AAI Scribblings

AAI Scribblings

Postby James » Wed Sep 03, 2003 7:33 pm

Does anybody else find the AAI scribblings in 'Building Materials' incomprehensible.

I come over all fidgety and "oh I really must trim my fingernails"..ish whenever I'm so deluded as to have a look and try to make any sense of them.

Why can't architects just get on with architecture and leave semantics, semiotics and onanistic wordplay to the philosophers poets and scribes.

Shades of 'Corbu' and his dreadfully pretentionus paintings I think.
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The lure of the public stage

Postby garethace » Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:17 pm

We are a nation of writers, speakers, converstationlist, deep thinkers and poets - so why not explore that avenue to our advantage? I mean we have spent long enough being 'beaten down' by the whole world, and having to go and scrap for a living. Why not enjoy that ray of sunshine and fresh air for a change.

Noel Jonathan Brady's Strategic cities essay, is a bit advanced, but for a senior in college or a young architect in practice, it does manage to cobble together alot of issues (sometimes presented in a bs fashion) into a quite comprehensible document. Noel is also a VERY accomplished public orator - deceptively good in fact, because they make it look so simple, you don't notice it.

I remember one girl in particular in college in Bolton Street, who had simply the most beautiful female speaking vocal cords, i have ever heard. (I envied that alot, with my thick Limerick acent) You just wanted to believe what she came out with, but most of the time i must admit the intellectual content did not live up to the elecution. :-) Sadly.

Ross Cahill O'Brien, Sean O'Laoire, Shane O'Toole, and one guy from FLK are accomplished public speakers. Some Irish Architects are much, much, much better speakers, than actually having that much to say. I think the Irish profession has been blessed with some really top-notch public speaking talents, but the reality is, not everyone is as skilled as those in the ways of language. Its okay, to be a good B public speaker, besides those giants i think.

But it can be entertaining to watch people try from time to time too! :-)

Brian O' Hanlon.
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Postby what? » Thu Sep 04, 2003 5:20 pm

james,james,james....what an ignorant attitude.
why dont we cut out all that rubish medical research?arent we fine as we are?

How do expect the practice of architecture to progress past 'Corbu' if we dont have discussions, proposals or glimpses of other designers ideas? as you know, because of the economic and time related restrictions attatched to our profession, architectural propositions cannot always be made in built forms. architectural writing is merely a vessel through which ideas can be proliferated and thoughts can be provoked. if you think it has no place in architecture then visit this link http://www.kellysearch.com/ie-company-800008712.html. but dont assume that everyone else is at the same level as you.
the producers and contributers to Building material should be commended for portraying the rich intellectual vein of irish architecture that the Irish architect magazine clearly fails to do, not be slagged off because they havnt dropped the level to the lowest common denomenator
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Postby James » Thu Sep 04, 2003 8:21 pm

Pardon Me Girls!!!!!
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Postby what? » Fri Sep 05, 2003 12:51 pm

what?
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Postby garethace » Fri Sep 05, 2003 7:22 pm

I think you have made a decent enough argument what. Well done. I have to admit personally hating certain Irish Calvin Klein wearing designer glasses pretending to be Rem Koolhaas from time to time. But i have to admit, the older i get, the more i find opportunities to do stuff in writing which i couldn't explore in practice.
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Postby James » Fri Sep 05, 2003 7:48 pm

Dunno that I agree about that ,the older I get the more time I seem to spend designing and the less on philosophizing. (not that anything I do is particularly brilliant), still although I was being somewhat facetious, I find the arcane language and poncey exclusionary tone of most of the writing referred to quite irritating. If for example writing about architecture is a developmental and experimental thing then surely the first rule should be Clarity, have a look at teh following drivel:

"Architecture is communication from the body of the architect directly to the body of the person who encounters the work." So writes Juhani Pallasmaa in The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses

What does that mean? - everything and nothing, depending on how you are prepared to read it, now aside from the pedantic fact that I was taught that architecture is about providing shelter, I find the whole thing somewhat headache inducing.

As to opportunitiies for experimentation - there are a lot of competitions out there kiddies, you might not win but they at least will enable you to properly test out your ideas.

