranteur, but I've worked in plenty of restaurants, and I watch Kitchen Nightmares. Any time I hear about a restaurant with a huge menu that's having financial trouble, I say, well there you go. Having a huge menu means you have to have a huge variety of ingredients sitting around, some of which may only be used in one or two dishes. If no one comes in to order those dishes, the ingredients go bad and have to be thrown out. Why not focus your menu on a couple pages of excellent dishes that you have fresh ingredients for on hand? The food ends up being better, and the money you're throwing in the garbage each week goes way down. Posted by Fangdoc on July 12, 2009 at 6:11 AM 19
In fact, Fangdoc, I have wondered why there aren't restaurants with EXTREMELY simple menus. I am thinking of one I'd like to see named "STEW." It would serve just two main dishes — two types of stew: one with meat and (hold your hat) one vegetarian.
What's interesting to me is what makes this different from the British debate. It is actually more about function than about style. It's notable that Kent is not quibbling with the aesthetic properties of Gehry's buildings, nor is he questioning their status as works of art. He is casting doubt on the way these buildings are used by people on a regular basis and how they interact with a surrounding urban environment. It's an empirical question, very American actually. Everyone knows Gehry's buildings, particularly the Guggenheim in Bilboa and the Walk Disney Theater in Los Angeles, have become tourist attractions and sites of pilgrimage for modern architecture buffs. Kent is asking how they are used by people who are there for reasons other than seeing the building itself, what role they play in Jane Jacob's "ballet" of urban life. (italics added)
I used to think that a topic like -- oh, let's see, US-China friction -- was controversial, or climate change, or Google-v-Microsoft, or McNamara-v-Rumsfeld. That was before I innocently stepped into the crossfire concerning the effect of "star-chitects" like Frank Gehry on the urban landscape.
There's a very simple explanation: the work of guys like Gehry (of course all architects, to be fair) impacts enormously and directly in our daily lives. Politics at the local level is almost entirely land-use politics. It is only global journalists like Fallows who seem to ignore the great interest in what can best be called urban design— and usually very crudely expressed — which people at the neighborhood level have in what is built in their neighborhood.
Real issue is how to marry iconic buildings w/ quality pubilc spaceLook for more discussion here of combining "The 3 Rules" with iconic architecture.
Commenter Daniel Nairn in post immediately below this one believes that the "insistent character" ignored by Gehry was none other than Fred Kent, who if you don't know is one of the most knowledgeable, astute etc etc people working to make cities more comfortable for walkers. He founded and still leads Project for Public Spaces.
It's not clear if he does.
The story so far: Frank Gehry (so famous as to need no descriptor such as "star architect") appears at a conference in Aspen and and takes questions from the audience.
Fallows' take — Fifty-nine and a half minutes of brilliance, thirty seconds of hauteur — (he was there):
The second or third was from a fairly insistent character whose premise was that great "iconic" buildings nonetheless fell short as fully attractive and effective "public places," where people were drawn to congregate and spend time. He said he was challenging Gehry to do even more to make his buildings attractive by this measure too.
Putting aside the de haut en bas "insistent character," Fallows restates the starchitecture question in a fair if unenthusiastic way and he doesn't seem to grasp the importance of the question. But he is rightfully shocked by Gehry's rude answer and it is that rude response which is the subject of his post here, which chides Gehry for his tone (though not for Gehry's lack of response.)
Gehry didn't like the question and said that the indictment didn't apply to his own buildings. He said that the facts would back him up -- and as the questioner repeated the challenge, Gehry said that he found the question "insulting."
Fair enough. The guy did keep pushing. On the other hand, anyone who has ever appeared in public has encountered questions a hundred times as personally challenging as this.
But the questioner asked one more time, and Gehry did something I found simply incredible and unforgettable. "You are a pompous man," he said -- and waved his hand in a dismissive gesture, much as Louis XIV might have used to wave away some offending underling. He was unmistakably shooing or waving the questioner away from the microphone, as an inferior -- again, in a gesture hardly ever seen in post-feudal times.
I was sorry that I witnessed those thirty seconds. They are impossible to forget and entirely change my impression of the man. I was more amazed when part of the audience, maybe by reflex, applauded. When the video of this episode goes up on the Ideas Festival site, judge for yourself.
I think Gehry's behavior is weird long before his overt rudeness. Gehry refuses to answer the question and claims his buildings don't fail in creating public places.
Well Mr. Gehry, climb down off that horse. It's for us, the public judgment over decades, to say whether you produce urban architecture or not. It is not for you to pass judgment on whether your architecture helps create a city or just a big suburb.
No fool Gehry. He can recognize a useful ally i.e. a writer widely respected (and correctly — I think Fallows is one of the most perceptive and balanced socio/political critics we have) , with access to reputable media and best of all with no obvious experience in writing about buildings and the cities they make. So he emails Fallows, whom I gather he doesn't know. Fallows posts the email. Gehry writes:
Dear Mr. Fallows -
Fair enough - your impression. I have a few lame excuses. One is that I'm eighty and I get freaked out with petty annoyances more than I ever did when I was younger. Two, I didn't really want to be there - I got caught in it by friends. And three - I do get questions like that and this guy seemed intent on getting himself a pulpit. I think I gave him an opportunity to be specific about his critique. Turns out that he followed Tommy Pritzker [the moderator of Gehry's session] around the next day and badgered him about the same issues. His arguments, according to Tommy, didn't hold much water. I think what annoyed me most was that he was marketing himself at everyone's expense. I apologize for offending you. Thanks for telling me.
Yes it was good of Gehry to make the gesture of an apology.
But overall his "apology" was a veiled attack on a perspective which he wouldn't name and with which he wouldn't deal.
The perspective, of course, is that "starchitecture" can and most often does have a negative impact on cities. And that as a (or the) leading starchitect, Gehry should be willing to answer the question, the question being, framing it in terms of a battle of the celebraties: What would Jane Jacobs think of Gehry's work? Does Gehry's work meet, on any fairhanded assessment, "the Jane Jacobs test" for a good street and city? I say it fails profoundly.
And one can agree or disagree with my own ultimate conclusion, but I was sorry to see that Gehry was unable/unwilling to address the issue. He dismisses the question with an ad hominem attack and appeals to the authority of "Tommy" (Pritzker — presumably of the family which has done its own share of city-destruction through its usually anti-urban hotels) that the "insistent character's" questions are unimportant. But the question is important and deserve Gehry's response.
Fallows characterizes the apology as "classy." I see nothing classy in it except that it pretends to be an apology which is better than no apology at all.
My own view is that one can thread the needle — it is in fact possible for starchitecture to be good urbanism if it is done with urbanism in mind. No time for the explanation right now but the solution is extremely simple. Why won't Gehry take up the issue? He must be able to see how profoundly un-urban a building Disney Hall is. And he's gotta be able to see the extremely simple solution. Why the silence? Let it rip Mr. Gehry. Come down off your throne.
Sorry about the weird formatting. I am having trouble figuring out the new TypePad.