Hollywood, Jack Black, and the Italian Renaissance

    I used to live in Italy and I'd walk around and see art like this:

    Now I live in the U.S. and I drive around and I see art like this:



    Renaissance Italy                               
    Hollywood taps into hard-wired high culture.



    Bottom: Renaissance Ideal City.  I suppose neither US cities nor Italian cities look quite like that today. Or ever did. 
    Jack Black in Gulliver's Travels - 2010  Piero della Francesca - The Ideal City
    Andrea Mantegna The Lamentation over the Dead Christ 1480 Pinacoteca di Brera of Milan, Italy.vanishing perspective
    Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2011/01/
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Wanna buy the Farnsworth House or a Villa Savoye?


    Looks like a fine model, by a professional architectural model maker in Verona, Italy. Says he's worked for Aldo Rossi, Mario Botta and others.  Here the scale is 1:100. Steel and glass become forex and plexiglass! This shows though, how the Farnsworth House is not merely an object, but needs the land, trees and sky.  I'd that here it looks like a set for Waiting for Godot but even that requires a tree, per the author's wishes.

    If you prefer Le Corbusier and the Villa Savoye and 1:200 scale.



    To me the Farnsworth model is more intriguing.  Because there is less there, and it's more pure. Your thoughts?
    .Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2011/01/
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iLifson on iPad on Heatherwick's Shanghai Seed Cathedral

    If you have an iPad, go to the gorgeous Edition29 Architecture issue, to see and hear me on Thomas Heatherwick's extraordinary "Seed Cathedral" - the U.K. pavilion at last summer's Shanghai World Expo.


    Extraordinary it was.  On Edition29 I try to say why. Available only on iPad.
    Let us know how you like it.
      .Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2011/01/
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The spin on Louis Sullivan

    At the show of the year, "Louis Sullivan's Idea", at the Chicago Cultural Center you see


    Sullivan ornament from the ceiling of the Auditorium Hotel barber shop, Chicago 1886 - 1890.

    Sullivan's swirling, rotating, counter-clockwise and centrifugal forces danced across the ceiling, repeated at intervals.  He builds in you the tension we "naturally" feel between the organic and the geometric; as in the tension between straight line and curve, male and female, city and nature, indoor and outdoor, private and public, one and many, Federal and Antifederal.

    A century before Sullivan's Auditorium, mostly on the east coast, Americans debated between the Federalists and the Antifederalists.  Alexander Hamilton advocating order over anarchy; Thomas Jefferson advocating freedom over tyranny.  Here in the first truly American city - Chicago - Louis Sullivan balances the debate.

    Sullivan's desires and prescription for how to live are shown in this geometric framing with the organic at the prime place of importance- the center.  The organic even grown out over the geometric.  As the fine exhibition wall text says, "encountering a potentially obstructive architectural molding as it nears the outer edge, the leaves refuse to be stopped."  Their life force is great, unstoppable, and they reach with determination.

    Sullivan's protege´ Frank Lloyd Wright will develop this, based on his encounters with Sullivan and other great art from various places and periods.  In his plans for modern houses, Wright radiates the wings outward from the center - often the hearth - as at Wright's Wingspread (1938) - the Herbert F. Johnson house - just north of Racine, Wisconsin.



    Wright's windows frame nature, as Sullivan does in the ornament above.  The space in most of his rooms radiates out to continue out over the open land.

    And they have continuing influence.  When I saw the Sullivan ornament I remembered this piece by American Minimalist sculptor Tony Smith, recently posted on Eric O'Malley's always inspiring  PrairieMod.com

    Image via www.ryman.org

    Is there a connection?  Eric points out that Tony Smith studied under Frank Lloyd Wright.  Smith moved to Chicago in 1937 to attend the New Bauhaus under Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.  Not finding what he wanted there, he took a job as an office clerk for Frank Lloyd Wright.  Not bad to have such choices.  Then for seven months in 1939-40 Tony Smith apprenticed at Taliesin.

    Today's urbanists would do well to keep Sullivan's ornament in mind.  After decades of insensitive building, American cities, like cities in Asia and elsewhere, wish to re-harmonize with nature.     
    .


    Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2011/01/
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Mies movies we might miss - "Mies van der Rohe's masterpiece is a juicy tale of sex and real estate"

Chicago boardwalk

    Walking across the Wabash Avenue bridge last night


    I am struck that it is fashioned of wood planks.  A major downtown street in a major American city has a  wood plank walkway.

    It reminds me when I first visited downtown Chicago, so much of it was a frontier city.  A wooden walkway over a bridge is a last vestige of this.

    I look around.  I see Chicago's honesty in the expression of materials everywhere.  



    Wood planks.  Concrete curving plastically.  Steel girders and glass planes.  Rivets everywhere.  Brave the cold.
    .Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2011/01/
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Lego Mies!

    UPDATE! For the real LEGO Farnsworth House, click here.
    -------



    Pretty amazing.  Especially since it's not really packaged by Lego.  Credit and congratulate T. Oechsner, who writes in his comments:

                     I'm not 100% happy with the proportions. I had to stop at the Lego grid.  

    If it floods, there's always this.


    More Lego Mies and other building art here.  
    .

    Source URL: http://ecleticsergio.blogspot.com/2011/01/
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Hello Beautiful! 2011

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