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Open offices are overrated - YouTube
"Open offices have been around a surprisingly long time. But they're relatively misunderstood for their role in workplace culture. Where did open offices and cubicles come from, and are they really what we want?

This episode of Overrated explores the history, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Herman Miller, and other key figures in the office design movement. Our workplaces haven't always been this way — this is how we got here."
openoffices  offices  architecture  interiors  design  2017  productivity  interaction  openness  franklloydwright  hermanmiller  furniture 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Indian Summer – Boom California
"You follow the execution of architectural plans with the extreme precision of a surgeon. In your line of work, perfection is a requirement. From the structural integrity of the foundation to the application of a subtle shade of paint, you meticulously manage every detail. The architect and contractor are conciliatory as you are kind but assertive, even forming your commands as gentle requests followed by astute observations and independent research. That is to say, before you make your recommendations, you hit the books, study the matter, prepare with knowing. Your assumption of authority has been learned in the military, but of gentleness, trained at the hospital bedside. But there is another veneer not so easily interpreted. You were born into one of the few Japanese families in a small rural town in Montana. Your father came at the turn of the century, labored as a foreman to complete the Northern Pacific—Minnesota to Spokane, and one day made enough to pay for your mother’s passage, a picture bride. As you come of age, you and your family represent an enemy from a place you have never known. To compare the small tightknit fishing villages of your parents to the rugged mountainous cowboy town of your upbringing is to imagine a folktale about two distant and exotic lands. If only it were a folktale and not a navigation through territories of hatred. Within months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, you are aware that less than 200 miles away, across the border in Wyoming, 10,000 Japanese Americans evicted from the West Coast have been incarcerated in the same spectacular but desolate landscape in which you continue to be free. But it is a perilous freedom, especially for your immigrant parents designated enemy aliens. Thus every movement, every action, every facial expression must avoid trouble, anticipate a precarious future. Like any other kid from Montana, your older brother volunteers for the military. Your mother embroiders a thousand knots into a woven cotton belt that he obediently wears under his uniform, a protective talisman; so he returns but only to be killed in peacetime. You follow your brother’s path as if to complete what can never be completed, but you are driven to succeed. You skip lunch and drive from your practice at midday to see the rising stone escarpment, 650 tons of quarried Arizona sandstone, flashing a toothy grin toward the Pacific, a gesture of grandeur and place against a precarious future."
california  2017  karenteiyamashita  santacruz  franklloydwright  architecture  bayarea  aarongreen  fiction 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Jay Owens en Instagram: “Book 11 completed of 2016 is a guidebook, and I wouldn't normally count these in the year's reading tally except this one's Atlas Obscura…”
""hautepop: Book 11 completed of 2016 is a guidebook, and I wouldn't normally count these in the year's reading tally except this one's Atlas Obscura good. 111 one-page stories about the city's buildings, history & development - from the stones from a C12th Spanish monastery that lie, "like quiet odes to Ozymandias", in the Golden Gate Park arboretum, to the first European settlement of the city at Mission Dolores, and the graves of the Miwok & Ohlone people they enslaved. The Grace Cathedral labyrinths, the parrots on Telegraph Hill, the Tenderloin National Forest.

This series - from a German publisher - covers a number of Western European cities, Istanbul and NY. Worth checking out.

Background: spoils of the Christopher Kane menswear/tees sample sale I stumbled upon on Friday.