Last point (and apologies for sounding like the club Drone), the last person I saw 'let go' in an architectural practise was a lovely clever guy who would spend all day reading and spouting this stuff, would devote enormous amounts of energy to theories closer to the Cabala than to building but could'nt be trusted to draw a survey out accurately, the most recent employee I've appointed is a clever gauche 23 year old who could'nt explain her thesis (excellent by the way and honours) without looking embarassed , but drew and designed like and angel - now which of these two do you think I prize more as an architect.
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Postby garethace » Fri Sep 05, 2003 8:53 pm

I printed out the AAI site visit review of Limerick County Council new offices design by Merrit Bucholtz and a little housing scheme by O'Donnell and Tuomey for my Dad to read, who is easily one of the foremost literary critics i have ever had to pleasure to know. Seriously. He has spent his whole 60+ years of his life, reading. His response to some of the BM writing was exactly like yours. So you are not far at all from the ballpark.

However, this lack of command of the english language doesn't quite excuse the entire profession from exploiting the avenue of language and speech. As you have said, they just need to find clarity rather than complexity for the sake of it. This in time will come, as currently the young architects believe that their overly flowery texts are masterly written.

As to architecture being shelter, i think Nicholas Pevsner, has a good introduction in his book Outline of European Architecture, dealing with that very issue - if you are near any college libraries soon. I have been ploughing my way through Kevin Lynch for the last couple of years, and my lack of experience in planning matters really prevented me from understanding what Kevin was really on about.

I have sat in front of a computer monitor for the last 5 years, and have square eyes to show for it. Now i read more County Council Local Area Master Plans, and familiarise myself with more reality and environmental stuff, before tackling Kevin Lynch. That would be my biggest criticism of architects and writing. If you want to write about planning scales, and cities, and civilisation - then read the simple texts written on the subject by Dublin Corporation, get away from your reading chairs/computer monitors every once now and again, walk/cycle/bus/drive around the city - before reading Rem Koolhaas on about 'La Peripherique'.

It seems so damn obvious, but very few of the people who write/read this stuff, do get out very often. In Bolton Street College this year, i was forced to walk around alot - I made me decide to start with my reading about planning/urbanism etc, from a reality first of all. I had to design a certain Cultural Centre in Bray last winter, and was advised to walk the entire town of Bray itself, to get to know the place itself. Do you think i did that? Well, yes, i did eventually take the Dart down there for a day in June, and walked it all.

I came from a rural upbringing, and was never greatly encouraged to develop my investigative, curious instincts growing up, about places i came from, different classes/types of people. Basically because mosts of my family work as civil servants, and sucessfully manage to 'shut' alot of that out. This is dreadfully bad as an architect, who needs to be open minded.

So through the discussions by Kevin Lynch, about his observations of the society world, he saw around him in America, i began to gain much greater confidence, and become more observant about what i see around me in Ireland. My folks, or my relations cannot comprehend this - they think Architecture is like a job with the Civil Service! Weird! Anyhow, i would buy a copy of Tracings 2, with is introduced by Sinead Bourke on BM no.10. And see if the writings are any good - i am going to. I know that the Herbert Park apartments architect quotes Jane Jacobs alot - a very common reference in the American Planning profession booklist in courses.

Basically we are a very middle class kind of profession, and unfortunately that runs contradictory, to our supposed concern for all people, and all situations. I know a middle aged lady here in Dublin, who spent her whole life as a single mother, in places like Crumlin, Clondakin, Walkinstown, Rathmines, Ballymun flats, Raheeny, Tallaght, Kimmage.... she is a gold mine of information for me. A veritable fountain of knowledge about peoples' relationship with environment/design/architecture. It was reading Kevin Lynch really, who made that person an open book whom i could read and study from a design perspective.
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Postby MG » Sat Sep 06, 2003 8:00 pm

Originally posted by James
Dunno that I agree about that ,the older I get the more time I seem to spend designing and the less on philosophizing. (not that anything I do is particularly brilliant), still although I was being somewhat facetious, I find the arcane language and poncey exclusionary tone of most of the writing referred to quite irritating. If for example writing about architecture is a developmental and experimental thing then surely the first rule should be Clarity, have a look at teh following drivel:

"Architecture is communication from the body of the architect directly to the body of the person who encounters the work." So writes Juhani Pallasmaa in The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses



I agree with you James. I thought that the last issue in particular was completely unreadable. It was if you pardon the phrase typical architectuese, completely unpenetrable even to architects.

