Monthly Archives: July 2015

Mickey Mao’s Playhouse (or why weird architecture isn’t that new, and why we need this weird crap)

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Can weird architecture contribute to society? It depends on your definition of weird, and if that definition of weird includes any reference to starships, phallic symbols, and teapots.

I came across this article (http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/20/travel/gallery/china-weird-buildings-2015/index.html) regarding some recent unique architecture being built in China. Is it weird? Yeah, you could say that. Is that bad? Kinda, kinda not.

“Weird” architecture has always been around. The first time a nomadic civilization came across a permanent settlement one of those nomads declared, “Holy crap that’s weird.” (Imagine a Sumerian accent.) And when people first saw the completion of the Pyramids of Giza and The Sphinx someone uttered, “Holy crap that’s weird.” (Let’s go with a Hittite accent.) And when the Europeans in the Middle Ages were constructing buildings within the ruins of ancient Roman stadiums you know someone thought, “These ancient structures provideth us with stable and firm foundations to buildeth our homes.” (Okay, maybe not the best example of my point, but only because saying “Holy crap that’s weird” in Europe during the Middle Ages usually meant being excommunicated by The Church.)

So where was I… yes, there has always been weird architecture. More recent historical weirdness includes Antoni Gaudi, Buckminster Fuller, and Robert Venturi. And maybe their weirdness came across as kitsch or gimcrack (my word of the day), but within the DNA of this weirdness came a new perspective in design, architecture, structure, and perception. Yes, Gaudi is weird, but it gave us Santiago Calatrava. Bucky was way the hell out there, but it gave us Renzo Piano. And Bob, yeah, he had these weird ideas of ducks and decorated sheds, which basically has led to all of the images in the above link to Chinese architecture.

Weird architecture is not only good, it’s necessary. It’s the architectural proving ground to all future ideologies that will define how we live, how we worship, how we do business, and how we ultimately shape who we are now and in the future.

Live long and prosper.

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The built environment and its occupants (or why Gymkata is the greatest gymnast-themed movie dealing with the American ‘Star Wars’ program)

I’m a guy, so I like stupid stuff. A 1989 Ford Escort painted neon green with a five foot tall spoiler and an exhaust system louder than most NASA rockets at takeoff? Like it. A video of an elderly man nearly snapping his spinal cord after falling off an obstacle during his run at American Ninja Warrior? Definitely smitten. An American gymnast being chased by cannibalistic villagers in the fictional country of Parmistan and confronting these “foodies” in Pommel Horse Square? You had me at cannibalistic.

I could write about how architecture is shaped by its occupants, and how this relationship ultimately shapes societies, but that would take time away from you watching the above video and I know you only had a few minutes before you needed to walk away from the computer to 1) go to bed, 2) get back to work, or 3) head off to gymnastic practice.

Seriously though, what are the odds that Johnathan Cabot, the champion gymnast working for the United States government, would face his pursuers here? How many villages in the world have a pommel horse in the middle of a square, and under what search term on Kayak.com can I find them?

Again, you had me at cannibalistic.

Architecture shaped by none other than that person in the mirror

Yes, I did find my WordPress log-in and password information. Thank you for asking.

Above is a video about architecture being shaped by you, the person, the individual that eats your food and spends your paycheck. Do yourself and everyone else on this planet a favor and shape everything around you, especially the architecture, before the apes take over. The last thing we all need is architecture shaped by simians that fling their feces around (no offense Mr. Libeskind).