Ah, the joyfully sunny, environmentally ethical, Loblolly House… It’s perfect for a breezy, flower-filled getaway picnic for young hippie-sters (I can’t tell if they’re hippies or hipsters…). They can run barefoot, chasing their rose-colored dreams and each other. This house gives them not a care in the world, what with its woody wood and bright open vistas. Wake up, throw that shirt crumpled in the corner on, run your fingers through your adorably messy hair, and start singing. You’re always right there on the sparkling sea.
For me, this video, which is for a song about the value of family and affection, seems misplaced in such a stark and modern house. It would seem that using a more traditional suburban single family house would serve the nostalgic atmosphere better. No? I suppose, what the Farnsworth House permits though, through its (perceived) blankness, is the space for the projected “memories” of the story’s character. The Farnsworth House, in this light, is any house… every house. This is particularly funny to every architect I know, however, because we study that house so intensely as one of the highest examples of modernism. For us, this house is anything but neutral!
This time the bath building in Vals by Zumthor (that we mourned last week) took a decidedly more ethereal flavor. Rather than the dark, heavy, and goth(ic) interpretation by Liricas Analas, Janet Jackson floats through turquoise veils and light filled rooms. The divergent style and content of these artists is somehow supported by this one building. The architecture has the magic of being both visually tactile, holding the eye to its surfaces and forms, but at the same time being neutral enough to be inhabited and interpreted in distinctly different ways. Why? What are the characteristics that let it be both specific and general? Undoubtably, the architect intended this possibility, but why? How dos this adaptability serve the design of a bathing facility?
In today’s lecture about architectural education in the United States I mentioned the “project review” (aka a “critique” or “jury”.) This is when a student publicly presents their work for evaluation and feedback for a group of reviewers. As mentioned, this practice comes to us from the Ecole des Beaux Arts. To see a bit of it in action go to 8:37 of the video below. Better yet, watch the whole video and get a perspective on the life of an architecture student!
On Monday we started the class with Mariah Carey’s video for her song “Sweetheart.” It featured Jermaine Dupri, a white fluffy cat, and most importantly, architect Frank Gehry’s famous Guggenheim Museum of Art in Bilbao, Spain.
To learn more about Frank Gehry you might enjoy watching a movie about him called Sketches of Frank Gehry, a documentary shot by acclaimed movie director Sydney Pollack.