The previous issue was a little better with the earliest issues being the least "poncey". As a journal, if I didn't get it free as a member, I wouldn't buy it.
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Just thoughts. . .

Postby garethace » Sun Sep 07, 2003 1:33 pm

I wonder if any of the BM writers would leave their material open for discussion here. I mean, so that people could exchange opinions of what has been written. I may not accomplish very much. But it may provide the writers of the BM journal with a live feedback. Rather like the Steven Spielbergs etc, use a live audience to repond to their films first cuts. It might make the writers of BM see their own ideas, way of expressing themselves from a different angle. A dedicated section of Archiseek message board to just talk about BM journal type of stuff perhaps.

I mean that is really the crux of the whole matter, since Architects NEVER do get much audience for their meanderings in the first place. Especially not in college/practice, where there are just too many deadlines to meet. I have been scolded so many times i can tell you, and with very good reason too.

I was personally very surprised about Frank McDonalds comment about Archiseek. For someone who has made a good living out of talking about the built environment, he criticises an independent establishment like Archiseek. Frank has had a totally captive audience, from a huge range of livestyles and professions/occupations for the last 20 odd years.

I don't think he must yet understand what message boards are all about. It is mainly about learning the skills of debating/discussing and talking. Because those things are often completely shut out of our normal lives today. Everyone is so busy, texting etc, that very little real discussion has an opportunity to arise. Look at dinner tables around the country at the moment, a radio playing, a playstation, a television, a VCR, a computer with e-mails/web in the living room... noone wants to talk any more.

I view Archiseek as a positive development for the profession - it allows the members to develop their debating skills - very valuble. That is all the U2 thread was about, the subject of conversation, is very more 'secondary' to the actual practice of debating/talking/expressing.

I am just amazed that someone like Frank McDonald cannot deal with that. But i guess having been the sole mouthpiece for a nation of designers/urbanists/conservationists
/architects/planners/government officials and government environmental departments for the last 20 odd years, he treats Archiseek as a maissive oponent! Just like Architects often treat the arrival of IT, as taking the limelight from them.

Please at least try to work with it people, not against it. I mean, you are going to get strange opinions etc on a message board, that goes without saying really. But I think people are alot more intelligently than Frank suspects, than to react to just every old crap they see posted at a message board.
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Postby garethace » Mon Sep 08, 2003 11:40 am

Perhaps if Frank really wanted to advertise the notion of marketing good design, and design awareness, then perhaps he should read my suggestions over here:

Over here Frank!
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Postby what? » Mon Sep 08, 2003 11:46 am

im sorry, but i must stand up for building material and its content again.

The argument that i dont understand/ cant appreciate this, therefore it is worthless is not good enough. many of the more rewarding things in life can only be achieved by following up an interest with some amount of effort. not everything is handed to you on a plate. anyone can look at a piece of art and say i like that or i dont like that, but to appreciate what the piece is really trying to communicate, you often must know about the issues the artist or his genre were dealing with, the artists personal life, social context etc. some things arent rollercoasters.

And before you jump down my neck, by saying this, i am not suggesting that the general public should read space form and order before they are allowed into their own houses. we are the people who have chosen to design the built environment for others and have a duty to understand the issues and deal with them to the best of our knowledge and ability. the vast majority of people who experiece great architecture havent a clue about what the concept for the building was, but they enjoy the building nevertheless. why? more than likely because the architect has intelligently identified relevant issues and dealt with them using skill and knowledge. this creates a series of spaces or places which subconciously affect the user. anyway im just trying to demonstrate a point that it takes education and most importantly understanding to bring architecture (and many other things ) past the level of primitive.

Of course architecture is about providing shelter, in the sameway as life is about scrambling enough food to feed yourself.

building material and the like may not be for everyone but stop perpetuating the typical irish attitude of knocking those who aspire to more.
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Postby garethace » Mon Sep 08, 2003 12:44 pm

we are the people who have chosen to design the built environment for others and have a duty to understand the issues and deal with them to the best of our knowledge and ability.