I saw... #8 the Armory, #13 Bay Lights, #37 Fog Bridge at the Exploratorium, #40 Frank Lloyd Wright Building, #47 the green roof of the Academy of Sciences, Renzo Piano, #55 Interval at the Long Now, #63 the Malloch Building, #75 de Young Museum, Herzog & de Meuron (but not up the observation tower), #79 Telegraph Hill (but not parrots), #110 Wave Organ. Evidently need to go back...

zerosociety: "...from the stones from a C12th Spanish monastery that lie..." There's a second location where stones form that monastery can be found -- the semi-hidden "Monarch Bear Grove." The grove stands on the spot where the old Monarch bear enclosure once stood, not too far from the AIDS Memorial Grove. It's not as hidden as it was even a few years ago thanks to park construction, but it's been a sacred site for Bay Area Druids and Pagans, allegedly going back to the 40's.""
jayowens  books  sanfrancisco  toread  2017  history  ohlone  miwok  spanish  telegraphhill  deyoung  californiaacademyofsciences  rnezopiano  franklloydwright  exploratorium  architecture  culture 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Learning From Legos - NYTimes.com
"WHEN I was a boy, my father, an architect, attempted a no-toy policy, with the significant exception that he’d buy my brother and me almost anything — any birthday, holiday or restless rainy Saturday — as long as it was Lego.

And so, if I needed a gun, I made it with Legos. The same with a walkie-talkie. And a lie detector. And all the life-size artifacts — let’s face it, mostly weapons — that were then my heart’s desire. Plus every scale-model spaceship, supertruck, planetary fortress, recombinant Tyrannosaurus and transforming robot.

These days Lego — with its namesake movie’s opening weekend box office of $69 million, and with global sales revenue tripling, recession-proof, between 2007 and 2012 — appears to be something more than just a Danish construction toy based on snap-together plastic bricks. Some of the film’s success comes from the charm of its intrepid construction worker hero and goth-ninja heroine, both remarkably expressive despite the limitations of Lego figurines’ cylindrical heads and hands.

But the film’s celebration of adaptive improvisation and spontaneous mythmaking also resonates deeply with our current moment of so-called maker culture. Thanks to new rapid-prototyping technologies like computer numerical control milling and 3-D printing, we’ve seen a convergence between hacker and hipster, between high-tech coding and the low-tech artisanal craft behind everything from Etsy to Burning Man.

Whether it’s Google’s first server rack having been made of Lego-like bricks (pragmatically cheap, heat-resistant and reconfigurable) at Stanford in 1996, or the programmable Lego bricks developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Architecture Machine Group (later the Media Lab where, no coincidence, my father worked), Lego is literally built into the computational and architectural history of maker culture.

And it is, in a special way, an architectural history. “A small interior world of color and form now came within grasp of small fingers,” wrote Frank Lloyd Wright about his 9-year-old self in a 1943 autobiographical sketch. “These ‘Gifts’ came into the gray house” and “made something live here.” These were the famous Froebel Blocks, educational wooden building blocks in systematic shapes and sizes developed in the 1840s by Friedrich Froebel, the inventor of kindergarten.

“The smooth shapely maple blocks with which to build, the sense of which never afterward leaves the fingers; so form became feeling. These primary forms were the secret of all effects,” Wright recalled, “which were ever got into the architecture of the world.” Wright’s son John would complete the circle, inventing in 1916 the construction toy that came to be known as Lincoln Logs.

Architectural historians have sought origins for Wright’s innovative organic architecture — his long horizontals and pinwheel plans — in the geometries of his toys, even reconstructing his early house designs using the Froebel Blocks themselves.

I suspect that the connection isn’t that literal. But it is certainly primal, and visceral, to do with the idea of making and unmaking, and the complex relationships of parts to wholes, and brokenness to wholeness.

Once, detouring through a parking-lot flea market, I stumbled across some Froebel Blocks from Wright’s era, stacked as tightly and delicately as the dovetail joints of their original wooden box. Froebel Blocks are collectible antiques, but these were flea-market finds and not auctioneers’ goods because they had been methodically defaced by years of scribbled arabesques in Magic Marker, in a child’s hand.

I discovered that these lines traveled continuously from block to block, and that by carefully aligning the distinctly colored arcs and loops of the markings, I could reconstruct all the arrangements into which the blocks had been built — those magic marks the inadvertent blueprints for a forgotten memory palace.

