Paul Rudolph's cube-y little marvel of building, the Orange County Government Center in Goshen, New York—one of the many Brutalist buildings subjected to whinnying opposition by faux-aesthetes—is one step closer to salvation. The county has agreed to entertain hotel designer Gene Kaufman's proposal to renovate the building and transform it into "a center for artists, exhibitions and community meetings." Photo
"Those staircases like fists, those abstract angles so bloody sure of themselves – that bravado rubbed people up the wrong way. For 30 years, these civic megaliths were the most hated buildings in history. But today, the ones that remain are making our hearts skip a beat. Brutalist buildings inhabit a polarised world of love and hate, life and death." [Related]
Concrete by Rick.
Conservative millionaire entertainer and peddler of conspiracy theories Glenn Beck is building a city-state, "an entirely self-sustaining community called Independence Park." I can't wait to visit, it sounds like it will be very welcoming to all kinds of Americans.
He's on the right track, though. So are the seasteaders. And the gun-hoarding survivalists of all stripes. And those of us who are interested in reviving the New York City Secession Movement. (Our plan is to secede and then, uh, magically raise the city by 30 feet. Still working on details there, do check back.) But yes. The coasts will drown, or the United States will disband, or World [...]
“I’ve never been a big fan of electric lights. I have cat eyes. I emit enough light out of my body.” —Self-taught architect SunRay Kelley, on the principles that guide the design of the homestead he's built in the woods in Sedro-Woolley, Washington. Kelley smokes enough pot to describe the time when he accidentally cut open his forehead with a chainsaw as, "Not the most pleasant experience." His work reminds the Times' Michael Tortorello of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin. I think it's more like if Andy Goldsworthy was let loose in The Shire. Either way, here are pictures of it, which belong on the wonderful [...]
Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago
Updating a cultural canon, in any form, is an endless battlefield due to our persistent tendencies, 1. to create ever more art and 2. to fail, just as rapidly, to agree on its value. Witness debates about revised editions of any literary anthology, or, say, the National Film Registry. At times worthy works receive just recognition; other times, age seems all that’s required to give mediocre works the gloss of historical grandeur. But let’s not get off track discussing Sex, Lies and Videotape vs. Forrest Gump. Rarely is the navigation of this question of aesthetic value more difficult and commercially charged than in architecture. After [...]
"An effective architecture critic is not a messenger from the occult, sometimes cultish, world of parametric modeling, interstitial planning, void filling, and impenetrable whatevers. But the critic does need to understand that stuff in order to better explain how architecture not only shapes the city but manifests our values, identity and legacy as a culture.” —Architecture folks are still worried about an art guy taking over the Times architecture slot. Yeah, what's next: a metro reporter doing op-ed? A culture editor taking over the restaurant reviews? Chaos!
I cannot believe I have to go to Indiana, but yet, here we are: Saarinen’s Miller House is now open to the public. GAZE UPON IT! But good news, for those who aren't Indiana-adjacent: There is a new website devoted to the work of Horace Gifford, who can basically tell Saarinen to go suck it. Oh yes! I said it! Go visit and see what I mean. I have been in most of these Gifford houses, because that's just the kind of gay I am—including the ones destroyed by new owners, may they die painfully—and they are each better than the last.