That is where you are wrong, we are a profession that has chosen to specialise on behalf of the client, to accept responsibility for the guarantee of timely and economical completion of a building works project. That is foremost. We haven’t chosen to DESIGN the built environment but we have chosen to HELP BUILD the built environment. The part about designing is really only something you wrote into the agreement yourself, and doesn't carry that much weight generally speaking. Only that as a result of (A) Competitions and (B) Pretencious Architectural School College professors, believing themselves to be really important in the real world - you have this mis-conception that the Architect is doing anything else other than supervising/overseeing/coordinating a building fabrication proceedure/activity.

I mean, why does the Architect get paid at all. The only place where the Architect might get any brownie points at all for decent design, is where deeply insightful clients notice the work, of a certain Architect Master Builder. And like discovering a new up and coming painter or fashion designer, commission them to do works. The established Architect 'Names' don't have to worry, and quite regularly lend 'weight' to very dodgy developer activities, by putting their professional name on the building sign. That doesn't necessarily MEAN for a minute, they every 'sweated' it out with the eventual client/user.

Well at least follow that link i gave to Frank, and compare how Mies van der Rohe treated/related to his clients. To how Louis Kahn worked with them. Louis Kahn wouldn't slash a budget/design down to fit into a budget. He made out that was the Architects duty - to hold off, in order to make sure that Architecture was introduced into peoples lives.

Mies built great buildings, but he didn't care what the client/user thought of them. He did expect the client/user to come up to his level of classical excelence, in order to appreciate his designs. And they are wonderful, if you are into oriental Zen space etc. I think Steven Siegal who be in his element in the Farnsworth temple of meditation. But Louis Kahn designed little houses that were 'home' to people.

I guess Van Eyck, Hertzberger etc are like that today. I remember one story of Kahn designing a dorm for girls in a private school in the states. Kahn thought about this design problem and decided that girls on their own together was a bit unnatural. So to combat that sterile situation he put a fireplace at the corner of the main social rooms. Indicating that young women associated a fireplace, with their Dads at home. So you need to define very carefully, in precedent how different architects have tried/refuse to accept the eventual client/user.

But all the traditional building agreement between the client, architect and builder stipulates is that the Architect should be responsible for whatever is BUILT. While Architecture is very responsible to building/construction - its relationship to client/user has been upheld and sullied by equally talented design minds - van der Rohe or Kahn. I have tried to discuss that notion of UNBUILT projects as a way to alleviate the often severed 'relationship' between the Architect/client/user, in modern day practice.

Think about it.

Brian O' Hanlon.


Furthermore.

(Apologises What?)

We are a profession that has chosen to specialise on behalf of the client, to accept responsibility for the guarantee of timely and economical completion of a building works project. That is foremost. Architect specialises in one specific task – (s)he is not a generalist in this sense. The Architect as generalist is just some urban legend that professors in colleges invented for their own purposes. With little better to do than think up really interesting thoughts of how Architecture can be more than it is.

Think of a DELL computer, it is a mish-mash of many different products, brand names, devices, components – all gathered together under one warrantee or agreement/contract between buyer/DELL corp, instead of dozens, if you were to ‘make’ that system by yourself. A client/Architect agreement is something similar. The fact that some Architects managed to take the client/architect relationship to a new level, is simply beyond the whole point to begin with.

Louis Kahn I think was the original ‘bastard’ professor in Philadelphia Architectural School. He even had a ‘bash-up’ with Rudolph and pissed off to Yale instead. Apparently Rudolph without consulting Kahn, enacted a design brief in the Studio to design a ‘Roadside Frozen Custard Stand’. And Kahn later went crazy over this, preferring his students to do stuff like ‘Re-design Chandigarh’ better than how Le Corbusier would have done it.

Kahn was perhaps your normal everyday dangerous Architectural college professor. But Kahn’s legacy to the profession around the world, was to bring it out of a period of ‘Miesian Grids and Master Builders’, into an era that was at least somewhat sympathetic to clients/users needs and dignity as human beings. For that, I am prepared to ‘put up with’ an awful lot of waffling and material from professors in college, or Architects in the AAI, who are dealing with issues that are important.