I remember the fugue of that reconstruction, low on the ground below a flea market table. I remember the astonishing intimacy of visiting a stranger’s childhood, and how that intimacy somehow caused me to delay actually buying this treasure. I circled the flea market, and returned to find it gone.

Maker culture, like Lego, is about loss. All building-block toys are about appearance and disappearance, demolition and reconstruction. Maker culture, for all its love of stuff, is similarly a culture of resourcefulness in an era of economic scarcity: relentless in its iterative prototyping, its radically adaptive reuse of ready-made objects, its tendency to unmake one thing to make another — all in a new ecology of economy.

When my brother and I wanted a new toy, we cannibalized whatever we’d made before, which had been made of all the things we’d ever made before that. So of all those years of guns and starships, I have only that Wrightian feeling for form in the fingertips — and the sound, somewhere between rustling and clinking, of a thousand plastic pieces tumbling from an overturned bucket into a disorderly pile, rippling away from a seeking hand.

I remember the last thing I ever made of Lego, far later into adolescence than I should admit. It was a robot that, thanks to double-jointed hinges, could continually reconfigure itself without being disassembled. And in this sense it was anti-Lego, capable of being remade without being unmade. I knew that it was the most I could ever do in the medium, and the end of an era. It drifted back into that bucket.

A quarter-century later I saw the same bucket opened and overturned by a young nephew. And there, like a time traveler, was this same robot. Mostly just its legs, standing Ozymandias-like in a pile of bricks. I reached for it, but not faster than my nephew, who, recognizing an accretion of especially useful pieces, instantly dissolved it with his hands. One of Wright’s secrets of all effects must be this: Because nothing comes from nothing, and nothing goes entirely out of the world, you have to take things apart if you seek to put everything together."
2014  thomsdemonchaux  making  makerculture  resourcefulness  lego  invention  franklloydwright  froebelblocks  froebeltoys  building  construction  unmaking  dissolution  prototyping  adaptivereuse  reuse  scarcity  materials  toys  play  appearance  disappearance  reconstruction  ecology 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Wired 14.07: What Kind of Genius Are You?
"A new theory suggests that creativity comes in two distinct types – quick and dramatic, or careful and quiet."



"Which leads to the second gap. Consider the word genius. “Since the Renaissance, genius has been associated with virtuosos who are young.

The idea is that you’re born that way – it’s innate and it manifests itself very young,” Galenson says. But that leaves the vocabulary of human possibility incomplete. “Who’s to say that Virginia Woolf or Cézanne didn’t have an innate quality that simply had to be nourished for 40 or 50 years before it bloomed?” The world exalts the young turks – the Larrys and the Sergeys, the Picassos and the Samuelsons. And it should. We need those brash, certain, paradigm-busting youthful conceptualists. We should give them free rein to do bold work and avoid saddling them with rules and bureaucracy.

But we should also leave room for those of us who have, er, avoided peaking too early, whose most innovative days may lie ahead. Nobody would have heard of Jackson Pollock had he died at 31. But the same would be true had Pollock given up at 31. He didn’t. He kept at it. We need to look at that more halting, less certain fellow and perhaps not write him off too early, give him a chance to ride the upward curve of middle age.

Of course, not every unaccomplished 65-year-old is some undiscovered experimental innovator. This is a universal theory of creativity, not a Viagra for sagging baby boomer self-esteem. It’s no justification for laziness or procrastination or indifference. But it might bolster the resolve of the relentlessly curious, the constantly tinkering, the dedicated tortoises undaunted by the blur of the hares. Just ask David Galenson.

Conceptualists

Many geniuses peak early, creating their masterwork at a tender age ...

LITERATURE: The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Age 29

PAINTING: Les Demoiselles d’Avignon
Pablo Picasso
Age 26

FILMMAKING: Citizen Kane
Orson Welles
Age 26

ARCHITECTURE: The Vietnam War Memorial
Maya Lin
Age 23

MUSIC: The Marriage of Figaro
Wolfgang Mozart
Age 30

Experimentalists

... while others bloom late, doing their best work after lifelong tinkering.

