We can only wish.
Yesterday a coworker sent me a link to this New York Observer article describing mayor Bloomber’s desire for 10 additional buildings by Frank Gehry by the end of his term.Â Bloomberg is out of office in two years.
By the mayor’s own estimation, that means Gehry has 70 days to crank out each project – which we know isn’t really how things work, but is still a crazy thing to think about. But even crazier, I’d argue, is the idea of 10 more buildings by America’s favorite “hey, I know that guy” starchitect, pseudo-commissioned by the mayor. It’s strange.
Now it would be easy to take the hater route and complain about how NYC would look like a pile ofÂ misshapen, curvy metal panels – but that’s getting tired. Besides, Gehry seems increasingly interesting when given some room to move now that the 2000’s are done and people aren’t throwing absurd amounts of cash at him while demanding another Bilbao.Â You could complain – and I’d agree to some extent on this – that Gehry is famous for being famous at this point, like a Kardashian of architecture. “Oh, I don’t know jack shit about architecture – but to sound cultured I’ll say I just loooove Frankie G.” His popularity hasÂ diminishedÂ his popularity – which is both kind of meta, and kind of stupid. But none of the typical complaints about Gehry are important this time around, because we have an incredible opportunity here.
We could get more giant binoculars.
Let’s face it – Gehry recycles ideas, just like everyone else. I’m not criticizing – I’m saying I hope he’s finally done rehashing the ideas of the last decade and jumps in the way-back machine to the late 80’s and brings backÂ Oldenburg and van Bruggen for some more oversized optics. I’m thinking a giant telescope-shaped building of some sort. It’s a slight shift from the binoculars, but is pretty much the same – like Bilbao and Disney! – while also being slightly phallic shaped, thus referencing NYC’s most famous architectural element. Boom -and that’s how architecture gets made people.
There’s no time for debate – he’s only got 699 days to go.
My wife keeps showing me these “Shit so-and-sos Say” videos, which is an amusing if not maybe already tired trending meme – but how can you dislike “Shit Architecture Students Say” – unless you’re not an architect?
“What? CAD for Mac?”
Somehow I managed to sleep on theÂ existence of I am a beautiful building!,Â Â a website devoted to, well, what you’re looking at. Hilarious and somewhat weirdly demented, the site captions photos of past US presidents and their interactions with law makers, etc, as if they were buildings / architectural movements… or something. I’m not really going to try and explain what’s going on here – I just now you need to do yourself a favor and check it out.
Here’s the site’s author info, which is also killing it:
I am Cedric!
I am a beautiful building!
I am better than Bauhaus!
I have functional interiors!
You*d go nuts if I told you!
I am a hyperbuilding!
Bow to my infrastructure!
Join the beautiful buildings club!
Yes â€“ Red Bull held a cliff diving competition in Boston last weekend, where the divers jumped into Boston harbor (really?) from a perch attached to the Diller Scofidio + Renfro designed Institute for Contemporary Art.
My ninjas, please. Ridiculous.
The site selling these tees calls them â€˜ArchBonesâ€˜ â€“ but itâ€™s obviously Corbu! I donâ€™t think you need me to tell you that these things are pretty great â€“ get one, and display your archi-nerdiness on your chest for all to see.
Funny that in about five more years students wonâ€™t even know what those things crossing the skull are or how to use them.
[ed. note – I don’t know who my ginger-brethren here in the photo is (no, it’s not me – and we don’t all look alike), but I left him in thinking that there can’t be that many of us bearded red-headed architects around. I like your style, sir.]
I realize that this is pretty stupid â€“ but itâ€™s Monday! I enjoy my work, but still need some humor to kick off the week. Oh, and I really want to do this to mess with some tourists before the summer ends.
Wow â€“ what can I even say about these, other than my ninjas, please!
French jeweler Philippe Tournaire has created a series of rings inspired by global cities & architecture. From left to right above we have London, New York City, and Paris, respectively. Tournaire will also apparently make rings to order, so if youâ€™re project is just too ill not to wear on your pinky a don you can have it immortalized as incredibly gaudy jewelery.
These two videos – both found over at Treehugger – are pretty great, and show why we should a) be more like Copenhagen and b) how we could possibly do it.