Someone like Merrit Bucholtz today is a masterly builder of buildings. And I suppose to be fair, Mies van der Rohe did turn the Architectural professions attention back to its origins – to when Architects were out on the Parthenon supervising and cutting blocks of stone, or the great Gothic nameless Architects of Northern Europe in the Middle Ages. So I guess, you cannot really be too judgemental of either camp.
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Postby what? » Mon Sep 08, 2003 4:17 pm

when i said "we are the people that have chosen to design the built environment " i was speaking in an idealistic tone. but i fail to see the logic in arguing that we are merely subjects of the client and economics, and following with examples of how Mies ignored his clients and Kahn wouldnt build if the budget didnt suit him.

your synical view of the worth of an architects design skills in "the real world" also seems to be out of sync with the rose tinted proposals in your link, where client-led design will give everyone what they want.

it seems to me that this thread is becoming an argument over whether architects need education or not. james and mg seem to think that discussion and debate are worthy of ridicule and garethace says the client knows best. whats the point in having architects at all? lets skip all the wanky ponce talk and just give the money to the builders.
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Site, Brief, Structure. . . .

Postby garethace » Mon Sep 08, 2003 4:40 pm

Good come back, and your points make alot of sense. I just want to emphasise a few of my very own.

In my time as a student, believe me i had to endure more than one or two poncey AAI types being very dogmatic about whether the Architect was (A) A builder (B) A client liason officer (C) A Koolhaas type environmental urbanist. The only problem with that, is student life didn't have the opportunity to talk to clients, see planners or build buildings. Doing Competitions has a similar problem. And yeah, i did in fact read the FKL essay on doing Competitions, and did find some good points in that.

But you read, Sinead Bourke's 'Tracings 2' intro article in BM no. 10. What do i see? A Koolhaas discussion about the Pheripherique etc, etc, etc. No to mention the fact, that no proper 5-year course exists in Ireland presently, to develop planners to equal sophistication with 5-year trained Architects - Are the Architects poncing around as fully qualified urbanists, and fully qualified Architects.

Or are all these AAI types just poncing around in general, with some bee in their bonnets about either (A) Master Building (B) Urban Planning or (C) Great Kahn types of relationships with their clients? Unfortunately, it is the same guys who write the BM magazine, who decide to go up and work in Bolton Street and manage to deliver a very destructive payload of thinking about what interests them personally, to another generation of young innocent student individuals. The worst i ever heard, was that the Government was responsible for screwing up LUAS. So now 21-year old Arch Students, having listened to the ramblings on BM and elsewhere, have become total anarchists, and revolutionaries, instead of just trying/hoping to be better Architects. I mean, this argument in relation to LUAS is very intriguing and one, i would enjoy following personally - but do you consider it very relevant material for student consumption?

P.S. A student friend of mine once said, "I can't wait to get out there and talk complete and total b****!" I mean, is that what you want 21-year old Architecture students in Ireland to aspire to? Or as James argument, which holds alot of water, are we better off sticking to that which we know, which we can do, . . . not escaping the very valid/strong argument you have countered with in your original post. But I think too many AAI types who read a few books, and write a couple of articles etc, think they can just swan in Bolton Street or someplace and burden a brand new generation of young people with thoughts about all sorts. Is there a better way to teach? I used the examples of Mies and Kahn, since they both had strong influences upon teaching emphasis in schools.

I think you are wrong in accusing James of ridiculing the idea of BM writing. But what he did mention was that as an employer of young graduates from our schools in Ireland, he is concerned with the types of young architects, who have been way-lead too much by the ponces in the AAI. I supported and attended AAI btw, for years, and have nothing but the height of admiration for what they do. But you probably do know what i mean, when i speak of this (too) strong connection between what is going on in the AAI, and what goes on in Bolton Street. (Speaking from my own personal experience)

I remember for instance when Foreign Office Architects were due to speak in Dublin, having to suffer a staple diet of FOA for a whole entire year 1997-98. Next year, there is a new flavour,... and so forth, but mostly revolving around obsessions by young AAI members employed as tutors. I cannot be more honest than that. It is not a problem of what BM writers do, but that more often than not BM writers influence the younger generation coming up, either as tutors, or in work experience practice. It is about giving the next generation the best possible springboard, to make this profession what it really deserves to be. A bit more than a miserable bunch of waffling old women, obsessed with some Holy Spirit of Rem Koolhaas picture in some magazine.