LITERATURE: Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain
Age 50

PAINTING: Château Noir
Paul Cézanne
Age 64

FILMMAKING: Vertigo
Alfred Hitchcock
Age 59

ARCHITECTURE: Fallingwater
Frank Lloyd Wright
Age 70

MUSIC: Symphony No. 9
Ludwig van Beethoven
Age 54"
latebloomers  creativity  genius  via:litherland  danielpink  conceptualists  experimentation  experimentalists  persistence  fscottfitzgerald  jacksonpollock  pablopicasso  orsonwelles  mayalin  wolfgangmozart  marktwain  cézanne  alfredhitchcock  franklloydwright  beethoven  davidgaleson 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Design Excursion: Mount Angel Abbey Library designed by Alvar Aalto - Core77
"My brother Matthew and I are both slight nerds when it comes to Modern architecture, with the capital M. Our most recent excursion was to the Mount Angel Abbey Library, designed by Alvar Aalto. About an hour outside of Portland, The Mount Angel Abbey is nestled in the bucolic rolling farmland of Oregon. Surrounded by more expected neo-gothic structures of the monastery, the almost unassuming library gives little away from its elegantly simple one story entry. The interior sharply contrasts with a soaring 3 story vaulted interior. It was completed in 1970, and Aalto and his wife also designed all of the furniture.

If you go, be sure to make another stop at the nearby Oregon Gardens to see the Gordon House, the only home in Oregon designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Gordon House is the largest Usonian home built by Wright. At just over 2000 sq ft, it is quite small compared to many of his other residences, but his use of space makes it seem much larger. Originally designed for a farmer and his family, the original owners lived in the home for over 30 years."
alvaraalto  design  architecture  oregon  tosee  franklloydwright  2010 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Norman Brosterman - Inventing Kindergarten: Seedbed of Modern Art | Video on PBS & NPR Forum Network
"Norman Brosterman discusses the history of kindergarten and its influence on such modernist giants as Frank Lloyd Wright, Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus school.
In his book Inventing Kindergarten, Brosterman argues that within this lost world of women and children we can locate the seedbed of modern art. With its emphasis on abstract decomposition and building up from elemental forms, the original kindergarten system of the mid-nineteenth century created an education and design revolution that profoundly affected the course of modern art and architecture, as well as physics, music, psychology and the modern mind itself."
decomposition  design  education  music  physics  psychology  architecture  art  modernism  inventingkindergarten  bauhaus  lecorbusier  pietmondrian  wassilykandinsky  franklloydwright  normanbrosterman  2005 
february 2012 by robertogreco
An Aesthetic of Everyday Life: Modernism and a Japanese popular aesthetic ideal, “Iki”
"Nineteenth century Japanese popular cultural phenomena, most notably the Japanese woodblock print and painting, ukiyo-e, have made significant contributions to modernist artistic movements, in particular the Arts and Crafts movement, Art Nouveau, impressionism, post-impressionism, and fauvism. In addition, it is worth mentioning the influence of Japanese architecture on Frank Lloyd Wright, who also loved ukiyo-e.[1] These influences are primarily the result of applying Western values, specifically, aesthetic values to the interpretation of Japanese culture.<br />
<br />
However, this interpretation has had the tendency to be one-way, and there have been relatively few attempts to applying non-Western ideas to Western culture. Is this because it is futile to do so? Or because it is impossible?"
aesthetics  japan  culture  art  theory  modernism  yamamotoyuji  iki  ukiyo-e  franklloydwright 
january 2011 by robertogreco
When Buildings Stopped Making Sense - WSJ.com
"a thoughtful argument against the excesses of "designer" architects and urban-planning utopians." "Pei's pyramid at the Louvre...was a deliberate act of cultural vandalism"
books  design  architecture  failure  frankgehry  controversy  impei  franklloydwright  lecorbusier  daniellibeskind  starchitects  risk 
november 2007 by robertogreco

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