But this is the US, where our government itself is desperate for you to buy and drive cars – so keep dreaming, my ninjas.
[image: a ninja awaiting the Red Line]
Welcome to Ashmont, the Southern end of Boston’s Red Line. Currently under renovations, they’re finally starting to to wrap it up and finish the project – something I hope to bring you some info on in the near future. Today, however, I’d like to focus on the ridiculousness that is the ‘high speed trolley’ that runs from Ashmont to Mattapan.Â Now you need to understand – I would rather not talk trash. In fact I look forward to the station itself being finished, so I can snap a few photos and give readers a general rundown of a project which I think has done a lot to revitalize the entire Ashmont / Peabody Square area. But for right now, follow me on this journey of foolishness.
For those of you who don’t know, the ‘high speed trolley’ running from Ashmont Â [located in Dorchester] to Mattapan Square is an extension of the MBTA’s Red Line – which, off the top of my head, serves 7 stops [not including Ashmont itself]. The trolley is quite popular, as it connects both Mattapan and Milton [a suburb to Boston’s South] with the Red Line – the train downtown is always busy in the mornings & evenings with additional commuters from the trolley. So when Ashmont was slated for renovations & redevelopment, the trolley line was included in these plans – and was actually the first thing to get a makeover. The stops were cleaned-up, some ‘antique’ trolleys were brought back into service, and the trolley stop and turnaround at Ashmont were completely redesigned and rebuilt. Everything looked fine [not great, but fine], and things seemed to be moving along at a pace that we’ve all come to expect with a government project.
And then the noise started.
[image: the T wasting my money]
Yeah, I’m talking literal ‘noise’ – as in ear splitting shrieks of pain coming from the tracks. Loud enough to be kind of physically uncomfortable when you’re on the trolley. Loud enough that I can here the trolley from my apartment – which is something like 1/3 of a mile away – but not the train [I mean, I can hear both at times – but mostly I here the shrill echo of the trolley]. The noise had been measured at over 110 decibels at the station, and over 100 decibels at nearby homes.
The problem? The track at the turnaround [seen above] has a diameter that is too tight – trolley is at an awkward angle while going around, causing more friction between wheel and track, blah blah blah – super loud noise ensues. Did someone let the intern design this portion of the track? What the hell happened here?
Well obviously whoever is responsible is in the wind – since in the Bean you can literally build something that kills someone and skate. As blaming someone won’t help anyway, a solution is worked out – after two different systems involving automated greasing of some sort fail, the T falls back on insulated blankets and sprinklers that keep the tracks/wheels wet. SPRINKLERS AND BLANKETS. This is a project coming in just under $50 million dollars [maybe more?], and the solution is the aesthetically-depressing / intelligence-insulting blanket-covered water-drenched fence seen above.
My ninjas, please.
Seriously, I don’t even have a point that I’m moving towards here – I just want everyone reading AMNP to know about the ridiculousness going on in Dorchester, and to understand what kind of crap karma you generate when your design isn’t up to snuff. Imagine owning a home where every 15 minutes or so all day long you have to deal with 110+ decibels of fingernails on a chalkboard – all because someone either cut corners or had their trig confused.
Consider this when discussing fast-tracked infrastructure projects to boost the economy. Not because we shouldn’t support them, but because they need to be watched carefully.
My favorite part of this story? A State Senator suggested we put in a Disney-style monorail a ‘middle ground’ type solution. A FECKIN’ MONORAIL!
::note: I promise that I have a cheery, positive post on Ashmont’s redevelopment as a whole in the works – I’m just waiting for them to complete the finish work::
Our ninja Matt K. – who has submitted a number of Ninja Arithmetic equations – sent me this image last week with the following explanation:
So, I had this idea for the Mercedes Benz building by UN Studio to be a Ninja Arithmetic submission after I sawÂ this [YouTube videoÂ embeddedÂ below].
However, it turned out more like the image attached, so feel free to use that or make your own off the concept.
It begs the question: if building natural disasters into buildings is the next stage of excess-itecture, what’s next? Will Gehry have artificial tsunamis? Will Zaha build an earthquake simulator?
I think that stands on its own as a post. If any of your architectural musings seem interesting, don’t hesitate to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.