Brian O' Hanlon.

Now that is deep! :-)
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Postby what? » Mon Sep 08, 2003 5:35 pm

the issue of architects as lecturers, being dogmatic in thier approach is indeed one for concern.
and it is by no means purely a Bolton St problem either. coming into an architecture course most students know very little and are more than willing to lap up any exciting knowledge that is layed before them.
perhaps the younger lecturers are guilty of being more influential to the students(possibly because they are more enthusiastic) but they are also there for the reson that they have been identified as skillful and respected designers/architects.

i would be of the opinion that no-one who qualifies for an architecture degree course could be considered a stupid person(academicaly anyway!).as i said in a previous post not all things are given to you on a plate, i think education is a two-way conversation and that a student(particularily in more senior years) has the responsibility to interpret the lecturers guidence and make a choice as to what he/she agrees with and will take on board. if the attitude is to sit there and swallow everything like a fish then the student is part creator of its own destiny and cannot complain.
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Postby garethace » Mon Sep 08, 2003 6:27 pm

Exactly what you have said there, i would certainly like to believe. And I think that the younger staff and practicioners in practice, have contributed a great deal to the debate about what architecture is. Otherwise, i probably would not be even having this conversation. And indeed perish the thought, of what would happen, had young lecturers NOT given me some stuff to think about, down through the ages.

I have enjoyed this chat alot, thanx.
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Postby garethace » Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:49 pm

I have just been thinking people, about a fair enough point raised in a thread by what? That not everything in life comes to you on a plate. It is funny I didn’t actually know what that poster meant by the statement. That is, until I was chatting to a very knowledgeable music type of individual. He asked me to explain Architecture to him, as best as I could. I proceeded into my normal long effort of what I think Architecture is/is not. But suddenly I drew back and said, lets wait a minute here – perhaps things don’t always come handed to you on a plate. So I suggested that I e-mail him a few hyperlinks, to some of my deeper discussions about the topic here at Archiseek.

I mean, isn’t there something in the effort of reading? Isn’t there some sense of achievement when you have finished that page, and worked yourself to understand something relevant or important? I mean, if I give it straight up on a plate in a pub, to some guy who thinks he knows everything (and possibly does too) about music, did that person have to work for that? No. Is information just tasty bite sized chunks now? A seudo, pre-processed version of the real thing, and are we all like puppies?

Mies felt the same way about drawings as i do about reading now, i suppose.

Mies on drawings
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Postby what? » Sun Sep 21, 2003 7:31 pm

im glad you have found this discussion interesting and useful garthace, your last post made complete sense to me and i think sums up the original argument quite nicely. the fact that you may have to struggle to understand a piece of writing doesnt make it of less worth than a quick skip accross a page. the process of struggle shows effort, and in most cases some form of gain will be gotten from this.

building material may not be instantly understandable by everyone but it is there for those who are willing to make an attempt at understanding architecture at a level above the obvious.
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Postby James » Mon Sep 22, 2003 2:04 am

You would'nt be suggesting that 'building or designing' is 'too obvious' now would you???.

Place money firmly in location of mouth!!.


(Curmudgeonly Snort of Derision at 'psuedo architects who prefer theory over practise).

tarra

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Postby el architino » Mon Sep 22, 2003 11:43 am

i agree with what.i cant understand a lot of the stuff in building material either but the stuff i do persevere with i find very rewarding and helps to bring a new level of thinking into my architecture. if you dont like it dont read it but dont knock it.
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Postby aoife c » Mon Sep 22, 2003 12:28 pm

When I was in school studying Poetry for my exams, I was terrible for finding these 'companion publications' that told the student how best to understand the poetry. So one fine day, my Dad who has been involved with literature, poetry and all kinds of writing for decades now questioned me on this: Saying that perhaps I might be losing out on some of the real experience of the work of Art, the original poem. And in truth, I had to admit, that I had got to a stage, where I wouldn't read the poem at all - merely reading what the experts had to say about the poem and 'parrot' that off in answering an exam paper.

10 years later, I am in architecture and my Dad, who as I have mentioned enjoys reading and literature an awful lot... loves handing me a whole stack of newspaper clipping of Frank McDonald and all of these critics of Architecture and the built environment. So last Friday, we all went into town for the day - sort of a family day out. I noticed a new development on the Quays I hadn't seen before and suggested we might spend 10 minutes just walking around it - to experience it. Since I was well aware, my Dad would hand me an article from the Irish Times environment section soon, and now I had the chance to see it for real - to observe his reaction, to see how a layman would respond to what he experienced for real. Instead of getting into a lot of idle rhetoric, courtesy of Frank McDonald (who is a very charismatic individual, and who stands head and shoulders above many as a speaker/writer about the environment).

Guess what? My Dad said to me, a no, we have to rush home. I have some paper work to do, and some reading etc. I want to enjoy my day off to you know. So it occurs to me now - the exact same criticism my father had of me and poetry years ago - is exactly the same criticism i would have of him and Architecture today!

Brian O' Hanlon.

P.S. I think some folks are perhaps naturally inquisitive about these things. While I have struggled hard to cultivate an awareness of what is around me - to take a casual hour here and there. Most people educated themselves through books, discovered the world around them through books,... and that is a big problem.
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Postby garethace » Mon Sep 22, 2003 12:30 pm

When I was in school studying Poetry for my exams, I was terrible for finding these 'companion publications' that told the student how best to understand the poetry. So one fine day, my Dad who has been involved with literature, poetry and all kinds of writing for decades now questioned me on this: Saying that perhaps I might be losing out on some of the real experience of the work of Art, the original poem. And in truth, I had to admit, that I had got to a stage, where I wouldn't read the poem at all - merely reading what the experts had to say about the poem and 'parrot' that off in answering an exam paper.

10 years later, I am in architecture and my Dad, who as I have mentioned enjoys reading and literature an awful lot... loves handing me a whole stack of newspaper clipping of Frank McDonald and all of these critics of Architecture and the built environment. So last Friday, we all went into town for the day - sort of a family day out. I noticed a new development on the Quays I hadn't seen before and suggested we might spend 10 minutes just walking around it - to experience it. Since I was well aware, my Dad would hand me an article from the Irish Times environment section soon, and now I had the chance to see it for real - to observe his reaction, to see how a layman would respond to what he experienced for real. Instead of getting into a lot of idle rhetoric, courtesy of Frank McDonald (who is a very charismatic individual, and who stands head and shoulders above many as a speaker/writer about the environment).

Guess what? My Dad said to me, a no, we have to rush home. I have some paper work to do, and some reading etc. I want to enjoy my day off to you know. So it occurs to me now - the exact same criticism my father had of me and poetry years ago - is exactly the same criticism i would have of him and Architecture today!

Brian O' Hanlon.

P.S. I think some folks are perhaps naturally inquisitive about these things. While I have struggled hard to cultivate an awareness of what is around me - to take a casual hour here and there. Most people educated themselves through books, discovered the world around them through books,... and that is a big problem.

My account of an experience of Grove Island in Limerick

Grove Island, is the first project I ever had experience of on paper, prior to actually walking around it in reality. I must say, the gap between designs on paper and the reality, is still very large for me - it looked nothing like what I had envisioned from the drawings! Furthermore, I haven't seen the drawings for three years now, and only walked around the thing last Friday. I guess this is what James, SW101 and plenty of other genuine posters around here are trying to say. I have always treated my designs just as paper designs - figments of the imagination - manifestations of my own creativity. But seeing the couple of hundred people using the actual built reality last Friday, for a brief moment, expanded my horizons to some much higher purpose - that is the real purpose of an Architect.

Opinion of a US Tax payer on NASA Space program

Reply here by a very experienced IBM mainframe administrator on Governments and funding

My own slant
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Postby garethace » Mon Sep 22, 2003 12:31 pm

I think there is in fact, a glitch with the old vBulletin there Paul!

Looks like I was automatically logged in as Aoife - through some strange quirk in the message board!
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Mon Sep 22, 2003 12:38 pm

You must have used the same machine as AoifeC? Are you posting from a machine that no-one else uses?
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